VALPARAISO | Shawn Huff was sure his college career was done. Finished. Kaput.
Sure, the Valparaiso men's basketball team still had a chance of playing in the postseason, even after being bounced by Cleveland State in the semifinals of the Horizon League tournament on March 8. But Huff, a senior, didn't have high hopes.
"I thought my career was over after Cleveland State," he said.
Then Loyd, Huff's roommate, knocked on his door at about 2 a.m. Monday with news that the Crusaders were playing Washington in the inaugural College Basketball Invitational.
"I was like, 'Uh, OK,'" Huff said. "Then I went back to sleep."
The Crusaders learned of their acceptance to the 16-team CBI at about 11:30 p.m. Sunday. But the opponent (Washington), day (Wednesday) and time (8 p.m.) of their first-round game weren't determined until well after midnight.
Once VU director of athletics Mark LaBarbera heard the news, he delivered it to VU coach Homer Drew, who informed his coaching staff and players, who began texting and banging on each other's doors in the wee hours of Monday morning.
Drew didn't get to bed until 2:30 a.m. A few hours later he was up, trying to iron out the details of the Crusaders' trip to Washington.
"The nice thing is there's only 113 teams still playing," Drew said. "We may not be in dancing shoes, but we sure are in tennis shoes."
For more on this story, read Tuesday's edition of The Times.