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University of San Diego invited to CIT

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SAN DIEGO (AP) - The University of San Diego has been invited to play in the CollegeInsider.com tournament, a bid that might have saved coach Bill Grier's job.

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USD (16-16) says it will host a first-round game Tuesday night. The opponent is expected to be from either the Big West or Big Sky.

This is USD's first postseason tournament berth since it upset Connecticut in the NCAA tournament in 2008, Grier's first season at the West Coast Conference school.

That was the first NCAA tournament win by a Division I program in San Diego. San Diego State didn't pick up its first NCAA tournament victory until three years later.

USD hasn't had a winning season since 2007-08, leading to speculation about Grier's future. Grier's record at USD is 100-127.

Athletic director Ky Snyder declined comment Tuesday when asked if the bid saved Grier's job.

The Toreros lost to San Francisco on Saturday in the opening round of the WCC tournament. They upset then-No.25 Gonzaga 69-66 on Feb. 22. Grier owns six of the program's seven wins against Top 25 teams.

Snyder said last year that he thought the Toreros could be a postseason team this year.

Grier had been an assistant at Gonzaga for 16 years before replacing the fired Brad Holland at USD in March 2007. The Toreros upset UConn in his first season before losing to Western Kentucky and finishing 22-14.

Weeks after the Toreros beat UConn, Grier interviewed for the vacant Oregon State job but then decided to remain at USD.

The Toreros tumbled to 6-24 in 2010-11, the second of four straight losing seasons.

Snyder praised Grier for how he handled the team after Brandon Johnson, USD's all-time leading scorer, was indicted on game-fixing charges related to the 2009-10 season. Johnson was sentenced to six months in prison.

AP NEWS
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The Associated Press
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