Southfield, Mich (WXYZ) - The NCAA tournament is underway and one local school is remembering its time in the sports spotlight in Detroit.
Lawrence Tech's basketball team was invited to play in the National Invitation Tournament in 1951. The NIT, played at Madison Square Garden in New York, eclipsed the NCAA tournament in importance and popularity in those years.
The Blue Devils, as they were known, were the university with the smallest enrollment to play in the NIT up to that time.
Lawrence Tech was defeated by Dayton, 77-71.
Lawrence Tech, located in Highland Park in those years, enjoyed great success in the sport in the late 1940s and early 1950s under coach Don Ridler. The school competed against many of the top basketball schools of the day and drew thousands of people to their games, which were often played at Olympia Stadium and the State Fair Coliseum.
Dances with top big bands were held immediately following the games with thousands taking part.
The school eventually dropped the sport and most varsity athletics by 1962.
Lawrence Tech is making plans now to add sports, including basketball. A team will be formed for the 2012-13 academic year and compete in the NAIA division.
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