The College Basketball Invitational

Posted: March 27, 2011 by drunkonsports in NCAA Tournament

The College Basketball Invitational. It sounds so simple. The name is harmless. But honestly, what is it?

The CBI is a postseason NCAA-sponsored tournament that selects 16 teams out of those that did not receive invites to the NCAA Tournament or NIT. Teams play games at team sites and then finish with a “Best of 3” Championship format. The games are shown on HDNet, a company run by IU-alum Mark Cuban. The tournament is very new having its first annual tournament following the 2008 season.

Having watched a couple CBI games over the last couple of years, the best part about it was the coverage on HDNet. The picture quality is top-notch and just blows away the picture CBS and the other channels use for the NCAA Tournament. It really needs to be seen to be believed. Fans may remember a SportsCenter top play that happened in the CBI where the player held onto the rim too long and basically did a backflip.

The CBI is sometimes misconstrued as the tourney where the worst teams in the country play and that is definitely not the case. With over 300 NCAA teams, you are still in the top third of teams and just last year the tournament winner was VCU, who is playing in the Elite Eight today. Their star point guard Joey Rodriguez was also the tournament MVP. These are generally teams that finish toward the bottom of the major conferences and a few mid majors who just missed out on the larger tournaments.

While there was some talk about Indiana possibly playing in the CBI this season, I don’t think it would have been the best idea. People say IU has a history to maintain and the CBI would demean them. I just don’t think selling a half-full Assembly Hall to a team that had already given up would help the program. The CBI isn’t the culprit, its Tom Crean’s team. I will save the time talking about IU Basketball because I would go on all day and miss this baseball game, but I needed to at least mention the possibility IU had this year involving the CBI.

I really like the idea of the CBI as it gives teams an extra game or two in their home arenas and as a player, you just want to put on that jersey and play. The CBI does that. Also for a lower team, the CBI could be that first step in achieving a season goal. It is a postseason tournament whether its prestigious or not. However, here’s to hoping IU has more lofty expectations next season.

-Josh Bowles-

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