UTEP vs. Nevada
St John's vs. Richmond
Vermont vs. Wisconsin Green Bay
Charleston vs. Troy
Buffalo vs. Wichita State
Houston vs. Oregon State
Boise State vs. Stanford
If you are looking for these games in your NIT bracket, look no further. Only if you are a fan of these schools and perhaps a knucklehead like me, would you know that these are the first round games for the second annual College Basketball Invitational or the CBI. Now the CBI is an interesting duck, I will admit that. From what I understand, you need $60,000 to host a first round CBI game. Eek. During economic times like this, that's kind of hard. Second, take a look up above at the teams in this tournament. Notice a few things? Like Oregon State and St John's, two teams with losing records. Here's the CBI's wording on that.
The 16-team field consists of teams that are not selected for the NCAA Tournament. Teams will be invited based upon their performance during their conference and non-conference schedule, as well as how well the team is playing at the end of the regular season.I guess St John's and Oregon State were playing well at the end of the season...Riiiight. So in other words, if you are willing to pony up, you can play. Not a good message to send.
Kent State vs. Oakland
Rider vs. Liberty
Mount St Mary's vs. James Madison
Austin Peay vs. Bradley
Belmont vs. Evansville
Portland vs. Pacific
Drake vs. Idaho
The Citadel vs. ODU
Now again you won't find these teams in your NCAA bracket. These teams are the founding 16 teams of the first annual CollegeInsider.Com Postseason Tournament. They even have an established selection committee. Their format is respectable and commendable unlike the CBI's where cash and potential draw rules supreme. Teams selected must have winning records. I don't know if there are significant fees involved but at least CollegeInsider.Com is a respectable college basketball web site. And as you can see, their teams are definitely better as a whole than the CBI's.
My point is this though. It's perhaps way too much. I can understand teams want to keep playing, especially Kent State wants to keep alive their 20 win consecutive streak. But outside of their fans, is anyone going to watch on TV? Most likely not. Thanks to the NCAA Selection Committee, there are a lot of good teams in the NIT this year. Do you think anyone is going to watch one of these games over a potential St Mary's - Davidson in the second round? Or especially since there is that little matter known as THE NCAA TOURNAMENT.
It's just too much. But if it draws fans to watch live games, great. See below for what I mean.
Now for something completely different. If you live on Long Island, like me, come out with me to the Division II Regional Final at C.W. Post tonight at 7 p.m.when the #1 seeded Pioneers take on #2 seed Bentley for the right to go on to the Division II Elite Eight. Celebrate the green with the green trim of the Pioneers. I was there for their first round dismantling of Philadelphia University and the place was rocking.
Remember, college basketball should be experienced live. For me, it's never been just about writing about games on TV. I have been up and down the East Coast from Providence to Charleston to watch college basketball. I've been at Storrs, Connecticut to see the LIU Lady Blackbirds face the #1 seed UConn Huskies. Been to Raleigh to see Stephen Curry's coming out weekend party in front of a national audience. I have been fortunate to watch a rising Division III program in St Joseph's and get to interview a great coach, John Mateyko, a Jim Larranaga disciple. He turned a team that when he started had several guys who never played high school basketball into a developing DIII power. Been to many preseason and postseason NIT games at the Garden, including this season when Blake Griffin left the fans going OOOOOOH vs. UAB.
You don't get that sitting on a couch and writing about basketball on TV, as Kyle Whelliston would say. I tell people every chance I get to go experience college basketball live. Go to a postseason tournament, go to a preseason tournament. Take a road trip. Its not just about the game, its about the experiences too. If you get one chance the remainder of this season, see it live!