The Great West Conference Finds a Home For Its Champion

Posted by nvr1983 on September 29th, 2009

Last year we brought you news about the creation of the newest Division I basketball conference, the Great West Conference, which will start organized operations this season. As we noted at the time, the league wasn’t exactly a “Who’s Who” of basketball powerhouses. In fact, the most notable program in the league was the New Jersey Institute of Technology, which went 0-29 in the 2007-2008 season before finally winning a game last season.

The full list of GWC members:

  • Chicago State University
  • Houston Baptist University
  • New Jersey Institute of Technology
  • University of North Dakota
  • University of South Dakota
  • University of Texas-Pan American
  • Utah Valley University

Not exactly a murder’s row of programs that will challenge the ACC in the conference power rankings any time soon.  However, most people expect that under current NCAA guidelines the GWC could have an play-in automatic bid to the NCAA tournament by 2020. This would obviously impact the NCAA tournament by either removing one at-large team (unlikely) or expanding the NCAA tournament (more games = more money = very likely). The question for the GWC and its teams is what they are supposed to strive for until 2020. Theoretically they could qualify for an NCAA at-large bid (or maybe more realistically an NIT bid) if they hired some renegade coach who loaded them up with players who needed a little “SAT help.”  However, barring that not altogether improbable scenario (seriously, have you seen the headlines out of college basketball this week?) the champions would be relegated to watch the 2nd half of March from their couches like the rest of us.

CIT logo

Fortunately for the GWC and its members, the people at the Postseason Tournament (CIT) have stepped into that void by offering the conference’s tournament champion an automatic bid in the CIT’s 16-team field. For those of you who missed the CIT last year, here is a rundown of the teams that participated, which was won by Old Dominion. While you shouldn’t expect to see ESPN and CBS keeping cameras in the offices of the James Madison Dukes this March to see if they are crushed when they don’t make the CIT, it does mark the first time that a D1 conference has had an agreement to get one of its teams an automatic bid into a tournament other than the NCAA Tournament and it also offers the new league something (albeit something very small) to entice recruits to join it in its formative years.

nvr1983 (1398 Posts)

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3 responses to “The Great West Conference Finds a Home For Its Champion”

  1. bevo says:

    All the presidents of these institutions should be fired for lack of leadership. How do HBU students benefit from a Tuesday night game in North Dakota?

  2. nvr1983 says:

    I agree with your statement. We touched on it in our original piece on the formation of the conference. This is purely a money play.

  3. HBU says:

    I am an alum of HBU. Trust me, the GWC is a joke, but most of us here do not view it as a permanent home. We are still transitioning back to D1 (will become full members next year) and needed some conference home. Unfortunately, we do not have football so this made/makes it harder to find a conference. So, essentially a new conference was formed. I think it is just housing us until we can find a better conference.

    All that said, nobody really cares about teh CIT except for the schools that participate, and some respectable basketball schools have been in it for the 2 years it has been around…I think. I know that University of Houston has been in it one or two times, and I would have no qualms at all if we are able to play them in a tournament. So, the GWC might not be great, but this is good for the GWC.

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