Checking In On The ‘Other’ Tournaments – NIT, CBI, and CIT Championships Get Decided This Week

Posted by EJacoby on March 27th, 2012

Evan Jacoby is a regular contributor for RTC. You can find him @evanjacoby on Twitter.

Only four teams out of 345 are truly happy with how their seasons have turned out, and they’re the four headed to New Orleans this weekend for the Final Four. But there are hundreds of other schools that didn’t even get a chance to compete in the NCAA Tournament that need to work that much harder to get their shot next season. That’s what the NIT, CBI, and CIT tournaments are for – not all teams are motivated to compete (see: Seton Hall’s second round NIT loss as a #1-seed), and these tourneys may not draw many casual fans, but they’re important for players, coaches, and fans who want to see their teams finish strong and work on reaching the Big Dance next season. The beauty of March Madness is that a CBI team this season could be in the Sweet Sixteen next year. You never know who that’s going to be. Let’s take a look at who’s left in the ‘other’ postseason tournaments, which all come to a conclusion this week before the Final Four…

NIT (Semifinals)

The 32-team NIT tournament draws intrigue as the best teams that got ‘snubbed’ by the NCAA Tournament with a chance to validate their seasons with a championship in Madison Square Garden. We’re down to four teams and the semifinals begin tonight (Tuesday).

Tony Wroten, Jr. and Washington Still Have Plenty to Play For (Getty Images/N. Laham)

#1 Washington vs. #6 Minnesota. Call the Pac-12 the kings of mediocrity this season. The conference only sent two teams to the Big Dance (who combined to go 1-2) but it has two teams remaining in the NIT semis and one of the two teams competing in the CBI finals. Washington might be the single most talented team in the country that didn’t get a chance to play in the Big Dance, and the Huskies are proving it in the NIT. Led by several talented athletes looking to build towards next season or perhaps even boost their NBA stocks, UW is the favorite here. Tony Wroten and Terrence Ross are two of those players with NBA thoughts and both are playing exceptional basketball right now, with Ross being the NIT’s leading scorer at 26.3 points per game. Minnesota, meanwhile, has had to play all three games on the road to get here, grinding out victories in typical Big Ten fashion. The Golden Gophers have been motivated by the news that their leader Trevor Mbakwe (injured all season) has been granted a sixth year of eligibility to play next season, so there is plenty of hope for the future. Explosive forward Rodney Williams has been leading this team and will also be back next season. Tubby Smith’s team has been playing hard but will be underdogs against this loaded UW squad.

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A Quick Look-In at the Other National Tournaments

Posted by rtmsf on March 22nd, 2010

We realize that 99% of you are only interested in the NCAA Tournament, but we’d not be doing our job as the ubiquitous college basketblog (who the hell came  up with that slogan anyway?) unless we at least kept tabs on the other national tourneys that have been going on in the background of the Big Dance.


Imagine our surprise when during one of Sportscenter’s lead-ins yesterday showed the familiar light blue uniforms of North Carolina as part of their highlight package.  Despite what CBS’ “Rules of Engagement” promo would have us believe, UNC and UConn are not a part of the NCAA Tournament.  They are, however, part of the NIT, and they’re both still lacing them up in the other “national tournament.”   On Friday night, Ole Miss defeated Memphis 90-81, while on Saturday Texas Tech, UAB and the aforementioned Heels got a nice road win on a buzzer-beating layup by Larry Drew II at top seed Mississippi State.  All of those teams will now advance to the quarterfinal round, one step away from the semis in Madison Square Garden next week.  Here’s the remaining schedule:

Second Round Games – Monday 3/22

  • Nevada @ Rhode Island – 6pm  (ESPNU)
  • Connecticut @ Virginia Tech – 7pm  (ESPN)
  • Kent State @ Illinois – 8pm  (ESPNU)
  • Dayton @ Cincinnati – 9pm  (ESPN)

Quarterfinal Games – Tuesday 3/23

  • Texas Tech @ Ole Miss – 7pm  (ESPN)
  • North Carolina @ UAB – 9pm  (ESPN)


In the CBI, the quarterfinals are set for Monday night, as follows:

  • Charleston @ VCU – 7pm (HDNet)
  • Morehead State @ Boston U. – 7pm
  • Princeton @ IUPUI – 7pm
  • Green Bay @ St. Louis – 9pm (HDNet)


Ditto for the CIT, who will play four quarterfinals on Monday evening at campus sites:

  • Appalachian State @ Marshall – 7pm
  • Fairfield @ Creighton – 8pm
  • Louisiana Tech @ Missouri State – 8pm
  • Pacific @ Northern Colorado – 9pm
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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.

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