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More March Madness!

2009 March 17
by Brad Humphreys

Remember the good old days when there were only two postseason men’s college basketball tournaments? Things were simple then. If your bubble popped, you either landed in the postseason NIT, or you went home, licked your wounds and dreamed of next year.

Things got a bit messier last year, with the debut of the College Basketball Invitational (CBI), a 16 team tournament sponsored by a sports marketing company that tried to steal a few teams from the NIT. I had a post about the CBI last year. The CBI is back again this year, although the games will be televised on HDNet, which appears to be available only on DirecTV and Dish Network. I suppose that is better than YouTube or streaming web video. The CBI field includes St. John’s (16-17), Richmond (18-15), Vermont (23-8), Green Bay (22-10), College of Charleston (26-8), Troy (19-12), Houston (21-11), Oregon St. (13-17), Buffalo (21-11) , Wichita St. (16-16), Northeastern (18-12), Wyoming (19-13), Boise St. (19-12), Stanford (18-13), UTEP (19-12), and Nevada (21-12). Yes, you read that correctly: 13 and 17 Oregon State is dancin’ Bay-Bee!

This year we have yet another new entrant into the market, the CollegeInsider.com Postseason Tournament. This is another 16 team tournament; the games will be televised on Fox College Sports. The inaugural field includes Austin Peay (19-13), Belmont (19-12), Bradley (18-14), The Citadel (20-12), Drake (17-15), Evansville (17-13), Idaho (16-15), James Madison (19-14), Kent State (19-14), Liberty (22-11), Mount St. Mary’s (19-13), Oakland (22-12), Old Dominion (21-10), Pacific (19-12), Portland (19-12) and Rider (19-12).

There are now 129 postseason basketball tournament participants. A few notes on the field:

  • Higest ranked (by Sagarin) teams staying home: Cincinnati, NC State, Seton Hall, Vanderbilt, Iowa, Mississippi. Power conference teams snubbed by the NIT.
  • Highest ranked (by Sagarin) CBI participants: Stanford, Wisconsin-Green Bay, Houston
  • Highest ranked (by Sagarin) CollegeInsider.com team: Portland, Old Dominion
  • Why are they playing: The Citadel (193 in Sagarin) in CollegeInsider.com field; Troy (171 in Sagarin) in the CBI field. Oregon State (12-17, ranked 114 in Sagarin) in CBI field.

And the $60,000 questions: Is there any incentive for additional entrants in this market? Are the CBI and CollegeInsider.com tournaments viable in the long run?

Hat Tip: Brian Soebbing

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