Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Extending bad hoops into March

We’re already seeing enough bad college basketball in November.

Now the same people who are bringing us Louisiana-Monroe against Michigan State in the CBE Classic tonight on ESPN-U are running a postseason tournament that will extend into April.

The Gazelle Group, a sports consulting company in Princeton, N.J., has created the College Basketball Invitational for teams left out of the 65-team NCAA tournament field. The 16-team CBI, which debuts March 18-19 of 2008, will be a single-elimination tournament until the finals, when a best-of-3 championship series will be held. All games will be held at on-campus sites.
That means 113 Division I men’s teams will play postseason basketball in 2008, up from 97 in 2007.

The most interesting thing about the new tournament is whether the CBI will try to compete with the NIT for the NCAA tournament’s leftovers. The 32-team NIT used to be the only option for teams that didn’t make the NCAA field.

Evan Olesh, a Gazelle Group spokesman, said event organizers aren’t commenting on the CBI’s selection process as it relates to the NIT. It’s a time-honored coaching truism that competition makes everybody better.

But if you’ve watched some of these November games, you know that’s not always the case. And if you’ve ever eaten leftovers, you know they’re sometimes best when served with an antacid.

– Ken Tysiac