NIT, CBI offer action while waiting for NCAA

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If 48 hours of NCAA Tournament basketball from Thursday to Sunday didn’t sate your hoops hunger, the NIT, CBI and CIT had your back this week.

Colorado on Monday beat NIT Cinderella hopeful Norfolk State to set up a quarterfinal matchup Wednesday with Texas. Indiana-Wichita State and TCU-Creighton decided half the NIT’s final four on Tuesday. Wednesday’s winner between Lipscomb and North Carolina State will join the others next week at Madison Square Garden.

The CBI had four games on Monday, highlighted by Coastal Carolina’s 109-91 drubbing of West Virginia, one of two Power 6 teams (DePaul advanced with a win over Longwood) in the tournament. Just two weeks ago, West Virginia knocked off NCAA Tournament Sweet 16 participant Texas Tech.

Coastal Carolina and DePaul square off in Chicago Wednesday. Loyola Marymount and South Florida meet in the other CBI semifinal Thursday in Tampa.

In the CIT, Texas Southern and Cal State Bakersfield advanced to the quarterfinals with wins. Three more quarterfinalists were determined Tuesday.

So, why stage Florida International-Green Bay midweek matchups in half-empty gyms and arenas between the NCAA Tournament’s round of 32 and Sweet 16?

Well, for the madness, of course. And pride.

“We’ve got a prideful group,” South Florida coach Brian Gregory said after his team set a school record coming back from 25 down to beat Stony Brook in the CBI’s second round.

The CBI, a pay-to-play event, is in its 12th year.

“We want teams who want to keep playing basketball,” Ray Cella, media-relations director for the Gazelle Group, a sports-marketing outfit that runs the CBI, told the Tampa Bay Times. “We want teams that have had successful seasons or are peaking at the end of the season and have a desire to continue to play.”

The CIT, which doesn’t use a traditional bracket, excludes teams from the power conferences, the AAC, Atlantic 10 and Mountain West.

On its website, the CIT, which began in 2009, says that 34 different schools have won their first postseason game in the tournament and 26 have received their first-ever bids.

While the CBI and CIT make few waves outside the regional sites where games are played, the NIT, with its tradition and its ESPN television deal still attracts some attention.

And with NCAA Tournament bubble teams like Indiana, TCU, Creighton and North Carolina State still involved, there could be added interest in New York.

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About the Author

Ched Whitney

Ched Whitney has been a journalist in Las Vegas since 1994. He worked for the Las Vegas Review-Journal for 18 years, where he was the paper’s art director for 12. Since becoming a freelancer in 2012, his work has appeared at ESPN.com, AOL, The Seattle Times and UNLV Magazine, among others. ​

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