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Sports column: Anyone fill out their CBI bracket? – The Vicksburg Post


Mar 18, 2023

Sports column: Anyone fill out their CBI bracket?

Published four:00 am Saturday, March 18, 2023

Most college basketball fans are focused this weekend on the NCAA Tournament, and rightly so.

Filling out a bracket is a yearly ritual. Winning an workplace pool is some thing we brag about for years, virtually in the very same way parents brag about their children’s accomplishments. Upsets thrill us, but a further championship by Duke or Kentucky bores us.

Commercials that run on an endless loop for 4 days bring us pop culture moments to speak about. Jack Link’s Peeing Sasquatch is certain to rocket previous Lily From AT&ampT in the industrial spokesperson energy rankings this weekend.

In Mississippi, there was even lots of purpose to take a glance at the second-tier NIT (National Invitational Tournament) due to the fact Southern Miss and Alcorn State created cameo appearances this year.

What’s truly catching my eye, nonetheless, is a tournament I possibly will not watch a minute of — the College Basketball Invitational, or CBI. Just the truth that this issue exists, and has existed for 15 years, is fascinating.

“CBI” sounds like either a shadowy government organization or the subsequent bizarre banking term that is about to blow up our economy. In reality it is the postseason equivalent of a dollar shop, and not one particular of the fancy ones.

If you didn’t do nicely sufficient to make the 68-group NCAA Tournament … or the 32-group NIT … then you may well nonetheless have a shot to earn the ideal to say “We’re Quantity 1(-oh-one particular)!” by winning the CBI.

That is, of course, supplied you spend the $27,500 entry charge to participate.

To give you an notion of what type of college would agree to that deal, ten of the 16 teams in the CBI have a path or a city in their names. Two other folks are named soon after a meals (Rice) and a hat (Stetson). These look like neat entertaining information you possibly will not obtain in the CBI press notes.

Reaching the NCAA Tournament is the baseline purpose for each group. Playing in the NIT is not as terrific, but it has some legacy prestige and can serve a goal. Playing in the CBI feels like receiving an invitation to an underground pit fighting competitors in a seedy bar basement in Hong Kong.

All of the games are played in Daytona Beach, Florida. Even if you want to watch them, it is pretty complicated. The initially two rounds are streamed only on FloHoops.com, which appears like a fine web-site that airs a quantity of games but is not precisely on most people’s radar. The semifinals and finals get a bump up to ESPN2.

The CBI switched from on-campus web pages to a single place following the COVID-19 pandemic. In the previous two years, none of the 22 games in Daytona Beach has had a listed attendance bigger than 800.

Final year’s championship game, in which UNC Wilmington beat Middle Tennessee 96-90, was witnessed by 624 persons with nothing at all greater to do in Daytona Beach in the course of spring break.

If you win a postseason tournament and no one particular sees you lift the trophy, did you truly win it at all?

The CBI appears about as pointless as it gets, and but it is also one particular of the issues that tends to make sports great precisely since it is pointless. It is strange and it is goofy, which tends to make it type of entertaining. And soon after 15 years it appears like it has a weird niche in the college basketball landscape, which is a bit fascinating.

Even so, I’m not certain anyone is prepared to get a CBI workplace pool going. Appears like they’d rather watch a Sasquatch pee than give the CBI a handful of moments of their time.

Ernest Bowker is the sports editor of The Vicksburg Post. He can be reached at ernest.bowker@vicksburgpost.com

About Ernest Bowker

Ernest Bowker is The Vicksburg Post’s sports editor. He has been a member of The Vicksburg Post’s sports employees due to the fact 1998, producing him one particular of the longest-tenured reporters in the paper’s 140-year history. The New Jersey native is a graduate of LSU. In his profession, he has won far more than 50 awards from the Mississippi Press Association and Related Press for his coverage of neighborhood sports in Vicksburg.

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