This is written at 3:45 p.m., Iowa time. It’s a little more than four hours until tip-off of the Ohio State-Iowa men’s basketball game at Carver-Hawkeye Arena.
Do you have any idea how big a game this will be? Wake up, people!
Iowa is 14-15. It finishes its Big Ten schedules with tonight’s game and Saturday’s home game against Penn State. If it wins both, it is guaranteed no worse than 16-16 season even if it loses its first-round game at the Big Ten tourney.
What does that mean? It means the College Basketball Invitational and Collegeinsider.com Postseason Tournament will be eyeballing the Hawkeyes.
Seriously, you ask? Hey, I don’t make this stuff up.
The College Basketball Invitational (CBI) is entering its second year. Last year it collected 16 teams that weren’t NIT-worthy. Ever since the NCAA bought out the NIT in 2006, it has these crazy things called standards attached to the tourney. Being .500 or even a game over doesn’t seem to cut it anymore.
Enter the CBI. Last year the CBI invited both Virginia and Washington. Virginia was 15-15, Washington 16-16.
You think Iowa couldn’t get in this year with a 16-16 mark? Why the heck not?
I hesitate to mention this, but the CBI also included 13-18 Cincinnati for reasons that were never explained to the public. The Bearcats did the right thing and lost their opening-round game at Bradley.
The champion, by the way, was Tulsa. It won a best-of-three final series vs. Bradley. Yes, a best-of-three. Each of the three games was won by the home team, so Tulsa kind of had an advantage there.
But I digress. We’re not counting on any more 13-18 teams getting invitations. Let’s say .500 or better, though who wouldn’t want a 15-17 Hawkeyes team with, say, a 5-13 Big Ten record, adding glamour and glitz to its tournament?
But wait, there’s more.
In January, news (using “news” in the loosest sense) came that another postseason men’s basketball tourney has been born.
It is the Collegeinsider.com tournament. It, too, will have 16 teams.
For those scoring at home, that’s 129 Division I teams with a postseason tourney to attend. There are 341 D-I programs, so you’ll still be in the minority if you advance to the postseason. Barely.
Only two of the CBI’s 16 teams a year ago were from BCS conferences, those being the .500 Virginia and the sub-.500 Cincinnati. At .500, Iowa would have to appeal like crazy to the CBI or Colleginsider.com tourney, which needs a name with snappy initials, like the NIT, the CBI, the BBC, and B.B. King.
These games are slapped on television, and the folks at home around America want name-teams, not a battle between a 17-14 Murray State and an 18-14 Bradley.
Although, I grant you Murray and Bradley are indeed names.
But Iowa needs to win tonight to get into the BCI and C-Something discussions. Ohio State has its NIT status locked up at 18-9, so perhaps the Buckeyes will let up.
At any rate, Gazetteonline.com will host a game-long live chat with you, the fans and readers. I’ll be there with Gazette sportswriter Scott Dochterman, and we welcome your participation.
The link to the live blog: