Fired Bill Carmody: If not the NIT, then what?

Thursday, February 17, 2011

If not the NIT, then what?

with all that tedious NCAA talk out of the way, NU fans are faced with the stark reality that NU might not be good enough to make the NIT. Rodger over at SoP has been reminding us for weeks that NU was the last at-large team to make the NIT bracket. this year's NU team is not as good as that one, although the postseason field is probably weaker in general.

i generally agree with this argument, that Northwestern basketball is in no position to decline any invitation to play into March, regardless of how crappy the tournament may be. it would be nice to give Juice another home game or two, and it would give the younger guys additional practice/game time. let's look at the two options:

College Basketball Invitational
This will be the fourth CBI, and BCS teams were part of its three previous brackets: 2008 Virginia, Cincinnati, Washington; 2009 St. John's, Stanford, Oregon State (champion); 2010 Oregon State.

That's not exactly a who's who of big six basketball programs, but at least it wouldn't be unprecedented if NU ended up there. It's worth noting that not all those major conference teams got home games. This tournament starts on the same nights as the First Four, and it's unique in that the championship is decided by a best-of-three series to be played in the week of the Final Four. TV coverage doesn't include every early round game and is on HDNet, aka Mark Cuban's channel. Postseason Tournament*
Certainly THIS would be an insult. The two previous tournaments haven't featured anything other than mid- and low-majors. The oddest thing about this tournament is that along with several distinguished former coaches - Lefty Driesell, Lou Henson, Riley Wallace - the selection committee includes Antonio Gates and Vincent Jackson!?! This is about what you'd expect from a site that features both head coach and assistant coach brackets for the Fashionable Four. It looks like some of these games would be on Fox College Sports.

*edit: the CIT doesn't take BCS teams, so never mind. but still, that Vincent Jackson shit is weird.

The big X factor here is money. When these tournaments were created, I read that teams had to pay. I don't remember the details, and of course now I can't find those details. As I recall, there was a fee to host a game in one or both of these tournaments, but the payout was structured so that if you won at least one game you broke even; two or more wins meant a profit. Assuming the financial contribution is not too hefty, I bet Jim Phillips would be in. To my knowledge NU's only other home postseason game was 1994, so I'm sure the NU marketing department would go all out.


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