The CBI is DEFINITELY Madsen.
Well, sort of.
Technically the Frogs have made the post season for the first time since the 2004-2005 season, but with a little less flash. In case you missed the announcement - and, don't lie, most of you did - TCU received a COVETED invitation to the College Basketball Invitational Tournament. TCU will face the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee at the DMC tomorrow evening at 7PM. Tickets are available at the DMC box office and presumably going anything but quickly.
A handful of CBI games will be featured live on Mark Cuban/HDNet. Unfortunately, TCU's first round skirmish with the Panthers did not make the cut, so you'll have to skip over to campus and catch the game in person if you want to be a part of the action. We'll have a full preview tomorrow with facts and everything, but let's make a few observations about this year's CBI. You can peruse this year's bracket HERE.
As a general overview since most of us are severely under-informed about this, the DISTANT third most important tournament of the NCAA post season kicked off after the 2007-2008 season in honor of the College Bowl system's, "No Team Left Behind" policy. Past Champions include both Oregon teams plus Tulsa and VCU, who used their win as a spring board fort their Final four run last season. Technically the CBI is in direct competition with the prestigious CollegeInsider.com, or CIT, tournament but as that one was not spawned until two years after the CBI, and "CIT" is only two letters away from spelling "SHIT," we'll give the CBI the nod. Also, compare the two fields.
Anyway, apparently the CBI does not employ seeding and the home team is decided by who is willing to pony up funds in order to host the game. (Note to the NCAA Tournament: Do you like money? Like, LOTS of money? May want to look into this). Considering TCU's home vs away record, let's hope the boosters are getting out their checkbooks as if they were at Funtown Auto. The tournament is single elimination until the finals where the format shifts to best two out of three. This is the CBI's selling point. Strangely enough, teams aren't taking the bait and passing up NIT and NCAA bids for that chance.
This year's field features a handful of interesting potential matchups for TCU. Here are a few:
- Butler Bulldogs. Butler, thought to be a bubble team most of the year, won't make it a third straight trip to the Final Four and headlines the CBI field. The Bulldogs have more or less been the TCU of college basketball these past couple of seasons, making it to the sports' biggest stage despite playing in a "mid major" Conference and lacking the infrastructure of the majors. The Bulldogs may not feature the firepower of those Gordon Heyward/Shelvin Mack/Matt Howard led Final Four teams, but they clearly know what it takes to win in March and are one of the presumed favorites of this whole thing. The Frogs and Bulldogs would not meet until the Finals, but expect the aforementioned comparisons to be made, presuming non-local media covers this thing, which is more than a MID-MAJOR stretch. FUN FACT: Butler plays in Hinkle Fieldhouse in Indianapolis, which is where the movie Hoosiers was filmed. Bill Simmons will now write a 5000 word article suggesting that shooting baskets in Hinkle Fieldhouse the day of the Super Bowl excuses another gut wrenching Pats loss to the Giants. Oh wait, that already happened. Seriously.
- Pitt Panthers. It's likely pretty unusual for a blue blood Big East program like the Panthers to fall all the way to the CBI, but here they are. Like Butler, TCU would not be able to face the Panthers until the Finals but such a matchup would certainly hold some interest for Frog fans as the Panthers are coached by former TCU minor legend Jamie Dixon. Plus, such a matchup comes with an added bonus. There is a much-larger-than-we-could-admit-without-being-completely-embarrassed cross section of TCU fans who have been saying for years, "WHY DON'T WE JUST HIRE JAMIE DIXON AWAY FROM PITT?!?!?!" If you're reading Spitblood, hopefully I don't have to point out he major fallacies in that statement, but consider this: What if TCU is to make the Finals against Pitt and beat them? Despite their talent, Dixon's Panthers have always been underachievers and it's possible patience could be wearing thin with him at Pitt. Could that loss be the straw that breaks the camel's back? FUN FACT: There's a clause in the contracts of most major conference coaches where if they lose to TCU in a post season tournament the permanent stigma attached to their name will be so volatile that their only option is to immediately become the new Coach at TCU. Dixon has this stipulation.
- Wyoming Cowboys. Our future former Conference mates the Cowboys were banking BIG TIME on an NIT bid only to be left at the altar. So their bid acceptance had to be a little bit begrudging. However, a potential semi final matchup with the Cowboys could be seen as enticing for the Frogs as we split the season series and could possibly catch the Cowboys in Fort Worth. Perhaps the CBI gods will give us one last date with the Doo Doo Browns? FUN FACT:DOODOOBROWNDOODOOBROWNDOODOOBROWN
- Oregon State Beavers. The 2009 Champions pose a potential second round threat to TCU. That's all I got. FUN FACT: The Beavers are coached by none other than Barack Obama's Brother in Law. Obama will rig the tournament for the Beavers to win and declare it to be a major victory in the war against the 1%. You watch.
- Evansville ???? too lazy to look it up. TCU beat Evansville earlier in the season, so they would hold an advantage if both teams inexplicably reached the Finals. FUN FACT: Even people from Evansville are unsure what state they reside in.
- Delaware Blue Hens. Hi, I'm in Delaware. FUN FACT: Joe Flacco's caterpillar eye brows are the starting small and power forwards for this Hens team.
All jokes aside though, not only playing but HOSTING a post season tournament game is pretty big for these Horned Frogs and we should not take this opportunity lightly. So let's pack the DMC tomorrow night and keep this train rolling as long as possible. Seriously, do it for Hank.