College basketball has added a whole new set of initials -- the CBI -- which translates into an entirely new postseason tournament to go along with the NCAAs and the NIT.
Officials of the Gazelle Group announced Wednesday they are starting a new tournament, the College Basketball Invitational, to complement the established events that have ruled the postseason together since 1939.
Gazelle intends for the 16-team event to be played starting this March. The games will be played in campus gyms on a single-elimination basis but will culminate in a three-game championship series.
"There's only a certain amount of spots in the NCAA Tournament, and only a certain amount of spots in the NIT," said the Gazelle Group's Evan Olesh. "We want to give more schools an opportunity."
Olesh said there are no NCAA regulations that would prohibit the existence of another postseason tournament. Although the CBI will fill its field with teams not selected for the NCAA Tournament, its organizers have not decided whether to compete for teams the NIT also wants. The teams will be chosen by a committee, but the composition of that committee is still be determined, as are any plans to televise the event.
The Gazelle Group did produce a mock bracket for a CBI tournament that could have been played last season composed of teams that weren't selected for either the NCAAs or NIT. It included such brand-name schools as Connecticut and Washington, along with accomplished mid-majors Akron and Northern Iowa. "Based on the mock bracket, it wouldn't bee too shabby of a field," Olesh said.
With the NCAA and NIT fields, currently 97 of 336 Division I teams (teams included in the 2006-07 Ratings Percentage Index) compete in the postseason, or 28.8 percent. That's a far lower percentage of teams than compete in postseason games in football's bowl subdivision. With the CBI running, that figure would increase to 33.6 percent.