Huggins, WVU Plan CBI Path
MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — West Virginia will play in the College Basketball Invitational if they don’t sweep through the Big 12 Tournament to qualify for the NCAA Championships, Bob Huggins said Sunday night on his weekly radio show.
The CBI is the third post-season tournament behind the NCAA and the NIT.
All games, according to Huggins, would be at home.
“Our kids are ecstatic to have the chance to keep playing,” Huggins said.
The CBI is a 16-team tournament made up mostly of mid-majors, which means Huggins could get his team four more games of experience and the necessary practice to go with it.
There was some doubt whether WVU would accept a bid to play in the tournament, especially since they are taking a summer trip to Spain to play, but Huggins asked his team if they wanted to participate and they were eager to keep going.
“There’s pluses and minuses,” Huggins said a week ago when discussing the possibility of accepting a chance to play in this tournament. “I think the pluses are all the young guys I have will get a lot more practice. The negative side is attitudes and worrying about all of that stuff. To a degree, you want it to be a positive experience. You’d like to end the season on a good note.”
The CBI is a pay-to-play tournament, meaning you play $50,000 to play in the first round if at home, the visitor pays less, and the price goes up with each round but the school gets to keep the revenue from the game from ticket sales, concessions and any money earned through media.
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Huggins obviously has knowledge of a potential invite upon which to base his comments, but West Virginia’s 12-19 record is below the threshold for other teams participating recently in the tournament. There is, however, no minimum record required by the Gazelle Group, with runs the tournament.
Schools such as Oregon State, Oregon, Pitt, Houston, Cincinnati, Stanford, Virginia, Penn State, Purdue, TCU, St. John’s, Texas and Washington have competed in the CBI since its inception in 2008, although the majority of those came in the early years of the tournament. Last year, the 16 team field was composed solely of mid-majors. Participants in 2017 included Wyoming, George Washington and Rice, preceded by Nevada in 2016 and Colorado in 2015.
(Additional reporting by Kevin Kinder)