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Sports column: Anyone fill out their CBI bracket?

Published four:00 am Saturday, March 18, 2023

Most college basketball fans are focused this weekend on the NCAA Tournament, and rightly so.

Filling out a bracket is a yearly ritual. Winning an workplace pool is a thing we brag about for years, just about in the very same way parents brag about their children’s accomplishments. Upsets thrill us, but a further championship by Duke or Kentucky bores us.

Commercials that run on an endless loop for 4 days bring us pop culture moments to speak about. Jack Link’s Peeing Sasquatch is confident to rocket previous Lily From AT&ampT in the industrial spokesperson energy rankings this weekend.

In Mississippi, there was even lots of cause to take a glance at the second-tier NIT (National Invitational Tournament) given that Southern Miss and Alcorn State created cameo appearances this year.

What’s seriously catching my eye, even so, is a tournament I almost certainly will not watch a minute of — the College Basketball Invitational, or CBI. Just the reality that this point exists, and has existed for 15 years, is fascinating.

“CBI” sounds like either a shadowy government organization or the subsequent bizarre banking term that is about to blow up our economy. In reality it is the postseason equivalent of a dollar retailer, and not a single of the fancy ones.

If you didn’t do properly sufficient to make the 68-group NCAA Tournament … or the 32-group NIT … then you may possibly nevertheless have a shot to earn the ideal to say “We’re Quantity 1(-oh-a single)!” by winning the CBI.

That is, of course, offered you spend the $27,500 entry charge to participate.

To give you an concept of what type of college would agree to that deal, ten of the 16 teams in the CBI have a path or a city in their names. Two other people are named just after a meals (Rice) and a hat (Stetson). These appear like neat entertaining details you almost certainly will not discover in the CBI press notes.

Reaching the NCAA Tournament is the baseline purpose for just about every group. Playing in the NIT is not as good, but it has some legacy prestige and can serve a goal. Playing in the CBI feels like receiving an invitation to an underground pit fighting competitors in a seedy bar basement in Hong Kong.

All of the games are played in Daytona Beach, Florida. Even if you want to watch them, it is really challenging. The initial two rounds are streamed only on, which appears like a fine web-site that airs a quantity of games but is not specifically on most people’s radar. The semifinals and finals get a bump up to ESPN2.

The CBI switched from on-campus websites to a single place following the COVID-19 pandemic. In the previous two years, none of the 22 games in Daytona Beach has had a listed attendance bigger than 800.

Final year’s championship game, in which UNC Wilmington beat Middle Tennessee 96-90, was witnessed by 624 persons with nothing at all far better to do in Daytona Beach through spring break.

If you win a postseason tournament and no a single sees you lift the trophy, did you seriously win it at all?

The CBI appears about as pointless as it gets, and but it is also a single of the factors that tends to make sports amazing precisely mainly because it is pointless. It is strange and it is goofy, which tends to make it type of entertaining. And just after 15 years it appears like it has a weird niche in the college basketball landscape, which is a bit fascinating.

Even so, I’m not confident anyone is prepared to get a CBI workplace pool going. Appears like they’d rather watch a Sasquatch pee than give the CBI a couple of moments of their time.

Ernest Bowker is the sports editor of The Vicksburg Post. He can be reached at

About Ernest Bowker

Ernest Bowker is The Vicksburg Post’s sports editor. He has been a member of The Vicksburg Post’s sports employees given that 1998, creating him a single of the longest-tenured reporters in the paper’s 140-year history. The New Jersey native is a graduate of LSU. In his profession, he has won extra than 50 awards from the Mississippi Press Association and Connected Press for his coverage of regional sports in Vicksburg.

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