Sunday, March 14, 2010

In which I cry for help by trying to project the CIT field

Only a couple hours, hopefully, until the Flying Dutchmen are announced as part of the Tournament field. They also have a shot at being part of the College Basketball Invitational, but my guess is Hofstra would rather make the smaller investment in hosting a CIT game, and justifiably so.

And since I’ve got issues that no amount of therapy can ever fix, here’s my attempt at CITology: A guess at the 16 teams and the eight first round games. I’m going to feel soooo foolish if Hofstra lands in the CBI.

Before I go any further: A quick evaluation of potential CIT teams indicates that even with the two extra postseason tournaments, there are plenty of schools that will be disappointed tonight. I didn’t think there would be enough deserving teams for another tournament or two when the CBI and CIT were founded, but I was wrong. I don’t envy the CIT and CBI committees tonight. As always, though, the NCAA and NIT selection committees can suck an egg.

I also, purely on a hunch, eliminated the following teams from CIT consideration because I thought they were more likely to pay for a CBI game: Fairfield, College of Charleston, Portland, Louisiana Tech, Western Kentucky and Harvard.

Also remember that four schools have already locked up a CIT bid by agreeing to host a first round game: Appalachian State, Creighton, George Mason and Northern Colorado.

Iona at Hofstra: This is me pulling a Joe Lunardi. Three days after I predicted Hofstra wouldn’t participate in either the CBI or CIT because it wouldn’t want to host a game I am now predicting Hofstra will host a game. Either way, I’ll be right! I’m the man! Anyway, Newsday is reporting that “indications are” the Dutchmen will host a game in one of the tournaments Tuesday or Wednesday. I’d write more about that, or link the story, but I’m in Connecticut and I can’t access anything more than a paragraph on any story. And I keep getting an error message when I try to input my wife’s optonline email address. But yeah, Newsday, keep trying to bust the union and punish the writers, it’s their fault you’re in this mess.

Where was I? Oh yes. I could also see Iona going to the CBI and Hofstra hosting Boston University.

Campbell at George Mason: Just a hunch because Rich Zvosec mentioned Campbell, which finished in a four-way tie for first place in the Atlantic Sun, during our interview Friday. Also a reasonable bus ride from Campbell (located in Buies Creek, NC) to Mason. If Hofstra joins Mason in the field and both teams win their first round games, expect the Dutchmen and Patriots to face off in the second round, and for me to continue making friends with Mason Nation.

Morehead State at Appalachian State: Another matchup that makes sense both in terms of travel and merit. Morehead and Appalachian combined for 45 wins this year.

South Dakota at Northern Colorado: South Dakota has an automatic bid as the Great West champion while Northern Colorado tied a school record by winning 24 games.

Princeton at Creighton: I see the Ivy League getting one bid apiece to each of the new tournaments but have Harvard and Tommy Amaker more willing to take the chances on hosting a CBI game. I, of course, reserve the right to say I was right if Harvard ends up in the CIT field.

IUPUI at Akron: These were two schools specifically mentioned by Zvosec as schools that got screwed (my wording, not his) by the NIT after hugely successful seasons that ended with a heartbreaking loss in the conference tournament. IUPUI and Akron each advanced to their conference final this year and each won 24 games. The CIT is made for schools like these.

Stephen F. Austin at Pacific: Pacific has an RPI of 101 while Stephen F. Austin, which lost to Sam Houston State in the Southland finals Saturday, reached the NIT in 2008 and the NCAA Tournament last year

Lipscomb at UW-Milwaukee: The five players who average the most minutes on Lipscomb are all underclassmen, a big plus for a tournament that likes to reward teams with lots of talent returning the following year. Milwaukee was 7-3 in its last 10 games and gets the nod here because in-state Horizon League rival Green Bay does not seem likely to host a game in either tournament.

Other possible CIT teams: Belmont, Radford, Green Bay, Buffalo, Eastern Kentucky, Mount St. Mary’s, Lafayette, Western Carolina, Denver.

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