And you thought Hollywood wasted no time rebooting old and tired franchises! Good afternoon and welcome to the first-ever Just The Facts: CBI, in which I actively seek an intervention by trying to examine the trends in a tournament that seems as if it is annually flung together by a bunch of catty teenagers at the cool kids table.
Teenager: “Hey if the NIT won’t invite you to the party Tuesday you can come to my house!”
Unnamed team an hour later: “Stupid NIT didn’t invite me, can I still come?”
Teenager: “No I saw you talking to CIT, you can’t hang out with CBI if you’re talking to the CIT. Plus Oregon is bringing beer and will come to two of our parties in the next three years, so we gave your invite to her.”
Unnamed team: “I hate you, I’m going to start my own postseason tournament!”
Anyway. Though there is no rhyme nor reason in putting together the CBI field, and though a combination of awarding home games to the highest bidder and the slim pickings left after the NCAA, NIT and CIT all make their selections makes it tough to find anyone entering the postseason on a roll (more on that shortly), I thought it would be interesting, since the Flying Dutchmen are 7-3 in their last 10 games, to see how teams that were hot entering the CBI the previous three years performed.
And the news is GREAT for Hofstra! Teams that were 7-3 entering the CBI have historically (snort) performed far better than anyone else in the field. Of the previous 10 teams to enter the CBI on a 7-3 run, eight won their first-round game, four got to the semifinals—at least one every year—two got to the championship series (really, CBI, a championship series?) and one, Tulsa in 2008, won it all. The only teams to reach the CBI on a 7-3 run and lose in the first round: Akron last year and Nevada in 2008.
In addition, teams that were 7-3 entering the CBI are 14-10 in CBI play, the most wins and the highest winning percentage among any teams that played at least 10 games.
The best news? The Dutchmen are the only team to enter the CBI this year on a 7-3 run. BOOK THE ARENA FOR THE CHAMPIONSHIP SERIES WE’RE COMING HOME!!!
The raw data on those teams that entered the CBI on a 7-3 run:
St. Louis: Reached title series, lost to VCU
Princeton: Reached semis, lost to St. Louis
Morehead State: Reached second round, lost to Boston U
Charleston: Reached second round, lost to VCU
Akron: Lost in first round to Green Bay
Richmond: Reached semis, lost to UTEP
Tulsa: Won championship
Old Dominion: Reached second round, lost to Virginia
Valparaiso: Reached second round, lost to Houston
Nevada: Lost in first round to Houston
It’s a good thing the Dutchmen lost that game to Wright State (no, not really, it probably cost Hofstra an NIT bid), because the track record of teams that are 8-2 or better entering the CBI is not good. Last year’s Dutchmen were one of eight teams in the first three years of the CBI to go 8-2 or better in their last 10 games entering the tournament. Only one of those teams (Boston University last year) got as far as the semifinals.
The Dutchmen, of course, lost a year ago this week, albeit to fellow 8-2 squad IUPUI. Nevada and Troy in 2009 and Brown, which went 9-1 in its 10 games entering the CBI in 2008, also lost their first CBI game after entering the tourney 8-2 or better in their last 10 games. Only two teams are 8-2 in their last 10 entering this year’s CBI and both have Hofstra ties: Boise State, whom Hofstra could face in the second round, and Davidson, which is coached by Hofstra alum Bob McKillop.
All that being said, there is ample evidence that this is a foolish exercise, that there’s no way to figure out whether or not a team’s regular season finish is a precursor to CBI performance. Nine of the 16 teams in this year’s field were 5-5 or worse in their last 10 games while 22 of the 48 teams to participate in the first three years of the CBI were no better than 5-5 in their final 10 games entering the tourney. So the sheer numbers suggest a team that stumbles into the CBI will end up doing pretty well—like Oregon State did two years ago, when it was 3-7 entering the tourney and won the whole thing. And five of the eight teams to reach the CBI semifinals were 5-5 or worse to end the regular season.
Then again, the five teams to enter the tournament at 5-5 or worse last year all got knocked out in the first round, which would seem to be good news for Hofstra: Evansville was 4-6 in its final 10 games. Or maybe it’s not good news. I don’t know, I’ve cried for help enough today. Go join my CBI Craziness pool!