Sports Column: Has any one filled out their CBI bracket?

Posted at four:00 am on Saturday, March 18, 2023

Most college basketball fans are focused on the NCAA tournament this weekend, and rightfully so.

Filling out the bracket is an annual ritual. Winning the workplace pool is some thing we’ve been bragging about for years, virtually the very same way parents brag about their children’s achievements. Upsets thrill us, and a different Duke or Kentucky championship bores us.

The 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 surpass Lily From AT&T in the industrial spokesperson energy rankings this weekend.

Mississippi even had a lot of explanation to appear to the second-tier NIT (National Invitational Tournament) as Southern Miss and Alcorn State created cameo appearances this year.

On the other hand, what truly catches my eye is a tournament I possibly will not watch a minute of — the College Basketball Invitational, or CBI. The quite truth that this point exists, and has for 15 years, is fascinating.

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

If you did not do nicely adequate to get into the 68-group NCAA Tournament…or the 32-group NIT…then you may nevertheless have a possibility to earn the appropriate to say “We’re Quantity 1 (-o-a single)!” ” by winning the CBI.

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

To give you an notion of ​​what sort of college would agree to that deal, ten of the 16 teams in the CBI have a track or city in their name. The other two are named right after meals (Rice) and a hat (Stetson). These look like neat enjoyable details you possibly will not discover in CBI press notes.

Reaching the NCAA Tournament is the ultimate target for each and every group. Playing in the NIT is not that excellent, but it has some legacy prestige and can serve a goal. Playing in CBI is like becoming invited to an underground pit fighting contest in a seedy basement bar in Hong Kong.

All games are played in Daytona Beach, Florida. Even if you want to watch them, it is quite complicated. The initially two rounds are only streamed on, which appears like a fantastic site that streams a quantity of games, but is not specifically on most people’s radar. The semifinals and finals are on ESPN2.

CBI moved from campus areas to a single place following the COVID-19 pandemic. In the previous two years, none of Daytona Beach’s 22 games have had an attendance of a lot more than 800.

Final year’s championship game, in which UNC Wilmington beat Middle Tennessee 96-90, was attended by 624 individuals who have absolutely nothing far better to do in Daytona Beach in the course of spring break.

If you win a postseason tournament and no a single sees you raise the trophy, did you truly win it?

The CBI appears about as pointless as it gets, and but it really is a single of the factors that tends to make sports excellent precisely for the reason that it really is pointless. It is weird and silly, which tends to make it enjoyable. And right after 15 years, he appears to have a strange niche in the college basketball landscape, which is sort of fascinating.

Even so, I am not confident any one is prepared to commence a CBI workplace pool. It appears they would rather watch Sasquatch pee than give the CBI a handful 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 sports editor of The Vicksburg Post. He has been a member of The Vicksburg Post’s sports employees given that 1998, generating him a single of the longest-tenured reporters in the paper’s 140-year history. The New Jersey native graduated from LSU. In his profession, he won a lot more than 50 awards from the Mississippi Press Association and the Linked Press for his coverage of regional sports in Vicksburg.

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