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 anything we brag about for years, just about in the exact same way parents brag about their children’s accomplishments. Upsets thrill us, but one more 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 certain 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) because Southern Miss and Alcorn State produced cameo appearances this year.

What’s truly catching my eye, nonetheless, is a tournament I likely will not watch a minute of — the College Basketball Invitational, or CBI. Just the truth that this issue 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 one particular of the fancy ones.

If you didn’t do effectively sufficient to make the 68-group NCAA Tournament … or the 32-group NIT … then you may nonetheless have a shot to earn the correct to say “We’re Quantity A single(-oh-one particular)!” 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 sort 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 right after a meals (Rice) and a hat (Stetson). These look like neat enjoyable details you likely will not discover in the CBI press notes.

Reaching the NCAA Tournament is the baseline aim for every single group. Playing in the NIT is not as fantastic, but it has some legacy prestige and can serve a goal. Playing in the CBI feels like acquiring 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 hard. The 1st two rounds are streamed only on, which appears like a fine web site that airs a quantity of games but is not precisely on most people’s radar. The semifinals and finals get a bump up to ESPN2.

The CBI switched from on-campus internet sites 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 people today with absolutely nothing superior to do in Daytona Beach throughout spring break.

If you win a postseason tournament and no one particular sees you lift the trophy, did you truly win it at all?

The CBI appears about as pointless as it gets, and but it is also one particular of the issues that tends to make sports amazing precisely due to the fact it is pointless. It is strange and it is goofy, which tends to make it sort of enjoyable. And right 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 certain anyone is prepared to get a CBI workplace pool going. Appears like they’d rather watch a 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 Vicksburg Post’s sports editor. He has been a member of The Vicksburg Post’s sports employees because 1998, creating him one particular 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 far more than 50 awards from the Mississippi Press Association and Related Press for his coverage of regional sports in Vicksburg.

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