While the NCAA Tournament and to a certain extent, the NIT, may grab all the national headlines, there are two other college tournaments out there that don’t get as much attention, and dammit, they should.
Unless you went to one of the 20 schools who was selected for the CollegeInsider.com postseason tournament, you probably had no idea that the CIT started yesterday with four play-in games, and let me tell you, the action was furious, the trophies aplenty, and had me thinking that this is the best postseason tournament out there.
If you can believe it, this is the 10th year of the tournament which is sponsored by a website I had never visited until yesterday. Great marketing on their part to finally get me to the site after 10 years.
From noon until midnight the fine folks at the CIT had college basketball on CBSSN for us to enjoy. The day started off with a BANGER of a game between my alma mater, Central Michigan, who had THREE wins over non-D1 teams that they counted among their win total, and Fort Wayne, with the Chippewas pulling out a 94-89 win. From there Drake needed overtime to hold off Abilene Christian in a matchup of two teams who were a combined 32-31 entering the game; Liberty, who was down two starters, beat North Carolina A&T who only sent 10 players to the game, 65-52; and San Diego used homecourt and not having to fly across the country advantage to beat Hartford 88-72 in the four play-in games of the tournament.
That’s some good basketball AND great storylines to keep an eye on in the tournament. What more could fans of the game want?
Best of all, there was a damn trophy for each team who won yesterday. Check out Central Michigan’s Keno Davis hoisting that hardware. You don’t see teams in the NCAA Tournament getting a trophy for getting a play-in win. Advantage, CIT.
Really, they should give out a trophy after EVERY game. You win in the Sweet 16 of the CIT, trophy. Elite 8 of the CIT, trophy. Final Four, trophy. Win the WHOLE DAMN THING?! A Sizzler gift card.
And buddy, the action is just heating up. On Wednesday there are three opening round games with St. Francis heading to Chicago to take on UIC, Niagara heading to Eastern Michigan, Lamar traveling to UTSA, and then a Thursday game with Louisiana-Monroe visiting Austin Peay. Are these games on TV? WHO KNOWS! The website doesn’t say, so let’s just assume no.
Best off all: After these opening round games, THERE IS NO BRACKET! That’s right, you win at the CIT, and it is a total mystery as to where you might be playing next. Maybe you’re playing Eastern Michigan, maybe you’re playing the game on Mars! The world may never know, only the fine folks at the CIT selection committee, which is a real thing, know the answer to that riddle.
If you can believe it, this tournament goes on the rest of the month, with the seminfinals on March 28, broadcast LIVE on CBSSN, then the championship game on March 30 also live on CBSSN. I’ve already got it on my calendar.
So here’s to you CIT, while everyone is talking NCAA Tournament, my eyes and attention are squarely focused on you, for you care about the little guy, and you hand out trophies at random, and really, that’s what basketball is all about.