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Husky Men's Basketball

The latest news and analysis on Husky men's hoops.

March 18, 2008 at 1:09 PM

CBI-ology?

As others have pointed out, one mistake the CBI may have made in attempting to build a following was deciding to re-seed after the quarterfinal rounds.
That makes it impossible to do a bracket and follow it through to the end. Conjecture is the decision to re-seed was done for financial reasons — heck, the whole tournament is being done for financial reasons, obviously — with the four semi-finalists seeded based on who can best, or is willing, to host games and sell a few tickets.
So for now, we can only break down the CBI through the first two rounds. I’ll do so region-by-region acknowledging that I know little more about teams like Brown or Ohio than I do, say, knitting.
WEST
Only in the CBI could the highest seed have the lowest RPI of the four teams in its region. But that’s the case as UW is at 121, compared to 74 for Nevada, 80 for Houston and 97 for Valparaiso (in fact,UW’s RPI is the third-worst of the 16 teams in the field).
But the Huskies will have the home court throughout, and if they can get past Valparaiso, should have a pretty healthy Jon Brockman from there. Nevada is a tough home team (11-3 this season) that should be able to get past a slumping Houston squad (losers of three of last four and five of last nine) to win its first-round game tonight. That would create a UW-Nevada quarterfinal game and the Huskies should be able to make it to the semis from there if the home court (sure to feature below-average crowds) proves to be any sort of edge.
EAST
By RPI, anyway, the weakest region in the field as all of the teams are at 109 or below — Rider is 109, Richmond 120, Virginia 127 and Old Dominion 129.
Rider tied with Siena for the MAAC regular-season title led by forward Jason Thompson, who averages 12 rebounds a game (second in the nation just ahead of Brockman’s 11.5.) It should beat ODU today.
Virginia fell hard after a 10-2 start to finish 15-15 and in Richmond, faces a long-time rival (this will be the 88th meeting between the two). That should make for an emotional game. But Virginia has the best player in guard Sean Singletary and should win tonight. Virginia should then be able to beat Rider to get out of this region.
SOUTH
Miami-Ohio, at 73, has the best RPI of any team in the tournament, due largely to wins over NCAA tourney teams Xavier and Mississippi State. But it opens at Tulsa against a team that won 10 of its last 13 games, so slot the Golden Hurricane through.
The other game is Utah at UTEP. Utah has lost six of its last eight after a promising start and probably won’t be able to win a road game here. A UTEP-Tulsa game in the second round would be the fourth meeting this year between the two, UTEP winning two. Home court would figure to send UTEP through to the semis.
MIDWEST
So this tournament almost had to have Bradley, which also played in the first-ever NIT, NCAA, National Campus Tournament (1951) and Commissioner’s Classic (1974). The meeting with Cincy is a resurrection of an old rivalry that has been dormant since 1981, so it could be emotion-laden, as well. Despite a 13-18 record, Cincy has a 118 RPI. But Cincy lost its last six games and should be no match for Bradley, which won nine of its last 14, including a win at Drake.
Ohio and Brown may be one of the least-sexy post-season matchups in the history of college basketball other than the fact that Brown is coached by Craig Robinson, the brother-in-law of Barack Obama.
Ohio is 12-1 at home including wins over New Mexico State and Cornell — which won the Ivy League, of which Brown finished second — so the Bobcats should win this one. Figure Bradley from there.
So yes, that means I’ve got all four No. 1 seeds advancing to the semifinals.
But then when it comes to the CBI, you just never know what might happen, do you?

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