While most folks are keeping an eye on the 2011 NCAA Tournament and some are tracking the 2011 National Invitational Tournament (NIT), we at SB Nation Bay Area feel that the best way to serve this community is by tracking the true bottom of the barrel tournaments. Part of this is because basketball is basketball. The bigger reason is that due to some poor showings in the region, the NIT, CBI, and CIT are the only tournaments that would have Bay Area universities. St. Mary's and Cal are headed to the NIT, the San Jose State Spartans are headed to the College Basketball Invitational, and the Santa Clara Broncos and San Francisco Dons are headed to the CollegeInsider.com Postseason Tournament (CIT).
If you've never heard of either of these tournaments, we'll be here to inform you about them and update you on Bay Area progress. The three schools involved were not favored to win their tournaments, and you could argue San Francisco had a fairly stunning WCC season, finishing third behind traditional powers Gonzaga and St. Mary's.
The CBI is a tournament created in 2008 by The Gazelle Group (out of Princeton, N.J.). It is a single-elimination tournament up until the championship series and is based at campus sites of the teams involved. The "Championship Series" is a best-of-three series. Their stated goal is "to create a competitive balance within each bracket and to minimize missed class time." It includes 16 teams. There's no particularly specific criteria for the tournament, but they say that "teams are invited based upon performance during their conference and non-conference schedules, as well as how well the team is playing at the end of the regular season."
The CIT is a tournament created in 2009 by CollegeInsiders.com. The tournament appears to focus on mid-majors that didn't get a shot at the NIT or NCAAs. If there were a clarified pecking order, it would probably be NCAA, NIT, CBI, CIT. The CBI field is generally released later than the CIT as teams in the CBI appear to be a little bit closer to the NIT bubble.
The tournaments kick off most of their action tomorrow. We'll have plenty of updates for the three Bay Area teams as we look for some postseason glory!