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Originally published Sunday, March 16, 2008 at 12:00 AM


UW Men's Basketball | Huskies warm up for postseason bid

The Washington Huskies will again tempt fate on Selection Sunday. Like last year, the Huskies have a practice scheduled for tonight in anticipation...

Seattle Times staff reporter

The Washington Huskies will again tempt fate on Selection Sunday.

Like last year, the Huskies have a practice scheduled for tonight in anticipation of a postseason invitation.

Last year, UW had no need to take the court when it was snubbed by the NIT.

But this season, despite a worse record (16-16 compared to 19-13 last year), the Huskies' chances of playing again appear better thanks to the introduction of a new postseason tournament, the College Basketball Invitational.

After the NCAA tournament selects 65 teams and the NIT takes 32, the CBI will invite 16 more (the CBI says it will compete for teams with the NIT, but logically, it will choose from teams left over).

Playing for the right to say "We're No. 98" might not seem like much.

But UW coaches and players say they would like to continue their season.

Do the Huskies deserve to keep playing?

"In the conference that we are in, no doubt," said coach Lorenzo Romar, citing the strength of the Pac-10 this season.

The CBI was formed as a reaction to the NIT reducing its field from 40 to 32 teams after it was taken over by the NCAA. The NIT also now is required to invite all regular-season champions that don't make the NCAA tournament.

That has left fewer NIT slots for teams from bigger conferences that don't make the NCAA tournament. CBI officials think there are enough of those schools available for a compelling tournament.

The CBI doesn't require teams to have winning records.


"We want teams that have played well the last month or two and have had some good wins along the way and can make for an exciting tournament," said Dan Loney of the Gazelle Group, the CBI organizer.

The biggest criteria may be a willingness by schools that host games to pay at least $60,000 (the tournament and the school will split gate receipts 50/50, but the CBI's share must be at least $60,000).

That requirement has reportedly scared away at least one school, Missouri.

But UW officials said they think they can make it work financially.

The tournament gained credibility last week when it announced a deal with Fox College Sports to televise 11 games (games will also be aired on FSN affiliates).

Another plum is that teams could play as many as six games (the final is a best-of-three series).

Washington officials aren't holding out much hope for a bid from the NIT, which is likely to take California and may be forced to take another Pac-10 team, such as Arizona State, depending on what the NCAA tournament does.

The CBI field will be determined Sunday afternoon after the NCAA field is unveiled. If UW were selected as a host, it would play a game at Edmundson Pavilion on Tuesday or Wednesday night. Second-round games will be March 24, the semifinals March 26 and the finals on March 31, April 2 and, if necessary, April 4.

Bob Condotta: 206-515-5699 or

Copyright © 2008 The Seattle Times Company

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