CBI 2013: What to Watch for in Quarterfinals Next Week

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CBI 2013: What to Watch for in Quarterfinals Next Week
Rafael Suanes-USA TODAY Sports

Now that the quarterfinals are set in the 2013 College Basketball Invitational, there are some interesting things to eye next week.

Featuring schools such as George Mason, Wyoming and Santa Clara the CBI quarterfinals present impressive talent that cannot get overlooked. That's just the beginning when it comes to what's in store when Monday's action tips off.

To that end, let's take an early glimpse at the quarterfinals and see what we can expect.

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Does George Mason Have the Momentum to Make a Run?

Don't underestimate the tenacity of the George Mason Patriots.

During the regular season, they logged key wins over James Madison twice and Virginia. Include nail-biting losses to Bucknell, New Mexico and Maryland, and the Patriots know how to hang with tough opponents.

Leading into the CBI, though, George Mason was 1-3 in its final four games. Fortunately, the Patriots edged past Charleston by one point. The Cougars were no easy task after finishing 24-10 (14-4) before the CBI in the Southern Conference.

So, will the Patriots be able to build momentum? Or does this emotional victory resonate into next week? Having six days off between contests will be quite telling.

 

Is Wyoming's Battle-Tested Schedule an Advantage Later on?

Troy Babbitt-USA TODAY Sports

The Wyoming Cowboys compete in the Mountain West Conference, and it turned out to be one of the best this season. Six schools won 20-plus games, which displays excellent depth for a mid-major.

By the same token, however, Wyoming was on the back end of the conference despite hitting 20 victories: It went 4-12 in conference play.

The bright side comes from having played a rugged schedule and getting nice wins over Colorado and San Diego State. This definitely paid off in Round 1 of the CBI, because the Cowboys slipped past Lehigh 67-66.

To put this win in perspective, the Mountain Hawks were a No. 15 seed last year in March Madness and upset the Duke Blue Devils. As for this year, Lehigh entered the CBI with a 21-9 record and nearly upset the VCU Rams on the road.

The Cowboys simply toughed it out and it'll be fascinating to check out their performance in the quarterfinals.

 

Make Sure to Keep a Close Eye on Santa Clara's Potential

Mark Dolejs-USA TODAY Sports

Santa Clara won against Vermont rather convincingly 77-67 earlier this week.

But it should not come as a surprise either. The Broncos compete in the West Coast Conference and had to face schools such as Gonzaga and Saint Mary's.

Santa Clara was a rough challenge for opponents this year by going 21-11, including a November win over Saint Louis leading into the CBI. Although the Broncos failed to defeat the Zags or Gaels, this competition along with having played Duke gives Santa Clara immense confidence from preparation.

The Broncos dish the rock around nicely, so the potential to get an opponent on its heels resides. It's now just a matter of remaining consistent and suffocating better defensively.

Full view of the 2013 CBI Schedule

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