For many programs, it does not matter where you play in the postseason as long as there are competitive games. This is what the College Basketball Invitational is all about as 16 teams try to end their season on a high note.
In the six-year history of the CBI, the tournament has featured a number of quality squads that were able to build off their success in the tournament. Three of the last four champions (VCU, Oregon and Pittsburgh) are in the 2014 NCAA tournament field while VCU went to the Final Four a year after competing in the CBI.
A number of teams would like to replicate this feat, but first they must work on their game. Those with young squads could use these next three weeks to greatly improve and gain some momentum heading into next season.
Of course, everyone enters the tournament with the same mindset, so this should be a competitive few rounds of basketball. Here is a look at what to expect from the first day of action.
|2014 College Basketball Invitational Round 1 Schedule|
|March 18||Stony Brook at Siena||7 p.m.|
|March 19||Hampton at Penn State||7 p.m.|
|March 19||South Dakota State at Old Dominion||7 p.m.|
|March 19||Princeton at Tulane||8 p.m.|
|March 19||Wyoming at Texas A&M||8 p.m.|
|March 19||Morehead State at Illinois State||8 p.m.|
|March 19||Fresno State at UTEP||9 p.m.|
|March 19||Radford at Oregon State||10 p.m.|
Here is a full look at the bracket, courtesy of GazelleGroup.com. There will be no television coverage of the event until the quarterfinals, which will be featured on CBS Sports Network and streamed on CBSSports.com.
Day 1 Preview
Stony Brook at Siena
In the last five seasons, Stony Brook has earned a regular-season America East title three times and finished in second once. Unfortunately, the squad has still never won the conference tournament, the one thing needed to get a bid to the NCAA tournament.
This year, the Seawolves once again fell just short with a loss to Albany in the finals on their home court.
Still, head coach Steve Pikiell is excited about the opportunity ahead, via Newsday:
We are happy to be selected for a postseason bid for the third consecutive season. It's a great reward for winning the second-most games in our program's Division I history. We look forward to competing against Siena and hope to continue our successful season.
Stony Brook utilizes a balanced attack with four players averaging double figures. Sophomores Carson Puriefoy and Jameel Warney create a top inside-out combination while seniors Anthony Jackson and Dave Coley provide leadership and big-time scoring when needed.
On the other hand, Siena will counter with a quality defense that allows 101.9 points per 100 possessions, according to KenPom.com. This mark is comparable to national title contenders like Duke (101.4), Michigan (101.6) and Creighton (102.5).
The team made great strides this season, improving from 8-24 last year to 15-17 under first-year coach Jimmy Patsos. The longtime Maryland assistant coached Loyola (Md.) for nine seasons and reached the NCAA tournament once before moving on to Siena.
Patsos has clearly made an impact in his first season, and Jon Rothstein of CBS Sports notes the team's improvements:
However, the team will not have enough scoring to handle Stony Brook in this matchup. The Seawolves know how to score, and they know how to finish games with 23 wins on the season.
Even though Siena will be home for this one, the road team will be able to pull out a quality victory and advance to the next round.
Prediction: Stony Brook 72, Siena 64
Follow Rob Goldberg on Twitter for the latest breaking news and analysis.