CBI 2014: Schedule and Bracket Predictions for Semifinals

Brian MaziqueCorrespondent IIIMarch 26, 2014

Dec 1, 2013; Orlando, FL, USA; Siena Saints guard Marquis Wright (1) passes the ball against the Purdue Boilermakers during the first half at ESPN Wide World of Sports. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Four teams are one win away from the Championship Series in the College Basketball Invitational, aka the CBI.

Illinois State will take on Siena, and Old Dominion clashes with Fresno State on Wednesday night. One of the things that sets the CBI apart from the NCAA tournament and the NIT is that the final two teams compete in a best-of-three series to determine the champion.

That brings an intriguing dynamic to the event.

Here's a look at Wednesday's schedule and predictions for both games. Also, click here to see the most updated bracket from The Gazelle Group, the primary sponsor of the tournament.

CBI Schedule and Viewing Information
Old Dominion vs. Fresno State10 p.m. ET
Illinois State vs. Siena7 p.m. ET


Illinois State Redbirds' Struggles on the Road Will Continue

Dec 1, 2013; Orlando, FL, USA; Atlanta Falcons punter Matt Bosher (5) reacts after he made a basket in the act of fouling and shoots and one \P| during the second half at ESPN Wide World of Sports. Purdue Boilermakers defeated the Siena Saints 68-63. Mand
Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

If the Redbirds played all of their games in Normal, Ill., the team would probably have been invited to the NCAA tournament. Unfortunately, that isn't the case. After enjoying home cooking in the first two games of the CBI, Illinois State has to hit the road and that's where things haven't gone well for the team.

Away from home, the Redbirds are just 3-10.

With both Illinois State and Siena's rosters filled with young players (neither team has a senior), playing and winning on the road is difficult. 

The Saints already proved to be too tough for the Penn State Nittany Lions at home in the quarterfinals. It's hard to imagine the Redbirds succeeding where Penn State could not.

Siena has experienced one of the most dramatic turnarounds in men's college basketball this season.

The CBI isn't at the top of the postseason college hoops tournament pyramid, but for a team that won just 25 percent of its games in 2013, making it to the tournament's semifinals is a big deal.

The Catch and Shoot echoes those sentiments:

Siena's talented freshman Marquis Wright leads the MAAC in assists with 5.4 per game. His dribble penetration against the Illinois State zone will help to open up shooters on the wings.

In a hostile environment like the Times Union Center in Albany, N.Y., the Redbirds youngsters will fold on the road as they have all season.


Turnovers and Poor Free Throw Shooting Will Doom Old Dominion

Dec 14, 2013; Berkeley, CA, USA; Fresno State Bulldogs guard Tyler Johnson (1) reacts after the Bulldogs recorded a basket against the California Golden Bears in the second half at Haas Pavilion. The Golden Bears defeated the Bulldogs 67-56. Mandatory Cre
Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports

As was discussed in the previous preview, winning on the road is hard. Matters become more difficult when the road team struggles to make free throws and doesn't take care of the ball.

The Old Dominion Monarchs have these issues.

Coming into the game ODU is making just 62 percent of its free throws as a team, and turning the ball over 13.1 times. On top of those statistics, the Monarchs are just 5-8 on the road.

The biggest issue is likely to be the free throw problems. The Monarchs' worst free-throw shooters are players who play significant minutes. 

Richard Ross (49.6), Keenan Taylor (56.8) and Denzell Taylor (36.2) all play at least 26 minutes per game, but none of them makes as much as 57 percent of their free throws. That's a bad look heading into a road game in a tournament format.

Via his Twitter account, Fresno State head coach Rodney Terry thanked the crowd and urged them to provide support on Wednesday. 

The Bulldogs faithful and their players should be out in full force against ODU.

Look for Tyler Johnson, Paul Watson and Marvelle Harris to bomb freely from beyond the arc. The trio is a combined 10-for-22 from deep in the CBI. Their marksmanship and ODU's deficiencies will land Fresno State in the finals.


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