Men’s Hoops: To be continued (3/17)

By and

Updated 3/17 @ 8:03 a.m.

The Runnin’ Utes first season under head coach Jim Boylen isn’t over yet.

The U men’s basketball team started their season a little earlier than most in preparation for a 12-day, six-game trip to Australia last August and it turns out the season will be extended a little longer than some expected.

On Sunday, the Utes accepted a bid to the inaugural College Basketball Invitational (CBI) and will travel to El Paso, Texas to take on its former WAC crony, the UTEP Miners.

The CBI is yet another tournament that adds to the already exciting month of March in college basketball.

The NCAA Tournament — which decides the national champion — selects 65 teams as part of its annual festivities. The National Invitational Tournament, or NIT, selects 32 teams that were not selected as part of the NCAA’s 65. The CBI was created by the Princeton N.J., based The Gazelle Group, who already has experience running two preseason college basketball tournaments.

The CBI is a 16-team tournament that will compete with the NIT for teams that did not get selected to play in the NCAA Tournament.

The CBI will use the same criteria-record and Rating Percentage Index (RPI) that the NCAA and NIT use to select its field of competition.

Like the NCAA and NIT, the CBI will use four brackets based on geography. Each bracket will be made up for four teams with the winner of each bracket going on to play in a four-team final bracket.

The CBI will be a single elimination tournament through the semifinal round of play, but unlike the other two tournaments, the CBI will feature a three-game Championship Series between the final two teams in order to determine the tournament’s champion. Each team will play on its home floor, with a third game being played on the higher seed’s home floor if necessary.

Utah will play UTEP as a part of the South Region’s opening round. A win over the Miners would pit the Utes against the winner of the region’s other first round game between Tulsa and Miami (Ohio).

Once the winner of each region is decided, the four teams will be reseeded for the semifinals.

UTEP enters the CBI with a 19-13 record after losing a 64-62 overtime decision to Tulsa in the semifinals of the Conference-USA Tournament.

The Opening round for the 16-team field is as follows:

West:Valparaiso (21-13) at Washington (16-16) 3/19 @ 7 p.m. MSTHouston (22-9) at Nevada (21-11) 3/19 @ 7 p.m. MST

East:Richmond (16-14) at Virginia (15-15) 3/18 @ 5 p.m. MSTRider (23-10) at Old Dominion (17-15) 3/18 @ TBD

South:Utah (17-13) at UTEP (19-13) 3/19 @ TBDMiami, OH (17-15) at Tulsa (20-13) 3/19 @ TBD

Midwest:Cincinnati (13-18) at Bradley ( 17-15) 3/19 @ 5 p.m. MSTBrown (19-9) at Ohio (19-12) 3/18 @ TBD

Courtesy of The Gazelle Group

The CBI was formed this year in an effort to extend the field of post-season college basketball teams from 97 to 113 teams.