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Postseason Basketball 101: NIT, CBI, CIT, oh my!

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TCU will learn its postseason fate this evening, but first let's take a look at the potential tournament destinations for the Frogs.

Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

The TCU Horned Frogs finished the regular season with a 17-14 record before going 1-1 in the Big 12 Tournament. That puts TCU at 18-15, firmly on the NIT bubble. The Frogs will be sweating it out tonight during the NIT Selection Show. TCU has a decent shot to get in to the field, but even if they don't, the season might not be over. Let's take a look at a couple of the potential postseason destinations for the Frogs.

National Invitation Tournament (NIT)

The NIT is definitely the most prestigious of the non-NCAA Tournament postseason destinations. The NIT was founded in 1938 and, under its current format, invites 32 teams to participate each year. The top seeds have the opportunity to host games at their campus venues, but the national semifinals and championship game are played at Madison Square Garden.

Prior to 2007, the NIT was run by an independent third party and invited 40 teams. However, in 2007, the NCAA took control of the event and made a few changes. The biggest change was that the field was contracted from 40 to 32 teams. Additionally, the NCAA removed an old rule stating that a team must have a winning record to participate. Despite the rule change, no team with a losing record has ever been invited to join the field.

There are two new rules changes for 2015. After the NCAA Tournament field is revealed, the "First Four Out" will be announced. These four teams will be the four #1 seeds in the NIT and have the opportunity to host up until the national semifinals. Also in 2015, the Tournament will utilize a 30-second shot clock and feature a wide restricted circle under the basket. The NCAA hopes to gain valuable information from these rule changes in an effort to increase pace of play in the regular season.

The NIT awards automatic bids to teams that win their conference in the regular season but fail to earn an automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament through their conference tournament. As of this morning, 12 teams have earned bids this way:

Team

Conference

Bucknell

Patriot League

California-Davis

Big West Conference

Central Michigan

Mid-American Conference

Charleston-Southern

Big South Conference

Iona

Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference

Louisiana Tech

Conference USA

Montana

Big Sky Conference

Murray State

Ohio Valley Conference

North Carolina Central

Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference

Saint Francis - New York

Northeast Conference

South Dakota State

Summit League

William & Mary

Colonial Athletic Association

That would leave 20 potential spots for TCU. As was mentioned previously, the Frogs are securely on the NIT bubble. Past data certainly suggests that TCU could get in, but it's going to be close. Since the format changes in 2007, the Big 12 has received 13 NIT bids. The average record of these 13 teams heading into the event was 19-13. The Big 12 has gotten three teams with similar records as TCU into the event, with the 2010 Texas Tech Red Raiders being the most similar. That squad finished 17-15 in the regular season and 4-12 in Big 12 play.

Big 12 Appearances in the NIT (Since 2007)

Year

Seed

School

Overall Record

Big 12 Record

2007

2

Kansas State

22-11

10-6

2007

2

Oklahoma State

22-12

6-10

2008

3

Nebraska

19-12

7-9

2008

5

Oklahoma State

17-15

7-9

2009

3

Baylor

20-14

5-11

2009

4

Kansas State

21-11

9-7

2009

6

Nebraska

18-12

8-8

2010

5

Texas Tech

17-15

4-12

2011

1

Colorado

21-13

8-8

2011

3

Oklahoma State

19-13

6-10

2011

5

Nebraska

19-12

7-9

2013

2

Baylor

18-14

9-9

2014

5

West Virginia

17-15

9-9

The Frogs have been to the NIT six times in program history, most recently in 2005. All-time, TCU is 9-6 in the Tournament, advancing to the Quarterfinals three different times. The NIT Selection Show is tonight at 7:30pm on ESPN. Until then, it's going to be an anxious waiting game for the Frogs.

College Basketball Invitational (CBI)

The CBI is an independent postseason tournament that was founded in 2007 and is run by the Gazelle Group. The CBI invites 16 teams that were left out of both the NCAA and NIT fields. The Tournament uses a single-elimination bracket format up until the Championship, in which a best-of-three series is used to crown a winner. The top seeds are given the opportunity to host the early rounds, then in the Championship Series, the higher seed gets to host the first and third game while the lower seed hosts the second game.

The CBI recently announced that it would also be using a 30-second shot clock and wider restricted circle in 2015, just like the NIT.

Since the first CBI in 2008, 16 different power conference schools have participated. 11 of those 16 schools entered the event with a record at or below 0.500. Texas is the only Big 12 team ever to participate in the event, in 2010. That year, the Longhorns finished with a 16-17 record overall and a 7-11 mark in conference play.

Power Conference Teams in the CBI

Year

School

Record

Conference

Conf. Record

2008

Cincinnati

13-18

Big East

8-10

2008

Virginia

15-15

ACC

9-7

2008

Washington

16-16

Pac-12

7-11

2009

Oregon State

13-17

Pac-12

8-11

2009

Stanford

18-13

Pac-12

8-11

2009

St. John's

16-17

Big East

6-12

2010

Oregon State

14-17

Pac-12

8-10

2011

Oregon

16-17

Pac-12

7-11

2012

Oregon State

19-14

Pac-12

7-11

2012

Pittsburgh

19-11

Big East

5-13

2012

Washington State

15-16

Pac-12

7-11

2013

Texas

16-17

Big 12

7-11

2013

Purdue

15-17

Big Ten

8-10

2014

Oregon State

16-15

Pac-12

8-10

2014

Penn State

15-17

Big Ten

6-12

2014

Texas A&M

17-15

SEC

8-10

Based on this data, the Frogs certainly have accomplished enough to warrant an invitation to the event. However, it is important to note that not all teams that are invited actually accept the invitations. In the past, Maryland and Texas Tech declined invitations. Several similar programs, including Michigan, Indiana, Kansas State, and Northwestern, have already announced that they will not accept invitations to this year's CBI.

It is hard to determine where the TCU coaching staff and Athletic Department stand on the issue, but here are a couple of things to keep in mind: the CBI is a pay-for-play tournament. The teams that accept their invitations are charged a fee to participate. Additionally, should the Frogs receive an invitation, they will likely be one of the top-seeds in the event, meaning that they would get to host games. Since a return to Wilkerson-Greines seems somewhat unlikely, TCU could either decline their opportunity to host, or decline their invitation altogether.

However, the Frogs did earn and accept an invitation in 2012, hosting a first round contest against Milwaukee. TCU later fell to Oregon State in the Quarterfinals in what was their only appearance in the event. The good news here is that TCU and the CBI are familiar with each other, so that bodes well as far as earning (and accepting) a bid is concerned.

The CBI field will be announced later tonight, after the NCAA and NIT fields are revealed.

CollegeInsider.com Postseason Tournament (CIT)

Finally, the CIT is a 32-team tournament founded in 2009 and run by CollegeInsider.com. The CIT uses a single-elimination format and does not allow teams with losing records to participate. Unlike the CBI and NIT, the CIT focuses exclusively on mid-major teams. In fact, no power conference team has ever participated in the event. That's not to say that one won't be invited, but it has never happened before.

Also unlike the NIT and CBI, the CIT has already invited teams and has begun to fill out their bracket. As of today, 22 of the 32 spots have been filled, and it does not look like TCU will occupy one of the remaining 10.

2015 CIT Field (22 of 32 Spots Filled)

Team

Conference

Bowling Green

Mid-American Conference

Canisius

Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference

Cleveland State

Horizon League

Dartmouth

Ivy League

Eastern Illinois

Ohio Valley Conference

Eastern Kentucky

Ohio Valley Conference

Evansville

Missouri Valley Conference

Florida Gulf Coast

Atlantic Sun Conference

Incarnate Word

Southland Conference

Indiana-Purdue-Fort Wayne

Summit League

James Madison

Colonial Athletic Association

New Hampshire

America East Conference

New Jersey Institute of Technology

NCAA Division I Independent

Norfolk State

Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference

Northwestern State

Southland Conference

Oakland

Horizon League

Portland

West Coast Conference

Saint Francis - Pennsylvania

Northeast Conference

South Carolina - Upstate

Atlantic Sun Conference

Tennessee - Martin

Ohio Valley Conference

Texas A&M - Corups Christi

Southland Conference

Western Michigan

Mid-American Conference

If the Frogs do not earn an NIT bid and if the school declines a CBI invitation, the potential exists that the 2014-2015 TCU basketball season could be over. Right now, the best bet for postseason play is likely for the Frogs to sneak into the NIT as an at-large team, only because it is unknown whether or not TCU would accept their CBI invitation.

The program hasn't been in this situation very often recently, so sit back, and enjoy a meaningful Selection Sunday!