Friday, December 4, 2015

There's a new postseason tournament

Yes, that means we have FIVE postseason tournaments this year.

I won't regurgitate the info here, but the gist is this:  a 16-team tournament, but all played on a neutral site (Vegas, naturally).

What does this mean?  Actually more than you think.

NCAA as the #1 tournament and NIT as the #2 tournament will stay that way forever.

Right now we have the CBI (16 teams) and CIT (32 teams) to cover additional postseason needs.  CBI seems to cater to higher-major teams, and the CIT actively avoids anyone who's not a mid-major.  However, both charge a fee to any team that hosts a game in their tournament.  This, plus the general stigma of playing in a marginal postseason tournament, leads some teams to decline postseason bids.

The new Vegas 16 is a neutral site game, and is a 5 day commitment.  The CBI/CIT may require home games, and a 2-3 week commitment.  You will see some teams choose Vegas over the CBI/CIT because of the less commitment required.  My guess is you'll see more mid-majors stay in the CIT where they can play at home and in front of fans, while more high-majors head to Vegas for a one-off.

A big key here is the different format - some programs will like the idea of a single-elimination tournament beginning and ending in the same week instead of over 3 weeks, and just one neutral site location instead of fluid travel plans.

The one obstacle?  Before this year, 148 teams made the postseason out of 351 in D-1.  Adding this, 148 bumps up to 164.  That's a lot of teams, and the ends of all 3 fields (Vegas, CBI, CIT) might be weak.

Who will this hurt?  Likely the CBI.  High-major teams that would usually choose the CBI will likely choose Vegas instead.  I wouldn't be surprised if the CBI dies next year, or even this year.  I think the CIT will remain as is for the foreseeable future.  The CIT specifically caters itself to the low-majors.  They know their market, and they serve it well enough.

Having the Vegas 16 is overkill, unless it successfully kills off the CBI.

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