Monday, March 14, 2016

Vegas 16/CBI/CIT fields

This whole thing ended up being an adventure, but it looks like we finally have fields for all 3 of these shindigs.

Vegas 16:
Tennessee Tech vs. Old Dominion
UC-Santa Barbara vs. Northern Illinois
Oakland vs. Towson
Louisiana Tech vs. East Tennessee St

So, the Vegas 16 has 8.  HA.  Turns out all those high-majors they wanted...everyone turned them down.  Everyone.  I had speculated that this was the most likely tournament to attract the high-majors, and no one bit.  They had to go to 8 teams because they couldn't find more.  It's pretty damning for the future of this tournament, which I don't think is viable without those big boys.  Well, it could be viable if the CBI/CIT didn't exist, perhaps.  But otherwise, this might be a one-and-done.  They failed to get the types of teams they wanted.

As for the actual 8 teams?  Deserving.  It's not a bad field.  All 8 are certainly deserving of the postseason from a profile perspective.

Jackson St vs. Sam Houston St
South Carolina St vs. Grand Canyon
Mercer vs. Coastal Carolina
Louisiana-Monroe vs. Furman
Ball St vs. Tennessee Tech
UT-Arlington vs. Savannah St
Boston vs. Fordham
Norfolk St vs. Columbia
New Hampshire vs. Fairfield
Tennesse-Martin vs. Central Michigan
Army vs. NJIT
UC-Irvine vs. North Dakota
Texas A&M-Corpus Christi vs. Louisiana-Lafayette

Now, if you know how to can count to 26 teams.  Not 32.  The CIT could not fill a full field, and they don't need to look any further to Vegas, who siphoned off 8 teams who otherwise would've fit the CIT profile.  I would have thought, for all the world, that it would be the CBI that would suffer.

Since they didn't fill the full field, I can't be critical of any selection.  Army and NoDak, and maybe one or two of the HBCUs would've been marginal postseason picks in a normal year, but I can't criticize their inclusion in a year with only 26 teams.

Morehead St vs. Siena
Omaha vs. Duquesne
Western Carolina vs. Vermont
Albany vs. Ohio
Houston Baptist vs. UNC-Greensboro
Montana vs. Nevada
Pepperdine vs. Eastern Washington
Idaho vs. Seattle

Naturally, the CBI didn't get hurt while the other two got hurt.  I had predicted the exact opposite.  I really do wonder why teams preferred the CBI over the CIT.  Maybe these teams were expecting a few upper-majors to play.  Of course, none of them showed up.

Now, here, there's some questionable selections.  Seattle is 12-16 (7-7 WAC) with a RPI of 287.  Greensboro is 11-18 (10-8 SoCon) with a RPI of 237.  Western Carolina is 13-17 (10-8 SoCon), albeit with a tolerable RPI.  Duquesne is under .500 against D-1 competition.  There are some flagrant selections here.  Absolutely flagrant.

As it turns out, if you remove those 4 teams, plus 4 out of the back end of the CIT, and insert the Vegas have two pretty decent postseasons.  Instead, we have 3 marginal tournaments.

The lessons:
1) The majors have checked out.  No one simply wants to play 'em.  The Big 8 conferences don't, with the lone exceptions of Duquesne/Fordham, who don't get many chances.  The Mountain West had an avalanche of available teams, yet only Nevada accepted (and Nevada is on the rise and hasn't been a postseason team in awhile).  The MVC is skipping them all.  Seems like those 10 conferences, in general, are taking a collective stand.  That can be a problem.

2) I think the CIT may need either the Vegas to die, or to pare down to 16.  In the beginning, it was a great way for teams to finally make the postseason, as many of the small-majors had just their conference tournament every year as an option otherwise.  However, a few years in, with so many teams finally getting their feet wet, it's no longer a novelty.  Sure, there'll always be a few teams who've never played the postseason, or haven't played in awhile, but that list of candidates is slowly fading away as, year after year, a few teams leap off that list.  It's a simple case of attrition.

We'll see what happens going forward.

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