The CBI Basketball Tournament: A Gateway to Postseason Glory

Morgan Wolf

CBI Stand for in Basketball

As the final buzzer sounds on the NCAA March Madness tournament, basketball fans eagerly anticipate the thrilling culmination of the college basketball season. 

However, the excitement doesn’t end there. While the attention shifts to the NCAA Tournament’s grand stage, another postseason tournament quietly takes center stage: the College Basketball Invitational (CBI) Tournament. 

In this article, we will explore what the CBI stands for in basketball and delve into the details of this exciting tournament. So, stay focused. 

What Does CBI Stand for in Basketball?

CBI stands for College Basketball Invitational, which is a postseason tournament in college basketball. This section provides an overview of the CBI and its purpose in the basketball landscape.

The College Basketball Invitational (CBI) is a tournament that includes college basketball teams that were not chosen to participate in either the NCAA Tournament or the National Invitation Tournament (NIT). 

The CBI offers an additional opportunity for these teams to continue playing after the regular season.

The CBI serves several purposes for college basketball teams that did not receive invitations to the NCAA Tournament or the NIT. This section highlights the main objectives of the tournament.

What Is CBI Basketball Tournament?

What Is CBI Basketball Tournament?


The CBI Basketball Tournament is an annual single-elimination basketball tournament that occurs after the conclusion of the NCAA Tournament. 

Created in 2007 by the Gazelle Group, a sports marketing firm, the tournament offers college basketball teams additional postseason opportunities. 

In this section, we will explore the tournament’s format, purpose, and team selection process.

Tournament Format

The CBI Basketball Tournament follows a single-elimination format, meaning that teams are eliminated from the tournament after a single loss. 

The tournament typically consists of 16 teams, providing an exciting opportunity for programs that did not qualify for other prestigious postseason tournaments like the NCAA Tournament or the National Invitation Tournament (NIT).

Purpose and Objectives

The main objective of the CBI Basketball Tournament is to extend the postseason experience for college basketball teams beyond the NCAA Tournament and NIT. 

By providing additional competition, the tournament aims to offer players, coaches, and fans an opportunity to extend their season and showcase their skills.

The tournament also serves as a platform for teams to gain valuable experience and exposure, especially for programs that may not have had the chance to participate in other postseason events. 

It allows these teams to compete against other talented programs, enhance their reputation, and attract attention from fans, media, and potential recruits.

Team Selection Process

The CBI Basketball Tournament selects its participating teams from a pool of eligible college basketball programs. 

The selection committee, composed of basketball experts, evaluates teams based on various factors, including their regular season performance, strength of schedule, conference standings, and overall team quality. 

While the exact criteria may vary from year to year, the committee aims to select a diverse and competitive field of teams.

History of CBI Basketball Tournament

History of CBI Basketball Tournament


The inaugural CBI tournament took place in 2008 and has since grown in popularity and prestige. 

The first champion was the Tulsa Golden Hurricane, who defeated the Bradley Braves in a best-of-three series. 

Over the years, the tournament has featured a diverse range of teams from various conferences, showcasing the depth and competitiveness of college basketball beyond the NCAA Tournament.

Teams Selection for CBI Basketball Tournament

The CBI (College Basketball Invitational) tournament is an annual postseason college basketball tournament that invites teams to compete for a championship. 

The selection process for the CBI tournament involves careful consideration of various factors to ensure a competitive and exciting tournament. 

This section will elaborate on the key factors and criteria used in selecting teams for the CBI tournament.

Performance during the Regular Season

One of the primary factors in team selection for the CBI tournament is the performance of teams during the regular season. 

The selection committee closely evaluates teams’ records, taking into account their wins, losses, and overall winning percentage. 

Teams with a solid record and consistent performance throughout the season are more likely to receive an invitation to the tournament.

Strength of Schedule

The strength of the schedule is another crucial factor in the selection process. The committee examines the level of competition faced by each team during the regular season. 

Teams that have played against strong opponents and faced challenging non-conference schedules are given additional consideration. 

This factor helps ensure that the selected teams have faced tough competition, preparing them for the intensity of the tournament.

Competitiveness and Improvement

In addition to a team’s overall record, the selection committee closely evaluates the competitiveness and improvement demonstrated by teams throughout the season. 

They look for teams that have shown improvement over time, perhaps overcoming early struggles or injuries to perform strongly later in the season. 

Such teams are often considered valuable additions to the tournament as they possess the potential to make a deep run and provide thrilling matchups.

Additional Criteria Considered

In addition to the aforementioned factors, the selection committee may also take into account other criteria when choosing teams for the CBI tournament. These criteria may include:

Fan Base and Marketability

The committee considers the fan base and marketability of teams when making selections. 

Teams with a large and passionate fan base, capable of generating excitement and attendance at the tournament games, may receive favorable consideration.

Geographical Diversity

To ensure a diverse representation of teams from different regions, the selection committee may also consider geographical factors. 

They strive to include teams from various conferences and regions to promote the tournament’s appeal to a wide range of fans.

Previous Tournament Performances

While not a decisive factor, the committee may consider teams’ past performances in the CBI tournament. 

Teams that have shown success in previous tournaments or have a history of deep runs may be more likely to receive an invitation.

Significance of CBI Basketball Tournament

The CBI Basketball Tournament is a collegiate postseason tournament that holds significant significance for the participating teams, players, and coaches. 

It provides a platform for teams to extend their season beyond the regular season and compete for a championship. 

Here, we will explore the various aspects that make the CBI Basketball Tournament significant and valuable for all involved parties.

Extended Season and Championship Opportunity

One of the key significances of the CBI Basketball Tournament is that it allows teams to continue playing beyond the regular season. 

While only a limited number of teams qualify for the NCAA Tournament and NIT, the CBI Tournament provides an opportunity for additional teams to showcase their skills and compete for a championship. 

This extension of the season is highly valuable for players, coaches, and fans, as it prolongs the excitement and intensity of college basketball.

Valuable Postseason Experience

Participating in the CBI Tournament offers teams, especially those that may not have made it to other prominent postseason tournaments, the chance to gain valuable postseason experience. 

Playing in a tournament setting, facing different opponents, and dealing with the pressure of elimination games helps players and coaches develop their skills and strategies further. 

This experience can be crucial for the growth and development of the team, as they gain insights into performing under high-stakes situations.

Exposure and Showcasing Talent

The CBI Tournament provides teams with an opportunity to gain exposure and showcase their talent on a national stage. 

While the NCAA Tournament and NIT attract a larger audience, the CBI Tournament still garners attention from basketball enthusiasts and media outlets. 

By participating in the tournament and performing well, teams can attract attention from scouts, coaches, and fans, potentially leading to increased recognition and opportunities for their players. 

This exposure can be particularly beneficial for players looking to continue their basketball careers professionally.

Momentum Building for the Following Season

The CBI Tournament serves as a springboard for teams to build momentum and set a positive trajectory for the following season. A strong showing in the tournament can boost team morale, generate excitement within the program, and create a sense of belief and confidence in the players. 

The experience gained and success achieved in the tournament can serve as a stepping stone toward future success, motivating players to work harder and strive for higher goals in subsequent seasons.


How are the teams selected for the CBI Basketball Tournament?

The selection committee considers a team’s regular-season performance, strength of schedule, and potential for success in the tournament. 

They look for teams that have demonstrated improvement throughout the season and possess the competitiveness to make a deep run.

How many teams participate in the CBI Basketball Tournament?

The CBI tournament typically features 16 teams, chosen from a pool of eligible programs that were not selected for the NCAA Tournament or the NIT.

How is the tournament format structured?

The CBI tournament follows a single-elimination format, with teams competing in a series of games until a champion is crowned. The higher-seeded team hosts each game throughout the tournament.

What is the significance of the CBI Basketball Tournament for mid-major programs?

The CBI provides mid-major programs with an opportunity to showcase their talent on a national stage, gain exposure, and build momentum for the following season. 

It allows these programs to compete against other talented teams and potentially secure a postseason championship.

Has any team won both the CBI Basketball Tournament and the NCAA Tournament?

As of the current knowledge cutoff in 2021, no team has won both the CBI Basketball Tournament and the NCAA Tournament in the same year.

Bottom Line

The College Basketball Invitational (CBI) Tournament offers an exciting platform for college basketball teams that didn’t receive bids to the NCAA Tournament or the NIT. 

It provides an opportunity for these teams to extend their season, gain valuable postseason experience, and compete for a championship title. 

With a rich history and a selection process that considers competitiveness and potential, the CBI tournament showcases the depth and competitiveness of college basketball beyond the major postseason tournaments. 

It is a platform for both established programs and mid-major teams to shine and make their mark on the national stage. Best wishes. 

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Morgan Wolf

Journalist with experience covering the intersection of sports with business. Demonstrated expertise in digital, video and social media content covering major sports including soccer, NBA, NFL, MLB, tennis and Olympic sports. But basketball is his passion. Specialties: expert for sports related content management LinkedIn