Just after Auburn's 93-82 SEC Tournament loss to the Vanderbilt Commodores on Thursday, Auburn was contacted by officials from the new College Basketball Invitational about the possibility of playing in the event.
Auburn coach Jeff Lebo, who learned about the development after seeing his team drop to 14-16 on the season with a fifth straight loss, said in theory he liked the idea of continuing the season. However, on Saturday, Auburn officials were told that the Tigers are not under consideration for a bid.
"To me, anytime you can play it is a good thing," Lebo said. However, the coach noted he has questions about the Collegiate Basketball Invitational and he isn't alone.
"There are a lot of questions coaches have on how this is actually going to work," he stated. "I have got a lot of questions. I don't think it is going to be a factor for us, but what if you have got a road game in the NIT and then you got a home game in that (Collegiate Basketball Invitational). You have got to pick one, but which one are you going to go to?
"Say you have to go to South Alabama for the NIT vs. a home game in this thing vs. Georgia Tech," Lebo added. "I think they are competing with each other. Like a lot of coaches, we are trying to figure it out as we go."
A team has to pick between the NIT and the new tournament if invited by both events. Lebo notes that now the NCAA owns the NIT, there is a school of thought among coaches that it would be unwise to shun the NIT if there is an option to play in that tournament or the new one. "They have got some interesting things they have got to work through here with both tournaments competing for people," Lebo said.
The Auburn coach said that he believes teams will accept bids to the NIT over the new tournament because of questions on how the new event will be run. "As much as they would like to say they are competing with it (NIT), I don't know if they are yet until they get themselves established."
Lebo noted he isn't sure of the financial details of the new event, but believes there is revenue sharing of the home team's gate, but the home team must guarantee $60,000 to the National Basketball Invitational.
"There are 16 teams in the new tournament and the finals of it is a best two out of three, which is interesting," Lebo said of the Collegiate Basketball Invitational. "I think they are going to re-seed it after every round."