Enter the College Basketball Invitational.
The fledgling post season tournament has provided a third opportunity for schools to play postseason basketball, and it was an opportunity Miami was happy to take.
"When you have a senior like Tim Pollitz, and you can extend his career, you embrace the opportunity," said Miami Athletic Director Brad Bates. "The reaction of the coaches and the players was very satisfying."
And while the end result, a berth in the 16-team tournament, was satisfying, the process of getting there was anything but. Miami was one of the last teams to learn of their invitation to the CBI, despite appearing to have the necessary credentials to get in.
"If you look at RPI, we would be one of the first teams in," said Bates. "However, there is certainly an economic aspect to this tournament. The organizers were probably looking for balance; a balance of economics and competitiveness."
Competitiveness hasn't been a problem for Miami all year. They hold wins over NCAA tournament participants Xavier, South Alabama, Mississippi State, as well as Big 10 runner up Illinois. There were also close losses to the likes of USC, Louisville, Dayton.
However, economics might be tough for a school that only averaged just north of 2500 attendees for home games this season. This because the CBI was asking home teams in the tournament to guarantee $60,000 in ticket sales, or pay off what isn't covered by purchased tickets.
Said Bates, "The hardest part for us was spring break. We would have counted on students for a lot of ticket sales."
As it is, the RedHawks play their first round game on the road, at Conference USA runner up Tulsa. However, the prospect of future home games is there, as soon as the second round if Miami beats Tulsa and Utah wins at UTEP.
While Bates acknowledges that negotiations are likely to occur with the CBI, and its parent company, The Gazelle Group, before Miami plays at the familiar confines of Millett Hall, credit to the Miami AD for never wavering in his desire to play in the tournament.
"When you get the opportunity to play more games, you have to jump at it," said Bates.