Getting to the know the CBI

FORGET THE NCAA Tourney and the NIT. For the Cougar Nation, all eyes should be directed at the CBI. WSU has submitted paperwork to be considered for that tournament and there are rumblings with the athletic department that the Cougs tentatively are headed to the Bay Area to play USF on Wednesday. If it does indeed come to fruition, one question begs: What exactly is the CBI and who runs it?

First off, it stands for College Basketball Invitational, and it will launch this Tuesday and end with a a unique best-of-three Championship Series that begins March 26.

Sixteen teams will participate.

This season marks the fifth anniversary of the CBI's founding. Oregon won it last year, with VCU, Oregon State and Tulsa being previous winners.

Every game is played on the campus of one of the teams competing.

The CBI is the brainchild of The Gazelle Group, a sports marketing firm based in New Jersey.

WSU was in line for a CBI bid in 2010, Ken Bone's first season at WSU, but turned it down because that team was "mentally and physically fatigued" and there wasn't a desire on the team to keep going, he noted on a teleconference two weeks ago. "I know it's different this year. They're working hard and the attitude has been good. I feel like we keep getting better and better."

The Cougars are 15-16 on the season after dropping a tight one to Oregon State last week in round one of the Pac-12 Tournament.

The Cougars placed eighth in the Pac-12 regular-season standings, and all seven teams above them appear to be on a glide path for NCAA or NIT tourney bids.

If the Cougs do end up in the CBI at San Francisco, they'll be taking on a Dons team that finished fifth in the WCC with a 20-13 overall record at 8-8 conference mark that included a 66-65 win over Gonzaga.

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