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2017 CBI Tournament Survival Guide: GW and Mason on a collision course?

Two Atlantic 10 teams, George Washington and George Mason, have both accepted bids to the CBI Tournament. But the format for the CBI is a bit different from other tournaments, such as the NCAA Tournament or the NIT. There’s also some experimental rules that are going into effect for the CBI as well. Don’t fret: we’ve got all the information you’re going to need.

Tournament Format

The first and second rounds of the CBI work just like any other single-elimination tournament. But after the Quarterfinals is where things get a bit different: prior to the Semifinal round, the four remaining teams are re-seeded, which would allow for a potential GW-Mason CBI Final. Speaking of the finals, the CBI Finals is very different from every other postseason tournament you might be familiar with. Instead of just one winner-take-all game, it is a best of three series, sort of like a mini NBA Finals series. None of the preliminary rounds will be televised, but the final series will be nationally televised on ESPNU.

Rule Changes

Similarly to the NIT, the CBI will be exploring a format that includes four ten-minute segments, not unlike what NCAA women’s basketball has adopted. However, unlike women’s basketball, the game will not be broken into “quarters” per se, but rather four “segments,” meaning the clock will read 20 minutes at the beginning of each half. The clock will not stop at the 10 minute mark of a half (mean no “quarter breaks”), but rather the new segment will begin seamlessly at the 9:59 mark of each half.

In addition, they will follow the same foul rules as women’s basketball, meaning that on the fifth team foul of a quarter, the opposing team will be awarded two free throws; there will be no one-and-one free throws. Should a game go into overtime, the team fouls would reset again. The bonus would begin with the fourth foul, rather than the fifth foul as is the case during regulation.

The last major rule change is that the shot clock will not reset to the full 30 seconds after each foul. Instead, the shot clock will remain the same or reset to 20 seconds, whichever is greater. That rule applies to the following situations:

  • A personal foul committed by the defense, which results in no free throws, and the ball is inbounded in the front court.
  • Any technical foul assessed against the defense, and the ball is inbounded in the front court.
  • The game is stopped for a bleeding player or blood on a uniform and the ball is inbounded in the front court.

Game Previews

George Washington vs Toledo, 7PM

The Colonials will look to reach the 20-win plateau for the fourth consecutive season, as they’ll host Toledo out of the MAC. The Rockets posted a 17-16 (9-9 MAC) record, who fell in the Quarterfinals of the MAC Tournament to Ohio in their last outing. A-10 fans may remember them from Saint Joseph’s season opener, as the Hawks narrowly escaped with a 77-76 victory. Analyzing Toledo as a whole, they don’t have any significant wins on their résumé. However, the Rockets faced MTSU twice, and while they lost both times, both game were close, and Toledo lost by just three points in the second meeting.

This will be just GW’s second-ever CBI appearance, the first time coming back in 2010, back when the Colonials were still coached by Karl Hobbs. The Colonials lost to CAA-opponent VCU, who has since joined the A-10. The game will be held at the Charles E. Smith Center and will be streamed on RaiseHigh Live.

George Mason vs Loyola (MD), 7PM

The Patriots will look to recapture the magic of their last CBI appearance in 2013, when Mason reached the finals, losing in Game 3. The journey back to the finals will begin with Loyola (MD) out of the Patriot League, who posted a 15-16 (8-10 Patriot League) record. A-10 fans may remember the Greyhounds from Duquesne’s season opener, when the Dukes needed two free throws in the waning seconds to secure the 65-60 victory. Andre Walker and Jarred Jones each posted 21 points for the Greyhounds. Loyola’s two best wins are over Mount St. Mary’s and Bucknell, both of which qualified for the NCAA Tournament. In their most recent game, the Greyhounds dropped a four-point decision in the 7/10 play-in game in the Patriot League Tournament.

The game will be held at Eagle Bank Arena. Streaming information is unknown at this time.

Here’s a look at some of the other opening round game in the CBI Tournament:

March 15

Coastal Carolina vs Hampton, 7PM
Wyoming vs Eastern Washington, 9PM
UMKC vs Green Bay, 8PM
Rice vs San Francisco, 8PM
Georgia Southern vs Utah Valley, 7PM

March 16
UIC vs Stony Brook, 8PM

The Quarterfinals will take place on March 20. Should George Washington advance, they would face the winner of UIC and Stony Brook, while Mason would face the winner of Coastal Carolina and Hampton. The Semifinals will take place on March 22, while the Finals will take place on March 27, 29 and 31 (if necessary).

As mentioned before, the final four teams are reseeded prior to the semifinals, meaning that we could be in for a Revolutionary Rivalry rematch in the CBI Finals! Talk about must see TV!

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Daniel Frank is a member of the George Mason Class of 2022. He graduated high school from the Academy For Individual Excellence in Louisville, KY. He ...