ISU Secures CBI Bid, Hosts Morehead State Wednesday
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March 16, 2014
NORMAL, Ill. - For the fifth time in the last seven seasons and the 19th time in program history, the Illinois State men's basketball team has earned a postseason bid by securing a spot in the 16-team College Basketball Invitational (CBI) field, announced Sunday night. The Redbirds will host Morehead State in the first round Wednesday at 7:05 p.m. on Doug Collins Court at Redbird Arena.
Tickets will be available, beginning at 9 a.m. Monday, by clicking here or at the Redbird Arena ticket office by visiting or calling (309) 438-8000. Student tickets will be free for the first 500 students who pick them up at the Redbird Arena ticket office, beginning Monday morning at 9 a.m. Otherwise, student tickets are $5, upper bowl tickets are $10 and lower bowl tickets are $15.
ISU is making its first-ever appearance in the CBI since the tournament began in 2008. Along with this year's postseason bid, the Redbirds have also competed in six NCAA Tournaments and 12 National Invitational Tournaments (NIT). The Redbirds' five postseason appearances over the last seven years - with NIT spots in 2008, 2009, 2010 and 2012 - mark the most bids throughout a seven-year span since accomplishing the same feat from 1995-2001.
With only two and a half years of combined-NCAA Division I experience, the 2013-14 Illinois State team is this season's least-experienced program in the nation. However, the Redbirds refused to use their inexperience as an excuse, with second-year ISU head coach Dan Muller leading a talented group of transfers, freshmen and two scholarship-returners to a tie for fourth place in the Missouri Valley Conference (9-9). Illinois State (16-15) also earned notable non-conference victories against a Top-25 program (No. 25 Dayton), a Big Ten team (Northwestern), and a BIG EAST opponent (DePaul), in the same season, for the first time in program history.
ISU's first-round matchup against Morehead State marks the seventh meeting between the two programs, with the Redbirds holding a 5-1 advantage. The Eagles are 20-13 overall after finishing 10-6 in the Ohio Valley Conference. MSU is making its fourth post-season appearance in the last six seasons after qualifying for the NCAA Tournament in 2009 and 2011, with a CBI bid in 2010. The Eagles advanced to the CBI second-round.
Entering its seventh season, the CBI is comprised of a 16-team field and hosted at on-campus arenas throughout the country. The CBI is a single-elimination tournament, up until the championship, which is decided in a best-of-three series. Teams from nearly every major conference and mid-major conference have participated in the event, and 18 teams have used the CBI to springboard to the NCAA Tournament the following year, while another 10 have gone on to the NIT.
Illinois State is the sixth Missouri Valley Conference program to make a CBI appearance. Bradley advanced to the championship series before falling to Tulsa during the CBI's inaugural season in 2008. Meanwhile, Wichita State made it to the quarterfinals in 2009, and Indiana State fell in the 2010 first round. In 2011, then-MVC member Creighton fell in the championship to Oregon, while Evansville bowed out in the second round. Last season, Evansville fell in the first round of the CBI to Princeton.
Earlier this month, the CBI reached an agreement with CBS Sports Network to televise two quarterfinal-round games and the best-of-three championship series. The CBI begins with opening-round play this Tuesday, March 18 and Wednesday, March 19. The quarterfinal round will take place on Monday, March 24 with the semifinal round on Wednesday, March 26. The Championship Series will commence on Monday, March 31 and continue on Wednesday, April 2. Should a third game be necessary, it will be held on Friday, April 4.
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