Rick Giles ’83’s company, the Gazelle Group, has carved a niche in the sports marketing world as the operator of some of college basketball’s top preseason tournaments. This year, Giles is hoping to carry that experience into March with a new postseason tournament called the College Basketball Invitational.
The CBI, scheduled to tip off March 18, will feature 16 teams in a single-elimination format for the first three rounds. The two teams that reach the championship will play a best-of-three series, alternating home courts.
With 65 teams competing in the NCAA Tournament and another 32 playing in the NIT, are there enough good teams remaining to support a third event? Giles thinks so. He tested his idea last year by drawing a mock bracket of 16 teams that were not invited to the NCAA Tournament or the NIT. The group included traditional powers with winning records — Connecticut, LSU, and Oklahoma, for example. And when Giles asked their coaches if they would have played in a postseason invitational, the responses were promising: “Fifteen out of 16 said yes without hesitation,” he said.