Interim athletic director Michael Williams would not commit to Cal definitely accepting a potential bid from the College Basketball Invitational, but added he would like to watch coach Cuonzo Martin’s team play a few more games.
Hours after the Bears were eliminated from the Pac-12 tournament with a 73-51 loss to top-seeded Arizona on Thursday, Williams said he has not heard from either the National Invitation Tournament or the CBI.
At 18-15 with a computer power rating of No. 99 as of Thursday morning, Cal likely doesn’t have the resume for an invite to the 32-team NIT. A mock NIT bracket produced Thursday by Bleacher Report projected Stanford, UCLA, Oregon State and Arizona State in the field, along with Saint Mary’s. But not Cal.
The CBI invites 16 teams after the NIT fills its field, but the opportunity comes with a pricetag. Schools must pay fees for each home game they play in the event. In past years, those fees have been $35,000 for a first-round game, $50,000 for quarterfinals, and $75,000 per game for the semifinals and each of the best-of-three championship series.
So while the decision requires some thought, Williams also said, “It’s also not something we would automatically say no to.”
Bids for the NCAA, NIT and CBI tournaments go out Sunday.
“We have not heard from anyone yet. We have just had the normal business contact with the NIT and the CBI,” Williams said. “So we’ll wait and find out on Sunday. I think we’d want to have that conversation.”
Martin praised the efforts of the Bears, who routed Washington State 84-59 in Tuesday’s tournament opener, then stayed close to Arizona for a half before fading.
“Right now I’m just excited about what Cuonzo has done with this team. I’m enjoying watching this team play,” Williams said. “It’d be fun to watch them play a few more games together.
“I’m really not prepared to have David (Kravish) play his last game in a Cal uniform quite yet.”