Big Ten official: No rule keeping Iowa from competing in CBI

No Big Ten team has ever participated in the five-year-old tournament

INDIANAPOLIS — The Big Ten has no rule or objection keeping Iowa or any league men's basketball program from competing in the College Basketball Invitational (CBI), a Big Ten Conference official confirmed Thursday.

Questions have surfaced that the league's television agreements could prevent Iowa from competing in or hosting a game in the CBI, which has a primary television deal with HDNet. Mark Rudner, the Big Ten's senior associate commissioner for television administration, wrote in an email to The Gazette that league schools are allowed to compete in the CBI.

"There is no conference agreement that restricts access to this or any other postseason basketball tournament," Rudner wrote. "We have not had a team participate in the CBI."

Iowa (17-15) has not played in a postseason tournament since 2006 and earned its first regular-season winning record since 2007. When asked by a Gazette reporter if the CBI is considering Iowa, Ray Cella of the Gazelle Group, which runs the tournament, wrote, "We don't talk about specific schools but they (Iowa) do fit the profile."

The CBI is in its fifth year as a postseason basketball tournament and usually involves mid-major basketball programs. The CBI selects programs after both the NCAA and NIT postseason tournaments. The CBI begins March 13 on campus sites and the 16-team tournament ends with a best two-of-three series. Last year Oregon, which entered the tournament with a 16-17 record, defeated Creighton two games to one to win the championship.

Only seven current high-major programs — five of which compete in the Pac-12 — have played in the CBI in the previous four seasons.

Iowa still is eligible for the NCAA tournament if it wins the Big Ten Tournament. The Hawkeyes also could be selected for the NIT as an at-large squad.

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