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WSU Men's Basketball
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With CBI invitation, Washington State guaranteed opportunity to compete in postseason tournament

Washington State head coach Kyle Smith directs his players during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game against Washington in Pullman, Wash., Sunday, Feb. 9, 2020. (Young Kwak / AP)
Washington State head coach Kyle Smith directs his players during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game against Washington in Pullman, Wash., Sunday, Feb. 9, 2020. (Young Kwak / AP)

PULLMAN – Seven straight Washington State basketball seasons have ended in Las Vegas at the Pac-12 Tournament.

It’s unlikely the streak reaches eight this March.

Even if the Cougars bow out of the conference tournament at T-Mobile Arena, there should be more basketball ahead for Kyle Smith’s team.

The first-year WSU coach confirmed the Cougars, who now are 14-10 and 5-6 in Pac-12 play after Sunday’s win over Washington, have received an invitation to the College Basketball Invitational – a lower-level postseason tournament that takes many of the teams not invited to the NCAA tournament or the NIT.

“We got an invite to the CBI, which is no knock, it’s something,” Smith said Sunday. “But we want to keep going and seeing what can happen. The league’s really good, top to bottom. … so who knows, so we just have to keep pushing along.”

Should they accept an invitation to the CBI, or continue winning and push for a spot in either of the other two tournaments, the Cougars would be making their first postseason appearance since 2011-12, when WSU went to the CBI under Ken Bone and lost two of three games to Pittsburgh to concede the championship.

After Sunday’s win, the Cougars sit in a tie for eighth place in the Pac-12, though Utah holds a head-to-head tiebreaker. The latest NCAA tournament projection from NCAA.com writer Andy Katz has five Pac-12 teams making the March Madness field, which would presumably send one or two more to the NIT.

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