After losing to Arizona State on Wednesday in the Pac-12 Tournament, Washington State coach Kyle Smith expressed interest in the opportunity to take his basketball team to the postseason – be it in the National Invitational Tournament (NIT) or College Basketball Invitational (CBI).
Upon reconsideration, the Cougars have elected to end their 2020-21 season, declining an invitation to the eight-team CBI in Daytona Beach, Florida, a school official confirmed on Sunday.
By doing so, WSU officially finishes its season with an overall record of 14-13. It’s the program’s first winning record since 2011-12, when Ken Bone’s Cougars finished 19-18 after a six-game run in the CBI. WSU went 14-12 in the regular season, clinching the school’s first winning regular-season record since 2010-11.
WSU’s reasons for declining a CBI invitation were unclear, but the event uses a pay-to-play format and participants have traditionally paid $50,000 just to book a spot in the field. The CBI is usually a 16-team event, with schools hosting games on campus sites, but the field was trimmed in 2021 and the tournament will be played at a single site in Daytona Beach.
During Kyle Smith’s first season, the Cougars received a CBI invitation well before playing in the Pac-12 Tournament, but the event was wiped out by the COVID-19 pandemic. The Cougars haven’t played in any type of postseason tournament since the 2011-12 season.
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