First, I'd like to say hello to the good people of SB Nation Pittsburgh. I'm Pat, and I'm new here. I'd like to thank the site for reaching out and granting me this opportunity. I usually write about Pitt sports and Penguins hockey for my site The Incline, and I'll be doing the same here. You'll notice that I never get too serious or philosophical. I'm here to provide a "voice." I hope to do just that and I look forward to your comments.
Pitt plays Princeton Monday night in the CBI, the Altoona Curve of postseason tournaments. As the season ended, we knew Pitt had no chance of making the NCAA field of 68. Hopes quickly turned to the NIT, but Pitt was passed up in the selection process, much to the chagrin of many in the Pitt community. (I'm looking at you, Ashton Gibbs.) Most fans assumed the season was over, but the CBI came riding in like a knight in shining armor, or something like that. Unfortunately, playing in the CBI just isn't worth it. Here's a look at the positives and negatives.
Why Pitt fans should care about the CBI:
1. Valuable playing time for underclassmen: This is essentially the go-to argument for those in favor of Pitt wasting time and money by playing in the CBI. Guys like J.J. Moore, John Johnson, Cam Wright, Talib Zanna, and even Dante Taylor could use the extra practices and game action for next season. For young guys, these in-game situations cannot be replicated in practice. The CBI might actually be useful for player development.
2. Not giving up: Jamie Dixon has repeatedly stated his interest in playing the tournament. This decision shows his squad that he cares and that he thinks there is something worth competing for, even if it just playing time for next season.
3. Something for the seniors: Ashton Gibbs and Nasir Robinson won quite a few games during their time in Oakland, just not this season. Playing in the CBI allows Gibbs and Robinson to go out on their own terms, not some selection committee's.
4. What else do you have to do? It's not like the weather is nice, the NCAA Tournament is on, and the Penguins are gearing up for the playoffs. Oh wait.
Why Pitt fans shouldn't care about the CBI:
1. Its the CBI: Quick, what does CBI stand for? Who won it last year? Should the school waste money to participate in the Khloe Kardashian of postseason tournaments? It costs the university between $35,000 and $70,000 to host a CBI game, depending on the round. This may not be the smartest move for Pitt AD Steve Pederson.
2. No TV coverage, no support: Pitt's first game against Wofford was not televised and the same can be said for Monday's game against Princeton. Not to mention that the Wofford game saw a crowd that would rival that of a Pitt women's game, or a Penn State men's game. If a game happens and no one sees it, does it really happen?
3. Fixing problems: Can Jamie Dixon really fix the problems of the 2011-2012 Pitt Panthers with a few more practices and games against weak opponents? Maybe its best to close up shop and wait for Steven Adams to save us all.
4. Carryover effect: If Cam Wright and J.J. Moore drop 25 points a night, will those results carry over to next season? Hopefully, but come next December, are we really going to be looking back at someone's performance against Wofford? I won't. And I doubt they will either.
Ultimately, this is a season that needed to end sooner rather than later. Next year, no one will remember the results against lesser opponents in the CBI. The experience gained is marginal compared to a whole summer of workouts and practices. Fans are frustrated and have lost interest. It was time to close the door on 2012. Pitt should have ended the season and let the guys relax, regroup, and come back next year stronger and ready to compete for the Big East title one last time before moving to the ACC. Instead, the season we are trying to forget just never seems to end, and we can't even watch it on TV.