Hawaii’s postseason path is clear: Make the NCAA Tournament by winning three games in three days at the Honda Center, or settle in for the offseason.
UH athletic director Ben Jay said recently UH is not entertaining the pay-for-play CIT or CBI tournaments as postseason options should UH not take the Big West tournament’s automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament.
“I’m not interested in entertaining those (buy-in tournaments),” Jay told the Honolulu Star-Advertiser’s Ferd Lewis. “It is NCAA, NIT or nothing. … We’re not in the financial shape to be able to do that.”
Hosting a CIT game can cost upwards of $35,000.
UH has participated in the CIT twice — 2011 and 2013 — but reached 20 wins last season did not play in the postseason, in large part because of similar financial concerns.
Meanwhile, the NIT does not charge for admission but is very difficult to get into. It comprises 32 teams, down from 40 a few years ago, and now awards berths to regular-season conference champions who do not make it to the NCAA tournament, plus high-RPI at-large teams. UH’s RPI was 172 as of Tuesday.
“We put in bids, requests to host, for both the men’s and women’s NIT,” Jay said.
On the men’s side, calling the NIT a long shot would be generous. UH’s only tangible, realistic option starts with beating Long Beach State in the Big West quarterfinals on Thursday.