Raiders accept bid to CBI, host Tulsa Wednesday
It’s not over yet.
A magical run to the NCAA Tournament ended for the Raiders last Tuesday when they fell in the Horizon League final to Valparaiso. As Wright State left the court, the season appeared over. But the Raiders have new life after all.
WSU accepted a bid to the College Basketball Invitational and hosts Tulsa at the Nutter Center at 7 p.m tonight.
“Playing in the CBI, regardless of what happens, I think it satisfies not only short-term goals but also long-term goals,” Athletic Director Bob Grant said. “Our guys are getting valuable one-and-done postseason experience.”
The CBI berth marks the first postseason appearance for WSU since their run to the NCAA Tournament in 2007 after defeating Butler in the conference championship.
The tournament released its 16 team field and gave the Raiders an opening round match up against the 17-15 Golden Hurricanes. Tulsa finished sixth in Conference USA behind champion Memphis and makes their first postseason appearance since the 2010 NIT.
Should WSU win, they’ll face the winner of Bryant and Richmond. But win or lose, Wednesday’s game against Tulsa could be the last time the Raiders take the Nutter Center court this season.
According to Grant, the Raiders paid a $35,000 fee to to host the game and won’t do so again unless the Raiders make the final.
“I’m proud of the way we’ve handled this each year,” Grant said. “We give it a lot of thought [but] it’s just not made sense. But this year, I think financially it makes sense (to host a game). It made sense on almost every level you look at.”
For head coach Billy Donlon and his team, the final is the furthest thing from their minds. When WSU takes the court Wednesday night, they can make amends for a conference championship that slipped away. But Grant also sees the game as an opportunity to put WSU on the map.
“I’m big on trying to build our brand,” Grant said. “We’re a 45-year-old institution and there’s still a large part of the country that doesn’t exactly know about us. Anytime you can get Wright State in a national bracket like the CBI, that’s just good stuff for us.”