Despite transition CBU basketball hopes for postseason play

Sage Zbinden | Matt Hubbard, graduate student kinesiology major, try’s his best to boost himself into the air to block the ball, but slips and loses his balance.

During the four-year transition to Division I, California Baptist University athletics will be ineligible for NCAA postseason play.

However, Lancer basketball has options to play beyond the regular season.

An immediate opportunity for CBU basketball to potentially add to its trophy case will be the Western Athletic Conference regular season championship. Although the Lancers will not be eligible for the WAC Conference Tournament, they have the opportunity to finish the season atop the standings.

In addition, postseason play is still an option if the Lancers were to earn a spot in one of the postseason invitational tournaments.

For the men’s team, the CollegeInsider.com Post-season Tournament, and the College Basketball Invitational could hypothetically extend invitations to CBU.

“Both are prestigious tournaments in their own right,” said Rick Croy, men’s head basketball coach. “They’re hard to get into. There are so many programs at the Division I level that are going for it.”

On the women’s side, the team has set their sights high, eyeing the Women’s National Invitational Tournament and the Women’s Basketball Invitational.

“The WNIT and WBI are kind of for the best teams that didn’t make the NCAA (Tournament), so those will be some goals we have as a team,” said Jar- rod Olson, women’s head basketball coach. “It would be pretty cool to be able to play in those.”

These invitational tournaments are reserved for quality college basketball programs that missed the cut for the Big Dance, so the Lancers would have to compile an impressive résumé to be given a chance to extend their season.

Playing tournament games not only serves as a motivation factor for current athletes, but it is also an opportunity for the CBU basketball programs to put themselves on the map despite not being elligble for the NCAA national or conference tournaments.

Competing in high-stakes games in a prestigious postseason invitational tournament would mean national exposure for a mid-major basketball program looking to attract high-caliber athletes.

The season extension looks promising, however. During the 2017-18 school year, every CBU athletic team made some sort of postseason tournament, whether at the conference or national level.

If CBU basketball can make an impact in Year One of Division I competi- tion, Lancer fans can once again feel that playo atmosphere to which they have become so accustomed.

About Cullen Holt

Asst. Sports Editor

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