Most of you are already aware of the fact that Cal and Washington earned bids to the NCAA Tournament this March, but there are two other postseason tournaments, the NIT and CBI, that are featuring Pac-10 teams this year. The NIT has Arizona State, which won 22 games this year, as a number 1 seed, and the CBI has Oregon State in its field of 16. Their inclusions give the Pac-10 four teams headed for postseason play - a significant dropoff from having 6 teams in the NCAA Tournament alone last season.
This year, Arizona could have earned a spot in the CBI, but head coach Sean Miller turned down the invitation, saying:
That's really not what our program is about right now. The goal here is to make the NCAA Tournament and be in a position for a seed that can advance and can threaten for the Final Four. I'm going to sound the exact way I did when I got here. The building process and doing things the right way is at the forefront. Recruiting Arizona players ...making sure that everybody who returns, returns better and making sure that everyone who is on our roster is about winning. It's about team. It's about togetherness and having a bigger picture than six months. In another six months, a culture will be developed, a way of doing things will be developed. Not only by miles, but sometimes in inches we'll continue to improve and emerge on the national level and within our conference. It's going to take a lot of hard work and patience. Part of the story is written and there is a lot of hard work to go.
I'm a little surprised that the 'Cats turned down the bid, considering the youth of their team, but for a program that has been so successful historically, it does make some sense. The CBI is considered an embarrassment in some circles, so for Arizona to partake in the event would be somewhat of a joke for them and their fans. At this point, Miller likely just wants to get his offseason program underway.