Former Hawaii head basketball coach Riley Wallace served as the chairman of the CollegeInsider.com Postseason Tournament (CIT) selection committee. He led a group of former coaches, including legends such as Lefty Driesell, Lou Henson, Jim Phelan, and Hugh Durham, in selecting the field for this year’s CIT event.
As Dana Altman’s Creighton Bluejays prepare for their semifinal matchup with fellow Missouri Valley Conference team Missouri State on Wednesday, White & Blue Review caught up with Wallace to discuss some of the particulars surrounding this year’s CIT.
White & Blue Review: How were the teams selected for this year’s CIT? Were there limits on how many teams could come from a particular conference? Did any teams declined invitations? Were any “BCS” teams considered?
Riley Wallace: We actually went after a number of teams early, such as New Mexico State and Utah State, that eventually made the NCAA Tournament, but we had to wait for the NCAA and NIT parings to come out. We would have liked to have a few more teams from the west coast, but you get what you can and we are very happy with this year’s field.
WBR: What was the basis for deciding who played where in the tournament? It seemed like teams were sort of in pods, but it didn’t appear to really turn out that way.
RW: We looked at the NCAA RPI as well as geographical location. Next year, what I would like to do is have a bracket set up for the tournament. We are trying to appease all of our teams by giving them some home games.
WBR: Creighton was seeded behind Missouri State, although they finished behind Creighton in the Valley standings. Why is that?
RW: We looked at the NCAA RPI for the teams in the tournament, and Missouri State finished with a better RPI than Creighton.
WBR: What was the deciding factor to send Creighton to Missouri State and not the other way around when Creighton finished better in conference play and had more fans at the previous CIT games?
RW: I heard this same thing from Dana. Personally, I would have liked to see these teams meet in the final, as it would most likely draw a large crowd, but Creighton would still have to travel down to Springfield because of their seeding. Now, you have two teams that will draw a good crowd due to their conference affiliation, and any of the four teams remaining have the ability to draw a good crowd for the championship.
WBR: There has been a lot of discussion about what the schools pay and who pays in terms or road teams or home teams; can you elaborate on this?
RW: The home team is the only team that pays and the proceeds go to the home school as well off ticket sales. The road teams do not pay to play.
WBR: What is the likelihood that Creighton would host the championship if they were to beat MSU in Springfield?
RW: That is not my decision, but I would say that Creighton would have about a 90% chance of hosting.