Fox likes a third tournament

RENO - Last month it was announced that a third college post-season basketball tournament would start this March.

The Gazelle Group has planned the 16-team College Basketball Invitational tournament, and will directly compete with the 32-team National Invitation Tournament for participants.

Nevada coach Mark Fox said that more teams in the post-season is a positive step, and he talked to NCAA president Myles Brand on that very subject last week.

With the new tournament, approximately 113 teams out of approximately 325 will now go on to post-season.

"I'm a big proponent of the (NCAA) tournament expanding," Fox said. "Not to 128, but four play-in games (68 teams) would help. There are always at least three or four teams (now) that probably should be in the NCAAs.

"Since the mid-80s, we've probably added 100 Division I teams and dropped the NIT from 40 to 32. That doesn't make a lot of sense to me."

Fox also knows that the NCAA can't expand too much as long as it has a contract with CBS because of that network's commitment to other events like the Masters.

Fox pointed to the 30-plus football bowl games, and when you look at each team having at least 80 scholarship players that's more than 5,000 student-athletes having a chance to participate in the post-season.

Obviously he would like to see more basketball players have that opportunity, and that's a noble thought.

The Marquette Tribune reported that the new tournament would consider taking teams with sub-500 records. It's unlikely that would happen except in the very rare instance that there happened to be a ton of upsets over the course of a season.

However, if football teams with .500 records go to bowl games, certainly basketball teams with 15-15 records should get to move on.


According to a story by ESPN, Nevada's basketball team will travel the third-most miles in the country this season.

Nevada has already traveled to Florida, Las Vegas and Anaheim, and still have non-conference trips to Iowa and North Carolina left plus a BracketBuster away game at a site to be determined. Throw in two visits to Idaho, one to New Mexico, one to Utah, one to Louisiana and one to Fresno and you have a long, demanding season.


Fox said he wasn't concerned that freshman point guard Armon Johnson played 36 minutes against UNLV and didn't end up with an assist.

The coach pointed out that Johnson did make a pass to McGee, who took a dribble before stuffing the ball.

"At our place, he probably gets an assist," Fox said. "He was disappointed with himself. Armon is doing fine and getting better."


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