The Oregon State men’s basketball team will go for a second College Basketball Invitational title in the Craig Robinson era.
The Beavers (19-14) landed a CBI bid and will host Western Illinois on Wednesday at 7 p.m.
“I’m really excited to be a part of the CBI tournament again this year,” Robinson said on Sunday evening.
The game will be televised on HDNet.
OSU won the CBI title in 2009.
The Beavers finished the regular season with home wins over Utah and Colorado and defeated Washington State and top-seed Washington in the Pacific-12 Conference tournament before losing to Arizona in the semifinals.
Robinson said there was a brief moment late in the season when accepting a CBI bid wouldn’t have been a given, but then the Beavers made their late push.
“We knew we wanted to keep on playing,” he said. “We ran out of gas against Arizona. I loved the way they played in the tournament and want to keep the momentum going.”
The teams had similar roads to the tournament.
The Leathernecks finished 18-14 overall, 9-9 in the Summit League.
They made a run through the conference tournament, defeating the No. 1 seed (Oral Roberts) before losing to No. 2 South Dakota State in the final, 52-50.
Western Illinois is led by 6-foot-3 senior guard Ceola Clark, who averages 13.4 points a game. Obi Emegano, a 6-3 forward, averages 13.2 points and 6-7 forward/center Terell Parks scores 12.1 points a game and grabs 9.2 rebounds.
The winner of Wednesday’s game will take on the winner of Tuesday’s matchup between TCU and Milwaukee.
Washington State also got a berth and will play at San Francisco on Wednesday.
Other teams of note in the tournament are Butler, Pittsburgh and Robinson’s alma mater, Princeton.
“So there’s some pretty decent teams in there,” Robinson said.
“It’s really interesting. This tournament is attracting a lot more prestigious teams as it gets older.”
The Beavers get valuable extra practice time in the postseason by playing in the tournament.
With the NCAA tournament as the ultimate goal, playing in the CBI gives the Beavers postseason tournament experience.
“We’re just getting started here,” Robinson said. “And if we want to get to the NCAA tournament and once we get there to make a deep run through it, it’s tough. We have to know what it feels like.”