Photo credit: Charlotte Athletics
Charlotte will play in the College Basketball Invitational (CBI), which hosts 16 mid-major teams for a 5-day event down in Daytona Beach, Florida. Per Sports-Reference.com, Charlotte is 3-0 all-time versus the Catamounts, with the last game occurring in December 2021. Charlotte has won all three contests by double figures (margin of victory: 16, 17, 18).
CLT and WCU will tip-off Saturday, March 18th at approximately 5:30pm ET on Flo Sports (subscription required). The first 2 rounds of the CBI are exclusive to Flo Sports, while the semifinals and finals are on ESPN2. Should Charlotte beat WCU, they’ll face the winner of #6 Stetson vs #11 Milwaukee on Monday, March 20th at approximately 6:30pm ET.
If Charlotte 49ers Director of Athletics Mike Hill is committed to retaining Ron Sanchez — which seems clear given the appearance in this event — as the Forty-Niners head coach, then the $27,500 fee to participate in this event makes complete sense and a small price to pay. If you believe in him, make the investment, and allow the program to have more time together on the court.
In full transparency, I was adamantly opposed to Charlotte playing in these types of events when they first popped up a decade or so back. That said, Charlotte’s last postseason appearance was an NIT loss at Providence in 2013, with the last victory in the event occurring in 2006. You have to dig deeper for the last NCAA tournament appearance, 2005, with a loss to NC State. The last NCAA tournament win? 2001 vs Tennessee.
The fall from grace, and the days of looking down on the mid-major phrase are unfortunately long gone. For you fans out there that don’t like the concept of playing in the event, I get that view, it’s an unfortunate reality given where Charlotte’s program finds itself.
You have to hope an event like this allows something to click, and the program gains traction next season, it’s first in the American Athletic Conference.
Should Charlotte find a way to snap the current 3-game losing streak and win this event, I sincerely hope we do not hang a banner in Halton. Conversely, if Charlotte’s drops the first game versus Western Carolina, that would mean ending the season on a 4-game losing streak, an extremely tough pill to swallow ending Sanchez fifth season.
Roster and portal note
Today marks the first day of portal madness for NCAA basketball teams. It’s hard to imagine this team, or any team for that matter, not having at least one player depart for a new opportunity. It does appear that Musa Jallow can return for Charlotte, and Robert Braswell as well.
As of now, Ron Sanchez and Charlotte have 1 available scholarship to give for the 2023 class, and 1 signee; 6’10 high school big man Nick Richart (Zionsville, IN). The portal activity is sure to be fast-and-furious across the national landscape, it’s already unfolding on Twitter.
Stay tuned in to my Twitter account, I’ll be sure to keep a watchful eye on Charlotte’s departures, as well as anyone we’re connected to, and share that information as quickly as possible with you all.