The NIT features
a 32-team field chosen right after the NCAA chooses the 68 teams
in its tournament. It awards automatic bids to regular
season conference champions who do not otherwise go to the NCAA
tournament. Also, the first 4 teams out of the NCAA tournament
become automatic 1 seeds in the NIT.
The CBI features 16 teams and the CIT has up to 32 teams
exclusively from mid-major leagues or lower (only 26 teams
participated in 2019). The CIT does not place teams in a
bracket, opting to place teams in matchups after the previous
round has concluded.
In 2021, these tournaments changed their formats in response to
the pandemic. The NIT moved play to Texas and reduced the field to
16 teams. The CBI moved play to Florida and reduced the field to 8
teams. The CIT was cancelled.
Schools have been known to decline an invitation to the CBI/CIT
tournaments due to the lack of interest in playing in a third-tier
tournament (e.g., "We're Indiana. We don't play in the CBI.") or
the pay-to-play nature of these tournaments.
To get a feel for what kind of teams are involved, these were the
2021 participants along with their record and NET ranking.