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  • Daniel Hooker

Men’s Basketball Opens Discount Tire CBI Saturday Against Charlotte

The Western Carolina men’s basketball team earned the No. 14 seed in the 2023 Discount Tire College Basketball Invitational (CBI) and will open the tournament against No. 3 seed Charlotte Saturday, March 18 at 5:30 p.m. on as the bracket was unveiled on Sunday night.

The winner of Saturday’s first round game will face either No. 6 seed Stetson or No. 11 seed Milwaukee in the quarterfinals on Monday, March 20 at 6:30 p.m.

The first and quarterfinal rounds will be streamed on FloHoops (paid subscription required) with the semifinals and finals airing on ESPN2. Each of WCU’s games will feature free Catamount Sports Network live audio.

Three teams that participated in the 2022 CBI – Drake, Florida Atlantic, and UNC Asheville – qualified for the 2023 NCAA Tournament as that bracket was unveiled earlier on Sunday.

The Catamounts will make their fourth overall appearance in the postseason since becoming an NCAA Division-I member. WCU played in the NCAA tournament after winning the Southern Conference Tournament in 1996 before making its return to the postseason with the Postseason Tournament (CIT) in 2010 with a road game at Marshall.

This year marks WCU’s second appearance in the Discount Tire CBI as WCU traveled to face the NCAA’s other Catamounts – Vermont – in Burlington, Vt., as a part of the 2016 CBI.

WCU is among five current SoCon teams to play in the Discount Tire CBI all time – and one of just three to play in the event multiple times, joining UNCG (2016, 2022) and Mercer (2015, 2018). Most recently, VMI also played in the 2022 tournament with Wofford competing in the 2012 event.

Western Carolina (18-15) closed the 2022-23 season by winning four of its final six games and rallied from a 20-point second-half deficit to take eventual SoCon tournament champion Furman to overtime in the semifinal round before falling 83-80 in Asheville. The 18 seasonal victories are the most for WCU since winning 19 back in the 2019-20 season with the 10-8 league record this season matching that year’s tally.

Among WCU’s victories this season was a 10-point win at Tennessee Tech – which lost in overtime in the Ohio Valley Conference (OVC) championship game – and a 12-point victory over SoCon regular-season and tournament champ, Furman. WCU also downed McNeese State in early-season tournament action with the Cowboys falling in the Southland Conference semifinals. Other notables WCU faced this year were Big South champion UNC Asheville and the Big Ten Conference’s No. 6 seed, Maryland.

The Catamounts are paced by three All-SoCon performers this year with second-team selections Tre Jackson and Vonterius Woolbright by both the league’s head coaches and voting media, with forward Tyzhaun Claude collecting third-team plaudits from the media. Both Woolbright and Claude additionally landed on the SoCon’s All-Tournament team.

Charlotte earned the No. 3 seed after the 49ers finished fifth in Conference USA with an 18-14 overall record and 9-11 league mark. The 18 seasonal wins are the most for the program since the 2012-13 season. Junior Brice Williams earned second team All-Conference USA honors after leading the team and finishing eighth in the league with 13.5 points per game. Sophomores Aly Khalifa, the reigning Conference USA Freshman of the Year, and Lu’Cye Patterson claimed honorable mention accolades.

The Catamounts and 49ers have met three previous times including last season, resulting in a 98-82 victory for the 49ers inside Halton Arena. Charlotte has won each of the three previous meetings.

For more information on the 2023 Discount Tire College Basketball Invitational, please visit Tickets for the Discount Tire CBI are available through TicketMaster, online at They may also be purchased at the Ocean Center box office on CBI game days.

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