ESPN Events Reveals Matchups for 2018 Early-Season Men’s Basketball Tournaments

ESPN Events has unveiled the matchups for five of its owned and operated early-season basketball tournaments. Beginning November 15 through Christmas weekend, the tournaments will feature a number of top teams, including returning national champion Villanova in the AdvoCare Invitational. A total of 17 teams who earned bids to the 2018 NCAA Tournament will be represented, led by the Charleston Classic with five. Each of the events will host at least three teams who participated in the NCAA Tournament or NIT.

Three-day, multi-team events include the Charleston Classic, the inaugural Myrtle Beach Invitational, Wooden Legacy, AdvoCare Invitational and Hawaiian Airlines Diamond Head Classic. The destination events staged from Charleston, S.C., Myrtle Beach, N.C., Orange County, Calif., Orlando and Honolulu are all bracket-format tournaments featuring 12 games over three days. The teams compete once per day, regardless of results. The two unbeaten teams will face off in a championship game.

The NIT Season Tip-Off will be held at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, N.Y. The four designated home schools will each host two campus-site games prior to traveling to Brooklyn for the two-day championship round. The field and matchups will be announced at a later date.

In addition to the multi-team tournaments, ESPN Events also manages four single-day, neutral-site events including the Armed Forces Classic, State Farm Champions Classic and Jimmy V Men’s and Women’s Classics presented by Corona.

Nine teams participating in the upcoming season’s events are ranked in’s Way-Too-Early Top 25 Preseason Poll: No. 2 Kansas, No. 5 Tennessee, No. 10 Villanova, No. 13 West Virginia, No. 14 Virginia Tech, No. 18 Florida State, No. 21 LSU, No. 23 TCU and No. 25 Purdue.

Charleston Classic
November 15, 16 & 18
TD Arena (Charleston, S.C.)
PDF Bracket

The Charleston Classic will be held at TD Arena in Charleston, S.C. The field features five teams that earned a bid to the 2018 NCAA Tournament as well as CAA regular season co-champion Northeastern.

  • Alabama made its first NCAA Tournament appearance in five years this year; advancing to the second round before falling to eventual national champion Villanova
  • Appalachian State will be the first Sun Belt conference member to play in the Charleston Classic
  • Ball State is coming off a fourth place finish in the MAC and has won at least 19 games in each of the past three seasons
  • Davidson will make its third appearance in the Charleston Classic (2009, 2013) and is coming off of a berth in 2018 NCAA Tournament
  • Pre-season Colonial Athletic Association favorite Northeastern will become the sixth different team from the host conference to make an appearance in the event
  • Purdue advanced to the Sweet 16 in the 2018 NCAA Tournament, the school’s 10th appearance in the NCAA tournament in the last 12 seasons
  • Virginia Tech earned a No. 8 seed in the 2018 NCAA Tournament, its second straight appearance
  • Wichita State earned its seventh straight NCAA Tournament bid in 2018 as a No. 4 seed
Date Time (ET) Matchup Network
Thu, Nov 15 11:30 a.m. Ball State vs. Virginia Tech ESPN2
  2 p.m. Alabama vs. Northeastern ESPNU
  5 p.m. Purdue vs. Appalachian State ESPN2
  7 p.m. Wichita State vs. Davidson ESPN3
Fri, Nov 16 11 a.m. Semifinal #1 ESPN2 or ESPNU
  1 p.m. or 1:30 p.m. Consolation #1 ESPN2 or ESPNU
  4:30 p.m. Consolation #2 ESPNU
  6:30 p.m. Semifinal #2 ESPNU
Sun, Nov 18 11 a.m. 7th Place Game ESPN3
  1:30 p.m. 5th Place Game ESPNU
  6 p.m. 3rd Place Game ESPNU
  8:30 p.m. Championship ESPN2

Non-Bracketed Games: Ball State at Purdue (Nov. 10), Appalachian State at Alabama (Nov. 11), Northeastern at Davidson (Nov. 24)

Myrtle Beach Invitational
November 15, 16 & 18
HTC Center – campus of Coastal Carolina University (Conway, S.C.)
PDF Bracket

The Myrtle Beach Invitational is headlined by West Virginia, who advanced to their third Sweet 16 in the last four years in 2018. The inaugural event was announced back in April and will be played on the campus of Coastal Carolina University.

  • Cal State Fullerton will make its second consecutive appearance in an ESPN Events early-season tournament (2017 Wooden Legacy) and is coming off a Big West Conference championship
  • Monmouth has won the regular season Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference (MAAC) title in two of the past three seasons
  • Saint Joseph’s has earned a postseason bid four of the past seven seasons
  • UCF is expected to be one of the top teams in the American Athletic Conference in head coach Johnny Dawkins’ third season
  • Valparaiso will make its first appearance in an ESPN Events early-season tournament as a member of the Missouri Valley Conference
  • Wake Forest is expected to have a bounce-back year behind its strong recruiting class, ranked 17th overall in the ESPN rankings
  • Western Kentucky is coming off a 27 win season that included a run to the NIT Semifinals
  • West Virginia has  earned an NCAA Tournament bid in nine of the last 11 seasons, including back-to-back Sweet 16 appearances in 2017 and 2018
Date Time (ET) Matchup Network
Thu, Nov 15 11:30 a.m. Saint Joseph’s vs. Wake Forest ESPNU
  1:30 p.m. UCF vs. Cal State Fullerton ESPN3
  5 p.m. Valparaiso vs. Western Kentucky ESPNU
  7 p.m. Monmouth vs. West Virginia ESPNU
Fri, Nov 16 11 a.m. Consolation #1 ESPN2 or ESPNU
  1 p.m. or 1:30 p.m. Semifinal #1 ESPN2 or ESPNU
  6:30 p.m. Consolation #2 ESPN3
  9 p.m. Semifinal #2 ESPNU
Sun, Nov 18 10:30 a.m. 5th Place Game ESPNU
  12:30 p.m. 7th Place Game ESPN3
  4 p.m. 3rd Place Game ESPNU
  6:30 p.m. Championship ESPN2

Non-Bracketed Games: Monmouth at Saint Joseph’s (Nov. 12), Valparaiso at West Virginia (Nov. 24)

AdvoCare Invitational
November 22, 23 & 25
HP Field House (ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex near Orlando, Fla.)
PDF Bracket

The AdvoCare Invitational is headlined by reigning national champion Villanova. Elite Eight squad Florida State and CAA champion Charleston highlight the bottom half of the bracket along with LSU’s top-five recruiting class. New Memphis coach Penny Hardaway will return to the Orlando area after playing for the Orlando Magic for six seasons.

  • Canisius will make its first appearance in the AdvoCare Invitational
  • College of Charleston made its fifth NCAA Tournament appearance in program history in 2018, after winning the Colonial Athletic Association tournament championship
  • Florida State advanced to the Elite Eight of the 2018 Tournament as a No. 9 seed
  • LSU will make its second AdvoCare Invitational appearance (2013)
  • Memphis makes its first appearance in the AdvoCare Invitational since 2013, when it defeated Oklahoma State to win the event’s championship
  • Oklahoma State won 21 games in head coach Mike Boykin’s first season and advanced to the NIT Quarterfinals
  • UAB has won at least 20 games in three of the past four seasons
  • Villanova has won two national championships and two BIG EAST championship titles in the last three seasons
Date Time (ET) Matchup Network
Thu, Nov. 22 1:30 p.m. Villanova vs. Canisius ESPN or ESPN2
  3:30 p.m. or 4 p.m. Oklahoma State vs. Memphis ESPN or ESPN2
  7 p.m. Charleston vs. LSU ESPN2 or ESPNU
  9 p.m. or 9:30 p.m. UAB vs. Florida State ESPN2 or ESPNU
Fri, Nov 23 11:30 a.m. Semifinal #1 ESPN or ESPN2
  1:30 p.m. Consolation #1 ESPN3
  4:30 p.m. Semifinal #2 ESPN2 or ESPNU
  7 p.m. Consolation #2 ESPNU or ESPN3
Sun, Nov 25 10:30 a.m. 7th Place Game ESPNU
  1 p.m. 3rd Place Game or Championship ESPN
  4 p.m. 3rd Place Game or Championship ESPN2
  6:30 p.m. 5th Place Game ESPNU

Non-Bracketed Games: Memphis at LSU (Nov. 13), Furman at Villanova (Nov. 17), Charleston at Oklahoma State (Nov. 18), West Alabama at UAB (Nov. 18), Canisius at Florida State (Nov. 19)

Wooden Legacy
November 22, 23 & 25
Titan Gym (Fullerton, Calif.)
PDF Bracket

Returning NCAA Tournament teams Miami and Seton Hall highlight the Wooden Legacy field along with NIT finalist Utah. This will be the second year the tournament will been played in its entirety at Titan Gym on the campus of Cal State Fullerton.

  • Fresno State has won at least 20 games in four of the past five seasons
  • Grand Canyon advanced to the WAC Championship game in 2018, the Antelopes first season of postseason eligibility
  • Hawai’i will make its first appearance in the Wooden Legacy
  • La Salle will appear in an ESPN Events early season tournament for the first time since 2008 (Charleston Classic)
  • Miami earned a No. 6 seed in the 2018 NCAA Tournament, falling to Cinderella team Loyola Chicago in the first round
  • Northwestern will make its first appearance in an ESPN Events early-season tournament since winning the 2011 Charleston Classic
  • Seton Hall earned a No. 8 seed in the 2018 NCAA tournament, marking its third consecutive appearance; the Pirates advanced to the second round for the first time in 14 years before falling to Kansas
  • Utah advanced to the championship game of the 2018 Postseason NIT, marking the fifth straight year the Utes have qualified for postseason play
Date Time (ET) Matchup Network
Thu, Nov 22 2:30 p.m. LaSalle vs. Miami ESPNU
  4:30 p.m. Northwestern vs. Fresno State ESPNU
  9 p.m. Seton Hall vs. Grand Canyon ESPN3
  11:30 p.m. Hawai’i vs. Utah ESPN2
Fri, Nov 23 2 p.m. Semifinal #1 ESPN2
  4:30 p.m. Consolation #1 ESPN2 or ESPNU
  9 p.m. Consolation #2 ESPN3
  11:30 p.m. Semifinal #2 ESPN2
Sun, Nov 25 2 p.m. 5th Place Game ESPNU
  4 p.m. 3rd Place Game ESPNU
  8 p.m. 7th Place Game ESPN3
  10:30 p.m. Championship ESPN2

Hawaiian Airlines Diamond Head Classic
December 22, 23 & 25
Stan Sheriff Center (Honolulu, Hawai’i)
PDF Bracket

The Hawaiian Airlines Diamond Head Classic will celebrate its tenth year in 2018. Returning NCAA Tournament teams Bucknell, Rhode Island and TCU headline the field.

  • Bucknell clinched the Patriot League regular-season title for the seventh time in the last eight years in 2018
  • Charlotte will appear in its fourth different ESPN Events early season tournament (2008 Wooden Legacy, 2010 and 2014 Charleston Classic, 2013 Puerto Rico Tip-Off)
  • Colorado has appeared in either the NCAA Tournament or the Postseason NIT in six of the past eight years
  • Hawai’i will host and participate in the Hawaiian Airlines Diamond Head Classic for the tenth consecutive year
  • Indiana State will appear in an ESPN Events early-season tournament for the third straight year; participated in 2016 AdvoCare Invitational and 2017 Charleston Classic
  • Rhode Island advanced to the Second Round of the 2017 and 2018 NCAA Tournaments
  • TCU earned a No. 6 seed in the 2018 NCAA Tournament
  • UNLV will make its first Hawaiian Airlines Diamond Head Classic appearance since the inaugural 2009 season, when it advanced to the event’s championship game
Date Time (ET) Matchup Network
Sat, Dec 22 3 p.m. Indiana State vs. Colorado ESPNU
  5 p.m. UNLV vs. Hawai’i ESPNU
  10 p.m. Rhode Island vs. Bucknell TBD
Sun, Dec 23 12:30 a.m. Charlotte vs. TCU TBD
  4:30 p.m. Semifinal #1 ESPN2
  7 p.m. Consolation #1 ESPNU
  10 p.m. Semifinal #2 ESPN2
Mon, Dec 24 12:30 a.m. Consolation #2 ESPNU
Tue, Dec 25 1 p.m. 7th Place Game ESPNU
  3 p.m. 5th Place Game ESPNU
  6:30 p.m. 3rd Place Game ESPNU
  9 p.m. Championship ESPN2

Non-Bracketed Game: Indiana State at TCU (Dec. 16)

Additional Events
State Farm Champions Classic – Tuesday, Nov. 6
The 2018 Classic – a neutral site doubleheader – will once again feature Duke, Kansas, Kentucky and Michigan State, with Michigan State facing Kansas, and Duke facing Kentucky. This year’s games will be played at Bankers Life Fieldhouse in Indianapolis, with the 2019 Classic returning to Madison Square Garden in New York City. Since the Champions Classic began in 2011, all four teams have reached the NCAA Final Four at least once, with Kentucky and Duke winning national titles, in 2012 and 2015 respectively.

Armed Forces Classic – Friday, Nov. 9
The 2018 Armed Forces Classic, owned and operated by ESPN Events, will feature Texas and Arkansas, from Fort Bliss in El Paso, Texas, on Friday, Nov. 9. The annual event, in its seventh year, will take place on the United States mainland for the first time since its inception in 2012. The game will be televised on ESPN as part of the network’s America’s Heroes: A Salute to Our Veterans initiative honoring the men and women who are serving and who have served in the United States military, both at home and abroad.

Jimmy V Classic

The Jimmy V Women’s Classic will feature reigning national champion Notre Dame facing UConn on Sunday, Dec. 2 at 4 p.m. ET. The Jimmy V Men’s Classic doubleheader on Tuesday, Dec. 4 at Madison Square Garden in New York City, will include Notre Dame vs. Oklahoma (7 p.m.), followed by West Virginia facing Florida.

ESPN Events ESPN Events, a division of ESPN, owns and operates a large portfolio of 34 collegiate sporting events worldwide. The roster includes three Labor Day weekend college football games, the FCS opening-weekend game, 15 college bowl games, 11 college basketball events, a college softball event, an esports event and two college award shows, which accounts for approximately 375-plus hours of live programming, reaches almost 64 million viewers and attracts over 800,000 attendees each year. With satellite offices in Albuquerque, Birmingham, Boca Raton, Boise, Dallas-Fort Worth, Honolulu, Las Vegas, Montgomery and Tampa, ESPN Events builds relationships with conferences, schools and local communities, as well as providing unique experiences for teams and fans. For more information, visit the official websiteFacebookTwitter or YouTube pages. Collegiate Football Academy Sports + Outdoors Texas Bowl (Houston); AdvoCare Texas Kickoff (Houston); Air Force Reserve Celebration Bowl (Atlanta); Bad Boy Mowers Gasparilla Bowl (Tampa, Fla.); Birmingham Bowl (Alabama); Cheribundi Boca Raton Bowl (Florida); Camellia Bowl (Montgomery, Ala.); Camping World Kickoff (Orlando, Fla.); Famous Idaho Potato Bowl (Boise); Frisco Bowl (Texas);   Guardian Credit Union FCS Kickoff (Montgomery, Ala.); Lockheed Martin Armed Forces Bowl (Dallas-Fort Worth); Makers Wanted Bahamas Bowl (Nassau);  MEAC/SWAC Challenge (Atlanta); Mitsubishi Motors Las Vegas Bowl (Nevada); Myrtle Beach Bowl (South Carolina); New Mexico Bowl (Albuquerque); SERVPRO First Responder Bowl (Dallas-Fort Worth); SoFi Hawai’i Bowl (Honolulu); The Home Depot College Football Awards (Atlanta) Collegiate Basketball Armed Forces Classic (Anchorage, Alaska); Charleston Classic (South Carolina); College Basketball Awards Presented by Wendy’s (Los Angeles); Hawaiian Airlines Diamond Head Classic (Honolulu); Jimmy V Men’s Classic presented by Corona (New York City); Jimmy V Women’s Classic Presented by Corona (TBD) Myrtle Beach Invitational (Conway, S.C.); NIT Season Tip-Off (Brooklyn, N.Y.); Orlando Invitational (Walt Disney World Resort near Orlando, Fla.);  Phil Knight Invitational (Portland, Ore.); State Farm Champions Classic (New York City) and Wooden Legacy (Fullerton, Calif.) Collegiate Softball St. Pete/Clearwater Elite Invitational Presented by Wilson (Clearwater, Fla.) Collegiate Esports Collegiate Esports Championship (Houston) For more information, visit the official website, Facebook, Twitter or YouTube pages.