Top Teams Announced for 2015 ESPN Events Early-Season Men’s Basketball Tournaments
Four of Top Five Teams Ranked in Latest Associated Press Poll to Participate in Early-Season ESPN-Owned, -Operated Events
ESPN Events, a subsidiary of ESPN, owns and operates early-season basketball events worldwide beginning in early-November and running through the Christmas holiday.
The four multi-day, destination events consisting of the Gildan Charleston Classic, Puerto Rico Tip-Off, DIRECTV Wooden Legacy and Orlando Classic are bracket-format tournaments featuring 12 games over three days. The teams compete once per day, advancing with a victory. The two remaining undefeated teams will face off in a championship game. Also following the same format, the 2015 Hawaiian Airlines Diamond Head Classic field will be announced in late December.
Additionally, the Armed Forces Classic, to be played Friday, Nov. 13, and the State Farm Champions Classic, to be held Tuesday, Nov. 17, round out the 2015 owned and operated events. Fans will also get a glimpse of six top teams at the annual Jimmy V Men’s and Women’s Classics Presented by Corona, with teams to be announced surrounding the events in December.
The 2014-15 college basketball season is underway, and several teams ranked in the latest Associated Press poll (Nov. 17) will be participating in 2015 events: No. 1 Kentucky, No. 2 Arizona, No. 4 Duke, No. 5 Kansas, No. 9 Virginia, No. 11 Wichita State, No. 13 Gonzaga, No. 19 Michigan State and No. 25 Utah.
The Armed Forces Classic – a series of Division I men’s college basketball games played on United States military bases worldwide over a five-year rotation – will originate from the Marine Corps Base Camp Smedley D. Butler in Okinawa, Japan.
The event will feature Gonzaga against Pittsburgh, marking the first-ever meeting between the two nationally-recognized programs.
Gonzaga is ranked No. 13 in the Associated Press poll (Nov. 17) and Pittsburgh received votes.
The games 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.
The DIRECTV Wooden Legacy will be played in Orange County, Calif. The first two days will be held on the campus of Cal-State Fullerton and the final day of competition will be at Honda Center in Anaheim. The field consists of Arizona, Boise State, Boston College, Evansville, Michigan State, Providence, Santa Clara and UC Irvine.
Arizona, a No. 1 seed, and Michigan State, a No. 4 seed, both advanced to the NCAA Elite Eight in 2014.
Providence earned its first NCAA Championship berth in 10 years by winning the BIG EAST Championship title.
UC Irvine participated in the 2014 NIT.
Arizona is ranked No. 2 in the Associated Press poll (Nov. 17) and Michigan State is No. 19.
The Orlando Classic, held at HP Field House at ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex at Walt Disney World Resort near Orlando, Fla., will feature Alabama, Dayton, Iowa, Monmouth, Notre Dame, Southern California, Wichita State and Xavier.
Dayton, Iowa, Wichita State and Xavier all earned 2014 NCAA Championship berths.
Dayton advance to the Elite Eight and Wichita State made an appearance in the third round, while Iowa and Xavier played in First Four games.
Wichita State stands at No. 11 in the Associated Press poll (Nov. 17), while Dayton, Iowa and Notre Dame all received votes.