Hoops for the Holidays: 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.

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 (HT) Matchup Network
Sat, Dec 22 10 a.m. Indiana State vs. Colorado ESPNU
  12 p.m. UNLV vs. Hawai’i ESPNU
  5 p.m. Rhode Island vs. Bucknell TBD
  7:30 p.m. Charlotte vs. TCU TBD
Sun, Dec 23 11:30 a.m. Semifinal #1 ESPN2
  2 p.m. Consolation #1 ESPNU
  5 p.m. Semifinal #2 ESPN2
  7:30 p.m. Consolation #2 ESPNU
Tue, Dec 25 8 a.m. 7th Place Game ESPNU
  10 a.m. 5th Place Game ESPNU
  1:30 p.m. 3rd Place Game ESPNU
  4 p.m. Championship ESPN2

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

ESPN Events ESPN Events, a division of ESPN, owns and operates a large portfolio of 35 collegiate sporting events worldwide. The roster includes three Labor Day weekend college football games, the FCS opening-weekend game, 16 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, Atlanta, Birmingham, Boca Raton, Boise, Dallas-Fort Worth, Frisco, Honolulu, Houston, 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 website, Facebook, Twitter or YouTube pages.