Top Teams Announced for 2016 ESPN Events Early-Season Men’s Basketball Tournaments
ESPN Events, a division of ESPN, owns and operates early-season basketball events worldwide beginning in November and running through the Christmas holiday.
The Charlotte, N.C., based group manages six multi-team events consisting of the Gildan Charleston Classic, Puerto Rico Tip-Off, DIRECTV Wooden Legacy, AdvoCare Invitational, NIT Season Tip-Off and Hawaiian Airlines Diamond Head Classic. The multi-day, destination events staged from Charleston, S.C., San Juan, Puerto Rico, Orange County, Calif., Orlando and Honolulu are all 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. The Hawaiian Airlines Diamond Head Classic will be announced in late December surrounding the event.
In its second year under the ESPN Events umbrella, the NIT Season Tip-Off will be held at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, N.Y. The designated home teams will each host two campus-site teams prior to traveling to Brooklyn for the championship round.
In addition to the multi-team tournaments, ESPN Events also manages four premium events including the Armed Forces Classic, State Farm Champions Classic and Jimmy V Men’s and Women’s Classics presented by Corona. The Jimmy V Men’s and Women’s Classics fields will be announced at a later date.
The 2015-16 college basketball season is underway and several teams ranked in the latest Associated Press poll (Nov. 23) will be participating in 2016 events: No. 1 Kentucky, No. 3 Michigan State, No. 4 Iowa State, No. 5 Kansas, No. 6 Duke, No. 7 Oklahoma, No. 8 Villanova, No. 10 Gonzaga, No. 11 Arizona, No. 13 Indiana and No. 15 Miami (Fla.).
Gildan Charleston Classic – Nov. 17, 18 & 20
The Gildan Charleston Classic, held at TD Arena in Charleston, S.C., will include Boise State, College of Charleston, Mississippi State, UCF, UTEP, Villanova, Wake Forest and Western Michigan.
Villanova is ranked No. 11 in the Associated Press poll (Nov. 16).
A No. 1 seed in the NCAA Championship, Villanova played into the third round.
Boise State earned a NCAA Championship berth as a No. 11 seed.
UTEP participated in the NIT, while Western Michigan played in the CollegeInsider.com Postseason Tournament.
The Puerto Rico Tip-Off, held in San Juan, will showcase Arizona State, Clemson, Davidson, Missouri, Northern Iowa, Oklahoma, Tulane and Xavier.
Oklahoma is ranked No. 8 in the Associated Press poll (Nov. 16), while Xavier is receiving votes.
Four teams advanced to the NCAA Championship, including Sweet 16 participants No. 3 seed Oklahoma and No. 6 seed Xavier. Northern Iowa, as a five seed, advanced to the third round, while No. 10 seed Davidson was a second-round participant.
DIRECTV Wooden Legacy – Nov. 24, 25 & 27
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 Cal State-Northridge, Dayton, Nebraska, New Mexico, Portland, Texas A&M, UCLA and Virginia Tech.
Texas A&M and Dayton are receiving votes in the Associated Press poll (Nov. 16).
Both 11 seeds, UCLA made a run into the Sweet 16, while Dayton played to the third round.
Texas A&M participated in the NIT, while Portland played in the CollegeInsider.com Postseason Tournament.
The AdvoCare Invitational, held at HP Field House at ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex near Orlando, Fla., will feature Florida, Gonzaga, Indiana State, Iowa State, Miami (Fla.), Quinnipiac, Seton Hall and Stanford.
Iowa State stands at No. 4 in the Associated Press poll (Nov. 23), while Gonzaga is ranked No. 10 and Miami (Fla.) is No. 15.
A two seed, Gonzaga advanced to the to the Elite Eight, in addition to No. 3 seed Iowa State, which played into the second round.
2015 NIT title game participants including winner Stanford and runner-up Miami.
Armed Forces Classic – Friday, Nov. 11
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 Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam in Honolulu in 2016. The doubleheader will pit Indiana vs. Kansas and Arizona vs. Michigan State.
Kansas is ranked No. 4 in the Associated Press poll (Nov. 16), while Arizona is No. 12, Michigan State is No. 13 and Indiana is No. 14.
The event – this year on Veteran’s Day – is just under a month from the 75th anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor.
Known for its rich basketball history, the four programs have combined to win 11 NCAA titles and advance to 34 Men’s Final Fours.
The games will be televised on ESPN as part of the network’s America’s Heroes initiative honoring the men and women who are serving and who have served in the United States military, both at home and abroad.
State Farm Champions Classic – Tuesday, Nov. 15
The sixth installment of the State Farm Champions Classic will be played Madison Square Garden in New York City and will showcase Duke, Kansas, Kentucky and Michigan State.
Kentucky is ranked No. 2 in the Associated Press poll (Nov. 16), along with No. 4 Kansas, No. 5 Duke and No. 13 Michigan State.
Duke won the 2015 NCAA national title, while Kentucky and Michigan State were Final Four participants and Kansas advanced to the NCAA third round.