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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.