The 2015 Hawaiian Airlines Diamond Head Classic placed three of its participants in the NCAA Championship field, led by champion Oklahoma (No. 2, West). The Sooners are joined by Missouri Valley tournament champion Northern Iowa (No. 11, West) and Big West tournament champion Hawaii (No. 13, South). BYU, who went 2-1 in Honolulu, was invited to the NIT.
The 2016 Hawaiian Airlines Diamond Head Classic will feature four schools currently in the NCAA Championship: Utah, Tulsa, Hawaii and Stephen F. Austin. They will be joined by NIT invitee San Diego State as well as Illinois State, San Francisco and Southern Miss. The tournament will be played Dec. 22, 23 and 25 at the Stan Sheriff Center in Honolulu.
The Hawaiian Airlines Diamond Head Classic is one of nine worldwide men’s early season college basketball events owned and operated by ESPN Events, a division of ESPN. Twenty-nine of this season’s 57 participants across these events were selected to the 2016 NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Championship field.
The Charlotte, N.C., based group manages six multiple-team events consisting of the Hawaiian Airlines Diamond Head Classic, Gildan Charleston Classic, Puerto Rico Tip-Off, DIRECTV Wooden Legacy, AdvoCare Invitational and NIT Season Tip-Off. The multi-day, destination events staged from Charleston, S.C., San Juan, Puerto Rico, Orange County, Calif., Orlando, Brooklyn and Honolulu, respectively, are all bracket-format tournaments.
In addition to the multiple-team tournaments, ESPN Events also manages three neutral men’s basketball events including the Armed Forces Classic, State Farm Champions Classic and Jimmy V Classic presented by Corona.
Each 2015 event featured at least two participants who earned a selection to the NCAA Championship. The AdvoCare Invitational led the way with all eight participating teams selected to play in the postseason, including six in the NCAA Championship and two in the NIT. The entire fields from the Armed Forces Classic, State Farm Champions Classic and Jimmy V Classic presented by Corona were also selected.
All six ESPN Events multiple-team event 2015 champions earned NCAA bids: Virginia from the Gildan Charleston Classic (No. 1 seed, Midwest Region), Miami from the Puerto Rico Tip-Off (No. 3, South), Michigan State from the DIRECTV Wooden Legacy (No. 2, Midwest), Xavier from the AdvoCare Invitational (No. 2, East), Villanova from the NIT Season Tip-Off (No. 2, South) and Oklahoma from the Hawaiian Airlines Diamond Head Classic (No. 2, West).