The Champions Classic, Charleston Classic, Puerto Rico Tip-Off, 76 Classic, Old Spice Classic and Hawaiian Airlines Diamond Head Classic 2011 tournament fields feature 26 teams that earned postseason berths, including 12 to the NCAA Championship and 10 to the National Invitation Tournament (NIT). The early-season men’s basketball tournaments, owned and operated by ESPN Regional Television (ERT), a subsidiary of ESPN, are held at destination sites with family-friendly activities surrounding the events.
The five multi-day, destination events consist of a bracket-format tournament and will feature 12 games over the three days. The teams compete once per day, advancing with a victory. The two remaining undefeated teams will meet in a championship match. The Champions Classic is a single-night event and will host four teams.
Champions Classic – Nov. 15
The Champions Classic, an early-season marquee event debuting in 2011, is set for Madison Square Garden in New York with Duke facing Michigan State and Kentucky meeting Kansas.
- All four teams qualified for the NCAA Championship, including a Final Four run by Kentucky;
- Kansas and Duke were tops seeds in the tournament, advancing to the Elite Eight and Sweet 16, respectively. Michigan State was a second round participant.
- Additional information, including travel packages, can be found on the soon-to-be-launched Champions Classic Web site at www.TheChampionsClassic.com.
Charleston Classic – Nov. 17, 18 & 20
The Charleston Classic field, held at Carolin First Arena in historic Charleston, S.C., will include Georgia Tech, LSU, Saint Joseph’s, Seton Hall, Tulsa, Virginia Commonwealth and Western Kentucky. A final team is still to be determined.
- Virginia Commonwealth made a magical run through the NCAA Championship, advancing to the national semifinal game while knocking off No. 11 seed USC, No. 6 seed Georgetown, No. 3 seed Purdue, No. 10 seed Florida State and No. 1 seed Kansas along the way;
- Additional information, including travel packages, can be found on the Charleston Classic Web site at www.CharlestonClassic.com.
Puerto Rico Tip-Off – Nov. 17, 18 & 20
The Puerto Rico Tip-Off, played at the Coliseo de Puerto Rico in the cosmopolitan Hato Rey district of San Juan, will include Alabama, Colorado, Iona, Maryland, Purdue, Temple, Western Michigan and Wichita State.
- Seven of the eight-team field advance to postseason play;
- Both Purdue and Temple reached the third round of the NCAA Championship;
- Wichita State topped Alabama in the NIT championship game, while Colorado was a semifinalist;
- Iona earned a berth to the CollegeInsider.com Postseason Tournament, advancing to a title game, and Western Michigan reached the second round;
- Additional information, including travel packages, can be found on the Puerto Rico Tip-Off Web site at www.PuertoRicoTipoff.com.
The 76 Classic, played at the Anaheim Convention Center adjacent to Disneyland, will include Boston College, UC Riverside, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Saint Louis, Santa Clara, Villanova and Washington State.
- Five of the eight-team field reached the 2011 postseason;
- Villanova advanced to the NCAA Championship second round;
- Washington State reached the semifinals of the NIT, while Boston College and New Mexico earned NIT berths, each advancing to the second round;
- Santa Clara won the title game of the CollegeInsider.com Tournament;
- Additional information, including travel packages surrounding Disneyland park experiences, can be found on the 76 Classic Web site at www.76Classic.com.
Old Spice Classic – Nov. 24, 25 & 27
The Old Spice Classic tournament field, held at the HP Field House at ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex near Orlando, Fla., will feature Arizona State, Dayton, DePaul, Fairfield, Indiana State, Minnesota, Texas Tech and Wake Forest.
- Indiana State earned a bid to the 2011 NCAA Championship;
- Dayton and Fairfield were NIT participants;
- Additional information on the weekend-long affair at the Walt Disney World Resort, including travel packages, can be found on the Old Spice Classic Web site at www.OldSpiceClassic.com.
Hawaiian Airlines Diamond Head Classic – Dec. 22, 23 & 25
The Hawaiian Airlines Diamond Head Classic, held at the Stan Sheriff Center in Honolulu, Hawaii, will entertain tournament host Hawaii, along with Auburn, Clemson, Kansas State, Long Beach State, Southern Illinois, UTEP and Xavier.
- Six teams in the field participated in 2011 postseason including three NCAA Championship berths;
- Clemson advanced to the second round of the NCAA Championship, while Kansas State reached the third round and Xavier played into the second round;
- Long Beach State and UTEP reached the first round of the NIT;
- Hawaii advanced to the second round of the CollegeInsider.com Tournament;
- Additional information for the family-friendly tournament and resort destination of Honolulu, Hawaii, including travel packages, can be found on the Hawaiian Airlines Diamond Head Classic Web site at www.HawaiianAirlinesDiamondHeadClassic.com.
2010 Fields Led Way to Postseason Play
The 2010 ESPN Regional Television early-season basketball tournaments led the way for many teams in the 2011 postseason as 26 teams advanced, including 14 participants in the NCAA Championship and eight in the NIT.
- North Carolina advanced to the Elite Eight of the NCAA Championship after opening the year at the Puerto Rico Tip-Off. Vanderbilt and West Virginia also clinched NCAA postseason berths;
- The Old Spice Classic had seven of its eight teams reach the postseason, including five to the NCAA Tournament – Wisconsin (Sweet 16), Notre Dame (Third Round), Temple (Third Round), Georgia (Second Round) and Texas A&M (Second Round);
- The Charleston Classic field produced five postseason contenders, including NCAA participants George Mason (Third Round), Georgetown (Second Round) and Wofford (Second Round);
- Butler reached the NCAA Championship title game after opening the season winning the Hawaiian Airlines Diamond Head Classic;
- Also beginning the year at the Hawaiian Airlines Diamond Head Classic – Florida State made a Sweet 16 appearance in the NCAA Tournament and Washington State earned a NIT semifinal berth.
ESPN Regional Television/Event Ownership
The nation’s largest syndicator of collegiate sports programming, ESPN Regional Television (ERT) annually produces more than 1,000 telecasts of sporting events. Programming includes football, basketball, NCAA events, golf and NHRA events accounting for more than 2,200 live and/or original hours of programming. In addition to event ownership, ERT is the production headquarters for ESPNU, the 24-hour college sports network; syndication rights-holder and producer of national, regional and local shows for college conferences (e.g. – SEC, BIG EAST, Big 12, Mid-American, WAC).
ESPN Regional Television markets and/or owns several sporting events, including collegiate football events: Beef ‘O’ Brady’s Bowl St. Petersburg; Bell Helicopter Armed Forces Bowl (Fort Worth, Texas); BBVA Compass Bowl (Birmingham, Ala.); MAACO Bowl Las Vegas; New Mexico Bowl (Albuquerque); Sheraton Hawai’i Bowl (Honolulu); Meineke Car Care Bowl of Texas (Houston); MEAC/SWAC Challenge presented by Disney (Orlando, Fla.) and The Home Depot ESPNU College Football Awards. Collegiate basketball events: 76 Classic (Anaheim, Calif.); Champion’s Classic (Madison Square Garden; debuts 2011); Charleston Classic (S.C.); Hawaiian Airlines Diamond Head Classic (Honolulu); Old Spice Classic (Walt Disney World Resort near Orlando, Fla.); Puerto Rico Tip-Off (San Juan); All-College Basketball Classic (Oklahoma City), BracketBusters. In addition to the ESPNU Warrior Classic (Lacrosse), the Hawaiian Islands Invitational (Soccer) and the ESPN National Golf Challenge. For more information, visit ESPNPlus.com.