2011 Early Season Tournament Fields Announced Before 2010 Editions Even Tip

A little less than a month ago, the Maui Invitational's organizers revealed the field for the 2011 event.

Today, I happened to take a quick look at Twitter on my phone and noticed that the 76 Classic announced the bulk of its 2011 participants.

Further browsing revealed that five of the six ESPN-owned events--all except for the Diamond Head Classic--had sent out a field announcement. Once the hour became more reasonable in Hawai'i Standard Time, that total became six.

So, for fans for several schools, you can start your travel planning for the 2011 holiday season now. This post's primary purpose is to provide information on that front, not to project how these events will actually play out. (We do have to get through this season and an offseason after all.) Follow me after the jump for the fields, which in most cases are only nearly complete.

The exception is the Charleston Classic, which revealed all eight participants: Baylor (Big 12), Georgia Tech (ACC), LSU (SEC), St. Joseph's (A-10), Seton Hall (Big East), Tulsa (C-USA), VCU (CAA), and Western Kentucky (Sun Belt).  This event's 2011 field is far more national in scope than the 2010 version, which is Carolina/Mid-Atlantic-focused.

Curiously, no Southern Conference team is in the field, despite the fact that it's the host conference. While this is odd, it's by no means unusual. The Legends Classic is sponsored by the Northeast Conference, but only Fairleigh Dickinson has represented that league in the event, back in 2008.

The Puerto Rico Tip-Off is also slated for the week before Thanksgiving, and seven of its eight teams are now known: Alabama (SEC), Colorado (Pac-12), Iona (MAAC), Maryland (ACC), Purdue (Big Ten), Temple (A-10), and Wichita State (MVC). The one open spot should go to a Big East team, since that conference hosts the tournament, and isn't likely to get overlooked like the SoCon.

This will be the Owls' second trip to San Juan, as they played in the inaugural event in 2007. Alabama is in the Paradise Jam, in the neighboring Virgin Islands, this season.

Moving to Thanksgiving week, ESPN announced seven of the eight teams in the Old Spice Classic and 76 Classic fields. These seven teams will play at Walt Disney WorldArizona State (Pac-12), Dayton (A-10), DePaul (Big East), Fairfield (MAAC, host), Minnesota (Big Ten), Texas Tech (Big 12), and Wake Forest (ACC).

Look for an SEC team to fill the final spot, as that conference has had a team in the event each season.

This will be the Golden Gophers' second appearance in the event, as they participated in the first-ever Old Spice Classic in 2006.

Meanwhile, in Anaheim, the host Big West slot is the only one open, as Boston College (ACC), New Mexico (MWC), Oklahoma (Big 12), Saint Louis (A-10), Santa Clara (WCC), Villanova (Big East), and Washington State (Pac-12) are signed up.

There are two open spots in each of ESPN's Christmas week tournaments.

Even with six teams, the 2011 edition of the Cancun Governor's Cup looks slightly stronger than the 2010 one. It features College of Charleston (SoCon), Kansas State (Big 12), Massachusetts (A-10), Rice (C-USA, host), Southern Illinois (MVC), and Utah (Pac-12).

Hawai'i (WAC) will once again host the Diamond Head Classic, where they will be joined by Clemson (ACC), Long Beach State (Big West), Texas A&M (Big 12), UTEP (C-USA), Xavier (A-10), and two others.

Curiously, this will be the third season in a row in which the Tigers and 49ers find themselves in the same event. Clemson defeated Long Beach State in a consolation semifinal in Anaheim last season, and the two meet in the quarterfinals of this season's Paradise Jam.

As always, if I find out more about these fields or any of the other tournaments scheduled for November and December of 2011, I'll post that info here.

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