With the fields for the majority of 2011's Early Season Tournaments filled, news is now coming out in a trickle here in mid-May. In fact, much of the information in this post must truly be classified as "speculation." Still, there are a few insights I'd like to share with you after the jump.
Bill Krueger writes on the N.C. State alumni blog that new Wolfpack head coach Mark Gottfried is trying to bolster his team's non-conference schedule. Among these efforts is a drive to get N.C. State in the 2011 edition of the Legends Classic, which wraps up with a four-team tournament in Atlantic City over Thanksgiving weekend. The post indicates that three of the four host schools for the event are set--Oregon State (Pac-12), Texas (Big 12), and Vanderbilt (SEC), though there hasn't been any official word on the Gazelle Group's website. Expect an official announcement soon if N.C. State's participation is all but a done deal.
Texas won the inaugural legends Classic four years ago, while none of the other three presumed BCS conference participants have played in the event.
With Vanderbilt's likely participation in Atlantic City, all 12 SEC teams should feature in an exempt multi-team event this season. That's because Arkansas are probably anchoring a five-team round-robin tournament of its own. Corey, who blogs all things Oakland over at Grizzlies Gameplan, e-mailed me a few weeks ago to tip me off to comments by Golden Grizzlies' coach Greg Kampe that indicated his team may participate in an event with the Razorbacks, Houston (C-USA), Grambling State (SWAC), and potentially Louisiana Tech (WAC). Games against Arkansas and Houston are mentioned in this Paul Kampe story in the Oakland Press, so it looks like this event could be in the cards, but considering the Razorbacks and Louisiana Tech brought new coaches aboard this offseason, things could change.
As Panther Rich indicated in the comments of my last Early Season Event post, Pittsburgh looks to be the anchor for the 2011 edition of the Hoop Group Classic in Philadelphia. The Panthers' participation would mean all 16 Big East teams are in an event for this season. Penn (Ivy) would be the Big Five/City Six representative in the event, which had four teams in 2010, but featured six Division I teams in 2009 and eight in 2007 and 2008.
In short here are the events lacking teams and the number of slots each needs to fill.
CBE Classic: 8 subregional/visiting teams
Charleston Classic: 1 team
Chicago Invitational Challenge: 4 lower bracket/visiting teams
Coaches vs. Cancer Classic: 8 subregional/visiting teams
Great Alaska Shootout: 1 team
Las Vegas Classic: 1 upper bracket/host team, 4 lower bracket/visiting teams
Las Vegas Holiday Hoops Classic: Number of teams TBD (if it even happens)
Legends Classic: 4 regional hosts (who all may be unofficially known), 8 subregional teams
Maui Invitational: 2 "Maui-on-Mainland" visiting teams
NIT Season Tip-Off: 2 regional hosts, 10 subregional teams
Philly Hoop Group Classic: Number of teams TBD
South Padre Island Invitational: 1 upper bracket/host team, 1 lower bracket/visiting team
Sport Tours Classic (Daytona Beach): Number of teams TBD (if it even happens)
Here are the notable teams not yet confirmed/speculated for an event:
A-10: Charlotte, Duquesne, Fordham, George Washington, La Salle, Rhode Island, St. Bonaventure
Big Ten: Nebraska, Northwestern
Big 12: Oklahoma State
CAA: Delaware, Georgia State, Hofstra, James Madison, UNC Wilmington, Northeastern, William & Mary
CUSA: UAB, East Carolina, Rice, SMU, Tulane
MWC: Air Force, Boise State, Colorado State, San Diego State, Wyoming
Pac-12: Oregon,Stanford, Washington
WAC: Fresno State, Idaho, San Jose State, Utah State (likely to host a round-robin, as is traditional)
WCC: Gonzaga, Loyola Marymount, Pepperdine, Portland, St. Mary's, San Diego
Other Notables: Belmont, Princeton
The 2011 Early Season Event page is again updated with the info from this post. As always, if you have any further information on these events, please e-mail me or leave a comment.