Great Alaska Shootout Field Set: No Big Six Conference Teams Involved

In 2010, St. John's took down Arizona State to win the Great Alaska Shootout, in a game that only a relative few got to see on cable or satellite. Those numbers may be even smaller this year, as Anchorage's Thanksgiving Weekend tradition retains an eight-team field, after dropping to six in 2009, but will not feature a team from one of the six major conferences. This isn't totally unexpected given how ESPN has taken to running its own events, in slightly warmer climes, over the holiday.

Now that doesn't mean there won't be a team from above the Red Line, as Southern Mississippi will represent Conference USA, which jumps back up, thanks to its new TV deal with Fox Sports, but Murray State is arguably the biggest name in the field, even with Billy Kennedy now coaching in College Station, Texas.

Both of those teams will be in action on the first day of the event, the day before Thanksgiving, as the Golden Eagles will face host Alaska-Anchorage and the Racers will take on UC Irvine from the Big West. Thanksgiving night's quarterfinal action features Central Michigan (MAC) taking on San Francisco (West Coast) and New Mexico State, a potential WAC contender, taking on Dartmouth (Ivy). The semifinals and consolation games are set for "Black Friday," with the final and placement games for Saturday, November 26th.

I've updated the 2011 Early Season Event page with the info from this post.

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