Even though we are all awaiting Selection Sunday, and the conclusion of the 2011-12 campaign, I figured that I would round up some early season event news for next season anyway. Details after the jump...
For starters, the Gazelle Group today revealed the four host schools for the 2012 2K Sports Classic Benefiting the Wounded Warrior Project at Madison Square Garden. Villanova (Big East) is arguably the marquee team in the field for the pre-Thanksgiving event, thanks to geography, but Alabama (SEC) and Purdue (Big Ten) are the only two of the four likely to be participating in this season's NCAA Tournament. Oregon State (Pac-12), who finished second at Gazelle's Legends Classic this season, rounds out the quartet of schools guaranteed to make an appearance in New York City.
That wasn't the only announcement made today. Kansas was originally ticketed for the 76 Classic in Anaheim, they are staying closer to home after all. The Jayhawks will join soon-to-be former Big 12 rival Texas A&M (future SEC) at the CBE Classic in Kansas City next November, alongside Saint Louis (Atlantic 10) and Washington State (Pac-12).
Turning our attention to slightly warmer climes, DePaul (Big East), Iowa (Big Ten), Western Kentucky (Sun Belt), and Wichita State (Missouri Valley) will be the four host schools in the 2012 Cancun Challenge. Those four teams will compete in the Riviera Division of the event, after they each host a pair of Mayan Division participants. Those squads are Austin Peay (Ohio Valley), Gardner-Webb (Big South), Howard (MEAC), and Western Carolina (Southern).
UNLV Runnin' Rebels are getting into the exempt event business for 2012, as it plans to host an eight-team eventwith a format that's to be determined. The Mountain West power has signed up Cincinnati (Big East), Iowa State (Big 12), Jacksonville (Atlantic Sun), Northern Arizona (Big Sky), and Oregon (Pac-12) so far.
Xavier's destination is now up in the air. Earlier this season, it appeared that the Musketeers would head to San Juan to participate in the Puerto Rico Tip-Off, an event they won in 2008. However, it appears the athletic department isn't keen on the event's current field is shaping up, at least according to the Cincinnati Enquirer's Shannon Russell. Message board postings indicate Akron (MAC), N.C. State (ACC), Oklahoma State (Big 12), Penn State (Big Ten), Providence (Big East), Southern Miss. (C-USA), and Tennessee (SEC) will participate. Russell writes that another ESPN-run event is Xavier's likely destination, which means the 76 Classic is a likely destination. The Charleston Classic has an open slot, but Dayton Flyers are already representing the Atlantic 10 in that event. The Musketeers played in the Diamond Head Classic last season and in the Old Spice Classic, which happens to be full, in 2009.
I'll have more early season event field updates as I get them and, particularly over the next week, as time allows. The four host schools for the Coaches vs. Cancer Classic are scheduled to be announced on St. Patrick's Day.