Mar 14, 2012; Dayton, OH, USA; California Golden Bears guard Justin Cobbs (1) scores against the South Florida Bulls during the first round of the 2012 NCAA men's basketball tournament at Dayton Arena. South Florida won the game 65-54. Mandatory Credit: Greg Bartram-US PRESSWIRE
ESPN Plus revealed the full field for the 2012 Anaheim Classic earlier today. My immediate reaction was that the Southern California tournament will have a distinctly Northern California feel.
We already knew that Drake (MVC) would be making the trip to Disneyland, thanks to message boards, and that Xavier (A-10) was slated to participate after their withdrawal from the Puerto Rico Tip-Off, prompted because of what would have been a quick turnaround after a Tip-Off Marathon home game against Butler. As for the remaining six teams, three, California (Pac-12), Pacific (Big West), and St. Mary's (West Coast), will stay in-state for their 2012 exempt event. The Tigers and Gaels will soon be conference rivals as Pacific will shift from the host Big West to the West Coast Conference in time for the 2013-14 season. Drexel (CAA), Georgia Tech (ACC), and Rice (Conference USA) round out the field. The Dragons and Drake were both in the 2011 Paradise Jam, though they didn't meet during the event. Meanwhile, the Owls are coached by Ben Braun, who used to be in charge at Cal.
St. Mary's is the only team among the eight to make a previous appearance in Anaheim, as a Patrick Mills-led team finished in fourth place in 2008.
In other exempt tournament news...
- Patrick from WhiteAndBlueReview.com emailed me with information on the South Padre Invitational. It looks like UAB (Conference USA), Northwestern (Big Ten), and TCU (Big 12) will join already confirmed Illinois State (MVC) as host schools, with Fairleigh Dickinson (Northeast) and Navy (Patriot) serving as two of the four visitors.
- Patrick and Buzz from GopherHole.com also advised me of some NIT Season Tip-Off news. Delaware (CAA), Fairfield (MAAC), and Robert Morris (NEC) will play in the Virginia regional. (So much for the Cavaliers' participation being "rumored.") Southland champion Lamar is also slated to participate
- The Cardinals may very well play at Kansas State, who will also serve as a regional host. Pat Knight's team could run into in-state rival North Texas there, as the Sun Belt power is also in the field. (H/T Johnson Jennings via email)
I've updated the 2012 Early Season Tournaments And Events page with this information. I've also moved the Barclays Classic into the Round-Robin Events section, as I recently realized the doubleheader in Brooklyn, anchored by National Champion Kentucky and Maryland is actually a five-team tournament (I'm not Rick Rolling you with the link), not a one-off contest.
As it stands now, only eight teams from the Big Six conferences are without an event for this season: Rutgers and USF from the Big East; Michigan State and Nebraska from the Big Ten; and Auburn, Florida, LSU, and South Carolina from the SEC.