Are you a team that wants to participate in an exempt event but doesn't want to give up home games? Are you most likely in a power conference? If so, a round-robin featuring more than five teams and focused on your home floor is your best option!
These non-bracketed events, which typically feature five or six teams and may or may not be played as a true round robin, even make life difficult for the few of us that track college basketball non-conference scheduling. In many cases, games in these events aren't labeled on schedules. In these cases, I'll first count the number of games to see if a multi-team event is a possibility. If so, I'll check to see if there are four games clustered in a two-week window in November, since that will give me an idea about who else is participating. Then, I'll check those teams' schedules to see if they have similar opponents in the same November timeframe. If I can find five or six teams meeting all of those qualifications, the event goes up on the Early Season Events Page.
Of course, there are a few events like the Gazelle Group's Gotham Classic and Global Sports Management's various tournaments that make it easy. BD Global's events are a little more hit or miss in terms of publicity.
Note that some of these events aren't complete round-robins, even if five Division I teams are involved. Some participants will elect to play three D1 schools and one from a lower division. I'll call out these exceptions in my capsules, and they're also listed on the Early Season Events Page.
To catch up on all of the posts in this series visit the 2016-17 Early Season Events hub.
Global Sports Shootout
|Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets (ACC)|
|Ohio Bobcats (MAC)|
|Sam Houston State Bearkats (Southland)|
|Southern Jaguars (SWAC)|
Tennessee Tech Golden Eagles (OVC)
This Global Sports event serves as the curtain-raiser for Josh Pastner's run in Atlanta. The Yellow Jackets will welcome all four opponents to McCamish Pavilion, and they should be challenged. All five participants played in the 2016 postseason, with Southern falling to the late-blooming Holy Cross Crusaders in the NCAA First Four and the Jackets losing to San Diego State Aztecs in the NIT quarterfinals.
While this will be the first participation in a Global-run event for Georgia Tech, Sam Houston State, and Tennessee Tech, this will be the fifth in a row for Southern and the first for Ohio since the Louisville-anchored Global Sports Invitational in 2011.
Orange Express Showcase
|Fresno State Bulldogs (MW)|
|Lamar Cardinals (Southland)|
|Oregon State Beavers (Pac-12)|
|Prairie View A&M Panthers (SWAC)|
|UTSA Roadrunners (C-USA)|
For the second season in a row, Oregon State anchors a BD Global event, though the Beavers will hope for a better showing against a weaker field than what they encountered in the Beavers Showcase. Wayne Tinkle's team dropped a six-point decision to the Valparaiso Crusaders in Corvallis, though that result didn't help the Horizon League regular season champs join Oregon State as an at-large selection.
Fresno State and Lamar both participated in the Roundball Showcase, another BD Global event, last season, with the Bulldogs defeating the Cardinals at the Save Mart Center by eight en route to a 4-0 record. UTSA served as one of the "Middleweight" teams in BD Global's 2015 Men Who Speak Up Main Event. Fresno State, however, went 0-3 in the second edition of the Gulf Coast Showcase in 2014. Lamar lost all three of its games against D1 opposition in that year's Hoosier Showcase, only defeating LSU-Alexandria.
Last season, the Beavers and Bulldogs qualified for the NCAAs, while Lamar and UTSA finished rock bottom in their respective conferences, while Prairie View didn't contend in the SWAC.
Global Sports Invitational
|Jackson State Tigers (SWAC)|
|Marshall Thundering Herd (C-USA)|
|NC Central Eagles (MEAC)|
|Ohio State Buckeyes (Big Ten)|
|Western Carolina Catamounts (SoCon)|
Ohio State, a 2016 NIT squad, will host all four of its opponents in an event that probably won't provide much punch to the Buckeyes' non-conference slate. Jackson State (CollegeInsider.com Tournament) and Western Carolina (who participated in the CBI with a losing record) are the only other 2016 postseason teams in this field, though Marshall finished above .500 and, more promisingly, 12-6 in Conference USA in Dan D'Antoni's second season in Huntington.
Four of the five teams—Western Carolina is the exception—have been frequent participants in Global Sports events since 2010. The Catamounts' prior appearance was in the Cincinnati Bearcats' Peggy Cronin Classic back in 2007.
|Canisius Golden Griffins (MAAC)|
|Cleveland State Vikings (Horizon)|
|Duquesne Dukes (A 10)|
|Kentucky Wildcats (SEC)|
|UT Martin Skyhawks (OVC)|
Back in November 2014, Kentucky rolled through its four home games in the BD Global-organized Cawood Ledford Classic, named in memory of the Wildcats' longtime radio voice. They'll be expected to do the same in this event, which features just two other 2016 postseason entrants—Duquesne was eliminated in the second round of the CBI to finish at .500, while UT Martin won 20 games thanks to a CollegeInsider.com victory.
In the only other participation by a member of this group in a BD Global event, the Dukes dropped their Gulf Coast Showcase opener to the Pepperdine Waves before rallying to defeat the Milwaukee Panthers and Western Kentucky Hilltoppers.
|Delaware State Hornets (MEAC)|
|James Madison Dukes (CAA)|
|Louisiana Ragin' Cajuns (Sun Belt)|
|Montana State Bobcats (Big Sky)|
|Rice Owls (C-USA)|
|Texas Southern Tigers (SWAC)|
Now, with six teams participating in this BD Global event, it won't be a true round-robin, but each team will play a quartet of games against Division I opposition. Of these teams, only JMU hasn't participated in a BD Global-run tournament in recent seasons. Texas Southern has only won a single game in each of its three previous appearances, including last season's Men Who Speak Up Main Event. It's a similar story for Delaware State, who went 1-3 in the 2014 Roundball Showcase, and UL Lafayette, who won just once in the 2014 MGM Grand Main Event and the 2012 Spartan Showcase. (The Ragin' Cajuns accounted for Texas Southern's lone win in that event.) Montana State won just one of its three games in the 2014 Cawood Ledford Classic, with their game at Buffalo canceled due to weather. Rice went 2-2 in the 2014 Roundball Showcase, but didn't play Delaware State. They'll meet in Houston on November 23rd.
Only the SWAC regular season champs, who fell to Valparaiso in the first round of the NIT, and UL Lafayette, who fell to UC Irvine in its third CollegeInsider.com Tournament game, reached the postseason last March. Texas Southern looks the most likely 2017 NCAA threat in this group.
Brooklyn Hoops Holiday Invitational
|Holy Cross Crusaders (Patriot)|
|Monmouth Hawks (MAAC)|
|South Carolina Gamecocks (SEC)|
|South Carolina State Bulldogs (MEAC)|
Syracuse Orange (ACC)
The showcase game of this event's second edition—South Carolina's showdown with Syracuse at the Barclays Center—should be a bit more important than the first, which saw the Louisville Cardinals blow out the Saint Louis Billikens. But the 2016 Brooklyn Hoops Holiday Invitational would have been more exciting, and potentially have a bigger impact on the field of 68, if it had taken place in November of 2015. That's because the Gamecocks and Orange share this field with fellow 2016 bubble squad Monmouth. The Hawks, like Holy Cross and South Carolina State, will travel to Columbia and Syracuse with revenge for their NCAA snub and the hope of a do-over in 2017 on their minds.
After playing their three road games, the trio of mid-majors will play their own round-robin at Holy Cross over Thanksgiving weekend. The showcase game is scheduled for the Saturday afternoon of Thanksgiving weekend before the final round of the Barclays Center Classic that evening.
Scarlet Knight Showcase
|Drexel Dragons (CAA)|
|Hartford Hawks (AE)|
|Niagara Purple Eagles (MAAC)|
|North Texas Mean Green (C-USA)|
|Rutgers Scarlet Knights (Big Ten)|
None of the five teams in this BD Global-organized event finished the 2015-16 season with a winning record, and only 10-23 Hartford and 12-20 North Texas cracked double digits in the win column last year. Two of Rutgers' seven victories came in the on-campus rounds of the Men Who Speak Up Main Event, but the Scarlet Knights went 0-2 in Las Vegas. They'll host all four opponents in this event. Also last season, North Texas lost all three games in the Mean Green Showcase, which it hosted. One year earlier, the Mean Green did go 2-2 in another BD Global event, the Roundball Showcase, anchored by Arkansas and Wake Forest.
Golden Gopher Showcase
|Arkansas Razorbacks (SEC)|
|Minnesota Golden Gophers (Big Ten)|
|Mount St. Mary's Mountaineers (NEC)|
|Southern Illinois Salukis (MVC)|
|UT Arlington Mavericks (Sun Belt)|
Even though this event is built around the first game of a home-and-home series for the Golden Gophers and Razorbacks, the UT Arlington Mavericks might just be the team with the highest hopes in this field. Last season, the Mavericks won at both Ohio State and Memphis Tigers in a HoopHall event (though they lost at Louisiana Tech in the same round-robin), gaining plenty of national attention. Unfortunately, star forward Kevin Hervey injured his knee and missed the bulk of UTA's Sun Belt campaign. Without him, the Mavericks fell in the Sun Belt semifinals and in the second round of the CollegeInsider.com Tournament. But Hervey is back and UT Arlington is the league favorite as a result.
Arkansas has NCAA hopes of its own, but this event's namesake squad has a long way to go to get back to respectability after an eight-win 2015-16 campaign. Southern Illinois might challenge in the Missouri Valley, while Mount St. Mary's should contend in the NEC.
Note that Southern Illinois and UT Arlington will each only play three Division I opponents in this event—the pair won't meet.
While this will be the third BD Global event Arkansas has anchored (along with the 2010 Razorback Showcase and 2014 Roundball Showcase), it will be the first for Minnesota. Southern Illinois went 1-2 in the 2013 Gulf Coast Showcase, while UT Arlington won just once in four Cawood Ledford Classic games in 2014.
San Diego Classic
|Bethune Cookman Wildcats (MEAC)|
|New Mexico State Aggies (WAC)|
|Nicholls State Colonels (Southland)|
|Samford Bulldogs (SoCon)|
San Diego Toreros (WCC)
Since its 2012 participation in the 2K Classic, New Mexico State has partnered with other Western schools in building events like this one, with the Aggies going on the road (with the host returning the trip the following season). San Diego, who finished last in the WCC last season, follows Colorado State, Wyoming, and Air Force in filling the host role previously.
The Aggies, coming off yet another WAC regular season crown, are the best team of this group by a considerable margin, as both Nicholls State and Samford struggled as badly as USD did in 2016-17. Bethune Cookman, meanwhile, went 10-6 in the MEAC, despite only winning 14 games overall. The Wildcats dropped a 23-point decision in Las Cruces back in November of 2013, when they participated in the event NMSU and Colorado State anchored.
The three Southern teams will play a three-game round-robin in Samford's home arena in Birmingham, though each member of the trio will visit Las Cruces and San Diego.
California Bears Classic
|Alcorn State Braves (SWAC)|
|California Golden Bears (Pac-12)|
|Colorado State Rams (MW)|
|Louisiana Tech Bulldogs (C-USA)|
|UMES Fighting Hawks (MEAC)|
|Southeastern Louisiana Lions (Southland)|
This six-team event has one major flaw—the two anchor teams, Cal and Colorado State, aren't meeting. This is one of those events where I had to use some deductive reasoning to figure out the participants. In the Rams' case, I noticed that they had 13 non-conference games on the schedule—31 in total. But they didn't have an exempt event listed. After checking out the slates of Cal and UMES, I noticed a pattern of games and dates, and eventually Louisiana Tech's schedule (and Cal's for that matter) put a name on the event.
This event's namesake is only playing three games, welcoming Southeastern Louisiana, Louisiana Tech, and Alcorn State to Berkeley. Meanwhile, Colorado State, UMES, and Alcorn State are all playing non-Division I squads.
Cal was the only 2016 NCAA squad among these six, while Louisiana Tech lost in the first round of the Vegas 16.
|Indiana Hoosiers (Big Ten)|
|Fort Wayne Mastodons (Summit)|
|Liberty Flames (Big South)|
|UMass Lowell River Hawks (AE)|
Mississippi Valley State Delta Devils (SWAC)
If you though the non-existent marquee game in the California Bears Classic was an interesting scenario, take a look at the Indiana Classic's showcase matchup. While the Hoosiers are organizing this tournament, they're traveling to Fort Wayne to play the Mastodons. But BTN is televising the game and IU apparently controls the tickets.
Once again, Indiana will likely be an NCAA team, though a relatively weak non-conference schedule might limit the Hoosiers' seeding. Fort Wayne heads into the Summit campaign as the favorite—months after finishing in a tie for the regular season crown with South Dakota State Jackrabbits and earning an NIT bid. As for the other three participants, last season didn't go quite so well. None finished above .500 overall and only Liberty managed to win more than they lost in conference play. Note that this will be UMass Lowell's final season as a Division I transitional school—they'll finally be eligible for the Big Dance in 2018.
Between November 21st and 23rd, Liberty will host a round-robin for three teams not involved in the marquee game. Also, the Flames and Fort Wayne won't meet at all, each will play a non-Division I game instead. Liberty's opponent, Central Penn, is also meeting UMES as part of the Fighting Hawks' participation in the event described immediately above.
|Kennesaw State Fighting Owls (A-Sun)|
|UMass Minutemen (A 10)|
|North Carolina A&T Aggies (MEAC)|
|Pacific Tigers (WCC)|
Rider Broncs (MAAC)
This will be the fifth edition of the Gotham Classic, but the first without a marquee game at Madison Square Garden. Last season, the Pittsburgh Panthers defeated the Davidson Wildcats in the showcase, but in 2014, the Richmond Spiders-Pepperdine Waves centerpiece wasn't considered attractive enough. So, Gazelle tacked on a North Carolina State Wolfpack-West Virginia Mountaineers non-exempt showdown to the bill.
In 2016, no power conference team joined the field, leaving the Atlantic 10's UMass Minutemen in the anchor spot, and they'll get four games at the Mullins Center for their trouble. This field is remarkably weak, as none of the five participants won more than 14 games a season ago (UMass) and only Kennesaw State reached .500 in league play.
Be sure to follow @ChrisDobbertean on Twitter and to like Blogging the Bracket on Facebook and Google Plus.