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2016 Savannah Invitational Primer: Akron Headlines New Tournament

Today's preview entry concerns a new event that focuses on teams from outside of the power conferences.

Derik Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports

To catch up on all of the posts in this series visit the 2016-17 Early Season Events hub.

What Is It?

The Savannah Invitational (official website)

How Long Has This Event Been Around?

This tournament is new for the 2016-17 season.

When And Where Is It?

Each of the four teams from the visitors' bracket will play at a pair of host bracket schools in mid-November, then all eight squads will play a pair of games at the Savannah Civic Center in Savannah, Georgia on Friday, November 25th and Saturday, November 26th.

Who's Playing?

Curiously, for an event that doesn't feature a power conference team, the organizers split the bracket between hosts and visitors. I'm presuming they took this path to ensure all participants four Division I games.

The four host schools are pulled from the upper echelons of the non-power conference ranks and will play a two-round bracketed event in Savannah.

Mercer
Mercer Bears (SoCon)
vs. 
East Carolina Pirates (American)
ECU
Akrom
Akron Zips (MAC) 
vs. 
Air Force Falcons (MW)
Air Force

While the organizers haven't yet announced all of the visitors' bracket teams' road games—all that's listed here are the ones revealed after schedule releases by Mercer and Air Force—the two Savannah opponents for each are known. Note that the quartet will play in a showcase format.

I'll update this post with the full schedule of road games when they're revealed.

Team Road Games Savannah Opponents
FAMU
Florida A&M Rattlers
(MEAC)
Air Force Georgia Southern
Stetson
Georgia Sthn
Georgia Southern Eagles
(Sun Belt)
Mercer Florida A&M
Radford
Radford
Radford Highlanders
(Big South)
Mercer Stetson
Georgia Southern
Stetson
Stetson Hatters
(A-Sun)
Air Force Radford
Florida A&M

Logos from SportsLogos.net

Did Any Of These Teams Make The NCAAs or NIT Last Season?

Only two of the eight participants reached the 2016 postseason, and neither won a game. Akron dropped its NIT opener to the Ohio State Buckeyes, while the Coastal Carolina Chanticleers eliminated Mercer from the CollegeInsider.com Tournament.

Despite its ineligibility for the NCAAs or NIT, Stetson reached the final of the Atlantic Sun Tournament, which it lost to the Fla Gulf Coast Eagles.

Any Notable Recent Meetings?

Just last season, East Carolina rolled Stetson at the Orleans Arena in a Las Vegas Invitational game. The Pirates also took care of Florida A&M in a December 22, 2014 home game.

FAMU lost to Stetson twice—once at the home of the Northern Colorado Bears as part of a round-robin tournament and then in DeLand—during a 2-27 2014-15 campaign. The Rattlers had defeated the Hatters at home the season before, after losing to Stetson in their two prior meetings.

Even though the two won't meet in Savannah, Georgia Southern defeated Stetson in each of the last two seasons.

Florida A&M and Radford did not meet in the 2013 Las Vegas Classic visitors' bracket.

Will It Be On TV?

No TV or streaming coverage has been announced as of yet. I'll update this post and the Early Season Events page with any announcement.

Who Do You Think Will Win?

The two host teams that finished with winning records should go through to the championship game, with Akron looking to be a bit too much for Mercer.

Semifinals

Mercer over East Carolina
Akron over Air Force

Finals

Consolation: Air Force over East Carolina
Championship: Akron over Mercer

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