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2016 Global Sports Classic Primer: UNLV Hosts But Washington The Favorite

After a difficult offseason, the Runnin' Rebels will be challenged by TCU and either the Huskies (an NIT qualifier last season) or Western Kentucky in this Thanksgiving weekend event.

James Snook-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 Global Sports Classic (This event doesn't yet have an official website.)

How Long Has This Event Been Around?

From last season's primer...

This event has been held in Las Vegas intermittently. Cincinnati won the last edition, in 2012, defeating host UNLV and Oregon along the way. That was four years after the first such tournament, claimed by Florida State, who toppled the Bearcats and California at the Thomas & Mack Center. The home team went 0-2 that year.

For the first time, this event was held in 2015 without the participation of the UNLV Runnin' Rebels, though the school hosted at Cox Pavilion, the smaller arena that's attached to the Thomas & Mack that serves as the regular home of UNLV's women's basketball and volleyball teams.

Will this tournament continue to be a regular event? We will have to see.

When And Where Is It?

This is another split-bracket event. Each of the four visitors' bracket teams will play a pair of road games against hosts' bracket schools before Thanksgiving weekend. At that point, all eight squads head to Las Vegas for a pair of two-round tournaments. Semifinals are set for Friday, November 25th, with the finals one day later on Saturday, November 26th.

Who's Playing?

While this tournament's full schedule isn't yet out, you can bet the home team will be playing the second semifinal on Friday night.

Washington
Washington Huskies (Pac-12)
vs. 
Western Kentucky Hilltoppers (C-USA)
WKU
TCU
TCU Horned Frogs (Big 12) 
at
UNLV Runnin' Rebels (MW)
UNLV

While I've seen enough information to deduce the four visitors' preliminary road games, the semifinal matchups aren't out there yet. I will update this post after their release.

Team Road Games Semifinal Opponent
Alabama St
Alabama State Hornets
(SWAC)
Western Kentucky
TCU

CSUF
Cal State Fullerton Titans
(Big West)
Washington
UNLV

Jax St
Jacksonville State Gamecocks
(OVC)
Western Kentucky
TCU

NAU
Northern Arizona Lumberjacks
(BIg Sky)
Washington
UNLV


Logos from SportsLogos.net

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

Washington, which lost to the San Diego State Aztecs in the second round of the NIT, was the only team of these eight to reach the postseason in March of 2016. In fact, three of the eight teams (Cal State Fullerton, Northern Arizona, and TCU) finished in last place in their respective conferences with Jacksonville State finishing last in the Ohio Valley's East Division.

Have Any Of These Teams Made The Trip Before?

Jacksonville State and Northern Arizona joined UNLV in 2012's Global Sports Classic. Both lost to the Runnin' Rebels before the Gamecocks defeated the Lumberjacks in the visitors' bracket semifinals. JSU then topped the North Carolina A&T Aggies for the title.

Who's Played In Other Global Sports Events Recently?

Global Sports has a reputation for attracting repeat customers in the exempt-event business. Alabama State and Jacksonville State take this to the extreme, however, as this will be the seventh consecutive Global event for both. Both participated in last season's Emerald Coast Classic. Alabama State upset the Virginia Tech Hokies to open their season and knocked off the Chicago State Cougars in the event's visitors' semifinals, while Jacksonville State topped the Cougars in the third-place game the next day to avoid an 0-4 mark. Northern Arizona finished third in the visitors' bracket in Niceville in 2014.

In 2013, Jacksonville State went 0-4 in the Global Sports Invitational, a record that included a home loss to Alabama State, who went 2-2. The Hornets failed to win a game in 2011's Global Sports Challenge, another event that featured their in-state rival. The Gamecocks' only win in that tournament came against the Hornets at home.

The 2010 Global Sports Hy-Vee Challenge, anchored by the Creighton Bluejays and Iowa State Cyclones, featured Alabama State and Northern Arizona. The Lumberjacks blew out the Hornets in a game played in Prescott, Arizona, not on campus in Flagstaff. While both squads lost to the marquee teams in the event, each defeated the Kennesaw State Owls, then in their transition to Division I.

Any Other Notable Recent Meetings?

Just last season, Washington defeated both Cal State Fullerton and TCU consecutively on December 6th and 8th in Seattle. Going further back, the Huskies held off the Titans 74-72 on December 2, 2012. UNLV last met CSUF on December 28, 2013—an 83-64 home triumph.

Alabama State and Jacksonville State play regularly, even when not in the same exempt event. The Hornets swept a home-and-home series over the last two seasons.

Who Won Last Year?

Last season, this tournament took place just before Christmas instead of over Thanksgiving weekend. It also didn't feature a team from the Power Six or Big East. The Grand Canyon Antelopes took down the Houston Cougars and Marshall Thundering Herd to claim the hosts' bracket (the Wyoming Cowboys went 0-2 at Cox Pavilion). In the visitors' bracket, the Omaha Mavericks emerged victorious after wins over the Eastern Illinois Panthers and Southern Jaguars.

Did Any 2015 Entrants Make The NCAAs Or NIT?

Southern was the only team of the eight to reach the NCAAs, where they lost to the Holy Cross Crusaders in the First Four. Houston dropped its NIT opener at the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets, while Omaha lost a 120-112 thriller at Duquesne in the first round of the CBI. Grand Canyon, however, made it to the CollegeInsider.com Tournament quarterfinals, where the Coastal Carolina Chanticleers edged the Antelopes by two.

Will It Be On TV?

Possibly. Last season's event didn't attract TV coverage, but the semifinals and final of 2012's edition—the last to feature UNLV—appeared on the CBS Sports Network.

Who Do You Think Will Win?

Even with home court advantage, UNLV cannot be considered the favorite thanks to an offseason that featured two coaching changes and some roster turnover. Instead, Washington fills the role, especially when you consider how WKU and, in particular, TCU have struggled of late.

Semifinals

Hosts: Washington over WKU and TCU over UNLV

Finals

Hosts: Washington over TCU (championship) and UNLV over WKU (consolation)

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