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2016 CBE Hall Of Fame Classic Primer: Kansas A Heavy Favorite In Its Backyard

Every four years, the Jayhawks make the short trip to Kansas City expecting a pair of wins. This November will be no different.

Aaron Doster-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 CBE Hall Of Fame Classic (official website)

How Long Has This Event Been Around?

From last season's primer...

The CBE Hall of Fame Classic has gone through name, arena (though constantly in Kansas City), and even management changes since its first edition in 2001. Back then, Missouri claimed the first edition of what was then known as the Guardians Classic, defeating Iowa in a thrilling 78-77 final. The National Association of Basketball Coaches (NABC), the tournament's sponsor came up with its original title to honor its membership, the guardians of the game.

Over its first few seasons, the Guardians Classic format generally matched that of the NIT Season Tip-Off, with regional winners advancing to semifinals and a final in Kansas City. There were slight tweaks to this based on the number of participants. In 2002, only eight teams entered, so regional final losers Furman and IUPUI joined Creighton and Notre Dame in the semifinals, with each mid-major taking on the power conference team it didn't visit during the Kansas City round. In 2003 and 2004, there were only three regionals, so one runner-up ended up joining the hosts at Municipal Auditorium.

The 2006 tournament, the first under the "CBE Classic" name was the penultimate edition with non-guaranteed places in Kansas City. That ended in part because of Air Force's win in the Stanford regional on the way to a third-place finish that saw the Falcons fall to Duke (who lost to Marquette in the final) and defeat Texas Tech. Those results helped keep Air Force on the bubble for most of that season, before they ended up in the NIT semifinals.

The Falcons' success and Gardner-Webb's win at Kentucky in the Coaches vs. Cancer Classic in 2007 led to the end of non-host schools' chances of advancing to main tournament sites in events not named the NIT Season Tip-Off.

Since 2008, the four host schools have been guaranteed a place in Kansas City. Each welcomes two mid-majors to their buildings before those visiting schools meet at a pre-determined site for a "subregional." In most editions, eight visitors were involved, with each playing a single host school before being separated into a pair of four-team round-robin subregionals.


The first edition of this event was played at Kemper Arena, while venerable Memorial Auditorium was home for the 2002 through 2006 editions. The Sprint Center, which includes the College Basketball Experience Hall of Fame facility, became the event's new host upon its opening in 2007.

Gazelle Group ran this event on behalf of the NABC from its inception up until the 2012 tournament, when Blue Ridge Sports and Entertainment took over.

When And Where Is It?

Each of the four visiting teams will play a pair of host schools, with all but one of those games taking place in mid-November. The lone exception is UNC Asheville's November 25th contest in Lawrence.

The four hosts will play at Kansas City, Missouri's Sprint Center on Monday, November 21st (semifinals) and Tuesday, November 22nd (championship and consolation games). The visitors' subregional round games are scheduled between November 20th and 23rd.

Who's Playing?

The four host schools are listed by semifinal matchup. As you would expect, Kansas is scheduled for the late game at its de facto secondary home court.

George Washington Colonials (A 10)
Georgia Bulldogs (SEC)
UAB Blazers (C-USA) 
Kansas Jayhawks (Big 12)

Just like last season, there will not be a single CBE subregional site. In fact, only Siena and UNC Asheville will take advantage of the full four games allowed under the exempt tournament rule, with Furman and UAPB playing just one contest apiece against a fellow visitor.

Team Road Games Subregional Games
Furman Paladins
UNC Asheville
Siena Saints
George Washington
at UNC Asheville
Arkansas-Pine Bluff Golden Lions
George Washington
at Siena
UNC Asheville Bulldogs
(Big South)
at Furman

Logos from

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

The National Champion Villanova Wildcats eliminated both UNC Asheville and Kansas from the NCAAs—with the Bulldogs departing in the First Round and Jayhawks in the Elite Eight.

The three non-NCAA host teams all participated in the NIT, won by George Washington. Georgia and UAB both fell to West Coast Conference opposition—the Saint Mary's Gaels knocked the Bulldogs out in round two, while the Blazers couldn't get past their first hurdle, the BYU Cougars.

Elsewhere, Siena lost to the Morehead State Eagles in the first round of the CBI, while Furman slipped up against the UL Lafayette Ragin' Cajuns in the Tournament's second round. Both saw their seasons end at home.

Have Any Of These Teams Made The Trip Before?

Like clockwork, Kansas plays in this event once every four years. In 2012, the Jayhawks defeated the Washington State Cougars and Saint Louis Billikens on consecutive nights to claim the championship. They weren't so lucky four years earlier, as the Syracuse Orange stunned KU in overtime in the title game. Incidentally, I made the trip to Kansas City for that 2008 edition, as my two favorite teams—the Orange and Florida Gators—participated. (UF defeated the Washington Huskies in the consolation game.)

Georgia and GW both participated in the 2011 event, but only the Bulldogs served as a host school and made the trip to Kansas City, where they finished third after a loss to the California Golden Bears and win over the Notre Dame Fighting Irish. (The Missouri Tigers, another frequent participant in this event, defeated Cal for the crown.) The Colonials didn't travel to Athens for the on-campus round, instead they lost in Berkeley, then swept their three-game subregional, hosted by the Bowling Green Falcons.

Who's Played In Other Blue Ridge Events Recently?

None of these teams played in the Brooklyn version of the Coaches vs. Cancer Classic during its short time as a Blue Ridge-managed tournament.

Any Other Notable Recent Meetings?

Just last season, Furman lost a 67-65 decision in Asheville on December 29, 2015.

Georgia and GW split a home-and-home series in 2013 and 2014, with each winning an early January home game.

UAB won at George Washington in the final days of 2011, by a 56-49 score. (The Blazers also defeated UNC Asheville in 2014, though the pair won't meet in this tournament.)

Last season, UAPB was a visiting team in the Barclays Center Classic, but the Lions weren't assigned as one of GW's opponents. Similarly, Georgia and UAB's paths didn't cross at the 2013 Charleston Classic.

Who Won Last Year?

The North Carolina Tar Heels took out the Northwestern Wildcats and Kansas State Wildcats to win the 2015 CBE Hall of Fame Classic.

Did Any 2015 Entrants Make The NCAAs Or NIT?

Of the eight participants, only the Tar Heels. the National Runner-Up, reached the NCAAs. In other postseason action, the Columbia Lions claimed the Tournament title, while the Fairfield Stags played a single game in that event.

Will It Be On TV?

ESPN2 will air both the Kansas-UAB semifinal and the championship game from Kansas City. The Georgia-GW semi will appear on ESPNU, with the consolation game on ESPN3. On-campus games fall under the individual home team's media rights deals, so SEC Network is an option for Georgia's two games, while Kansas's might fall to the Jayhawk Sports Network/ESPN3.

Who Do You Think Will Win?

There isn't a 2008-09 Syracuse team in this field, so expect this event to be more like 2012's edition for Kansas. The NIT champions from the Nation's Capital could make things interesting, however.

Note that UAB has a new coach, with assistant Robert Eshan promoted to the lead role after Jerod Haase's departure for the Stanford Cardinal.


GW over Georgia
Kansas over UAB


Consolation: Georgia over UAB
Championship: Kansas over GW

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