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2017 Emerald Coast Classic Primer

The 2017 Emerald Coast Classic participants.
Graphic by Chris Dobbertean. Images via

To catch up on all of the posts in this series visit the 2017-18 Early Season Events Hub.

What Is It?

The Emerald Coast Classic, presented by the Emerald Coast Convention & Visitors Bureau

How Long Has This Event Been Around?

This is the final season in this tournament’s first four-year cycle, as it launched in 2014.

When And Where Is It?

The eight participating teams will travel to Niceville, Florida, in the Panhandle, for bracketed semifinals on Friday, November 24th and finals on Saturday, November 25th. Before heading south, each of the four host teams will welcome a pair of visitors for on-campus games.

Who's Playing?

The 2017 Emerald Coast Classic participants in their semifinal matchups.
Graphic by Chris Dobbertean. Images via

Much like the NT Season Tip-Off, there’s a regional feel to the hosts’ semifinal matchups.

On the other hand, the visitors’ matchups feature an all-HBCU semifinal.

Here are how the on-campus games line-up.

  • Jackson State and Maryland Eastern Shore at Maryland and St. Bonaventure
  • Omaha and Tennessee Tech at TCU and New Mexico

Did Any Of These Teams Reach The 2017 Postseason?

While Maryland dropped its NCAA opener to the Xavier Musketeers in an 11/6 upset, TCU managed to win the NIT. However, even though both New Mexico and St. Bonaventure finished with winning records, neither participated in a postseason tournament.

As for the visitors, Omaha lost to the South Dakota State Jackrabbits in the Summit final, but didn’t participate in any tournament after that. The Mavericks came the closest of the four entrants to reaching a postseason event.

How Strong Is This Event?

Based on the average four-year rankings of the participants, the 2017 Emerald Coast Classic ranks as follows when compared to other bracketed tournaments:

  • Hosts’ Bracket: 5th of 24 four-team bracketed tournaments; 8th of 38 bracketed tournaments
  • Visitors’ Bracket: 19th of 24 four-team bracketed tournaments; 33rd of 38 bracketed tournaments

Have Any Of These Teams Played In This Event Before?

Since this tournament is just concluding its first four-year cycle, no.

What About Other Global Sports Events?

TCU won last season’s Global Sports Classic by eliminating the host UNLV Runnin’ Rebels in the semifinals and topping the Washington Huskies in the final.

Jackson State has participated in six Global-organized round-robin events in the past seven seasons, but the Tigers have gone 5-19 in those games. Tennessee Tech, meanwhile, lost all four of its games in the 2016 Global Sports Shootout.

Are There Any Other Notable Recent Meetings Between These Teams?

Not many. Starting with the hosts, New Mexico blew out St. Bonaventure when the Bonnies visited the Pit ... back in November 2007. Otherwise, the Lobos dominated TCU when the two were Mountain West rivals. Between the 2007-08 and 2011-12 seasons, UNM racked up an 8-2 record against the Frogs in league play. Among the visitors, Tennessee Tech held off Jackson State, 86-82, when the Tigers visited Cookeville in November 2015.

In terms of the on-campus contests, Maryland has faced its Eastern Shore campus twice in the last decade, winning both of those games handily—with a 21-point home win just two seasons ago. In November 2014, St. Bonaventure struggled with Jackson State in Olean, winning by just seven. But in December of that year, the Bonnies defeated Maryland Eastern Shore by only two—82-80. That was a far cry from the 15-point win SBU managed over the Hawks in December 2008.

Who Won 2016’s Edition?

The Virginia Cavaliers knocked off the Providence Friars in last season’s final, 63-52. The UTRGV Vaqueros won the visitors’ bracket by taking down the St. Francis-Brooklyn Terriers, 71-61.

Did Any 2016 Teams Reach The Postseason?

Virginia (Second Round) and Providence (First Round) reached the Big Dance, while the fourth-place Iowa Hawkeyes (who lost the consolation game to the Memphis Tigers) became TCU’s second NIT victim.

None of the four visiting teams even managed a winning record.

Will This Event Be On TV?

CBSSN will again air the hosts’ semifinals and championship game with all of the other games from Niceville likely to be streamed. As always, on-campus games depend on the home team’s conference’s media rights. For example, Maryland’s game against Maryland Eastern Shore will be streamed on BTN Plus, while the Terps’ contest against Jackson State will air on BTN itself.

Who’s Your Pick To Win It?

Last season’s two postseason teams look the most likely champions, with the 2017 NIT winners looking at a potential breakout season.

Hosts’ Semifinals

TCU over New Mexico
Maryland over St. Bonaventure

Visitors’ Semifinals

Omaha over Tennessee Tech
Maryland Eastern Shore over Jackson State

Hosts’ Finals

TCU over Maryland
(consolation) St. Bonaventure over New Mexico

Visitors’ Finals

Omaha over Maryland Eastern Shore
(consolation) Tennessee Tech over Jackson State

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