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2017 Gildan Charleston Classic Primer

In 2013, UMass denied Clemson a second Charleston Classic crown. Four years later, the Tigers will try again with a largely different set of teams set to challenge them.

The 2017 Gildan Charleston Classic Bracket
Courtesy ESPN Events

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

What Is It?

The Gildan Charleston Classic

How Long Has This Event Been Around?

Last year, the Puerto Rico Tip-Off and Wooden Legacy (borne of the merger of the John Wooden Classic with the former 76/Directv/Anaheim Classic) played their 10th editions. This year, it’s the turn of ESPN’s event on the South Carolina coast, played for the first time at the start of the 2008-09 season.

When And Where Is It?

As always, the Charleston Classic is scheduled for the TD Arena on the campus of the College of Charleston for the Thursday, Friday, and Sunday before Thanksgiving. This season, that’s November 16th, 17th, and 19th.

Who's Playing?

The eight 2017 Gildan Charleston Classic participants
Graphic by Chris Dobbertean using logos from

This season’s Charleston Classic quarterfinals line up as follows:

The CAA serves as the sponsoring conference for the Charleston Classic, and since host College of Charleston can only participate once every four seasons, Hofstra will represent the league in 2017.

The full bracket is below and here’s a link to the printable version.

The full 2017 Gildan Charleston Classic bracket
Courtesy ESPN Events

Are There Any Non-Bracketed Games?

Auburn travels to Dayton for a contest CBS Sports Network will air on the evening of Wednesday, November 29th, the first game of a two-year home-and-home series tied to this tournament.

Did Any Of These Teams Reach The 2017 Postseason?

Only two did. Dayton fell to the Wichita State Shockers in the NCAA’s First Round, while Clemson dropped an NIT first round home game to the Horizon regular season champion Oakland Golden Grizzlies.

How Strong Is This Event?

Based on the average four-year rankings of the participants, the 2017 Charleston Classic ranks 7th out of 14 eight-team bracketed tournaments and 12th out of 38 bracketed tournaments.

Have Any Of These Teams Played In This Event Before?

Clemson knocked off both Hofstra (quarterfinals) and Temple (championship game) en route to the first Charleston Classic title in 2009. The Tigers again defeated the Owls in the 2013 edition, this time in the first round. Dayton defeated Auburn in the 2012 tournament’s fifth-place game.

What About Other ESPN Events Tournaments?

Temple (7, including last season’s NIT Season Tip-Off title), Dayton (6), and Clemson (6) have been regular fixtures at ESPN Events MTEs since the 2006-07 season, with Indiana State (4), Auburn (3), Hofstra (2), and Ohio (1, the 2014 Diamond Head Classic) also featuring in at least one in the past.

While Auburn and Clemson both made the trip to Hawai’i in 2011, where they didn’t meet, this particular octet of teams has rarely crossed paths in their ESPN Events history, outside of the ones in Charleston mentioned above and Dayton and Indiana State’s appearance in the 2011 Old Spice Classic at Walt Disney World. Both made the semifinals there, but didn’t meet, even though the Flyers claimed the title and the Sycamores finished third.

Are There Any Other Notable Recent Meetings Between These Teams?

For starters, Hofstra and Old Dominion were conference mates up until the end of the 2012-13 season when the Monarchs bolted for Conference USA for football reasons. Over ODU’s final six seasons of CAA membership, the Monarchs dominated the Pride, winning six of the pair’s final eight meetings—but Hofstra won the last back on February 24, 2013.

Auburn and Clemson split a home-and-home with each set of Tigers defending its home floor in December of 2013 and 2014.

Dayton defeated Auburn in the semifinals of the now-departed Chicago Invitational Challenge by a 60-59 count in November of 2008. The Flyers went on to defeat the Marquette Golden Eagles to claim a surprise title.

Clemson swept a pair of November meetings with Old Dominion in 2006 and 2007, but lost by one to Monarchs in a 2010 Paradise Jam semifinal (friend of the blog Mike Greiner tweeted me the correction). ODU ended up defeating the Xavier in the final one night later.

Hofstra, Indiana State, and Ohio all made the trip to the Virgin Islands for the Paradise Jam in 2015. The Sycamores won a 67-66 thriller over the Pride to claim third place, but neither squad faced the Bobcats, who went 1-2 and finished sixth.

Indiana State lost at Ohio in December 2008, while the Bobcats lost to Temple in both 2007 (in Philadelphia) and 2010 (in Athens)—games set up as part of the Owls’ then-associate MAC membership in football.

Who Won 2016’s Edition?

The then-defending National Champion Villanova Wildcats claimed a trio of double-digit victories to claim the 2016 Charleston Classic title.

Did Any 2016 Teams Reach The Postseason?

The Wildcats’ title defense didn’t last as long as they would have liked, as the Wisconsin Badgers stunned Nova in the Second Round of the 2017 NCAA Tournament. The Wake Forest Demon Deacons were the only other NCAA qualifier in the field of eight, and Danny Manning’s team lost to the Kansas State Wildcats in the First Four.

The College of Charleston Cougars (first round losers to the Colorado State Rams), Boise State Broncos (eliminated by the Illinois Fighting Illini in the second round), and UCF Knights (knocked off by the TCU Horned Frogs in New York) all reached the NIT.

Will This Event Be On TV?

As you would expect, all 12 Charleston Classic games will either air or be streamed on an ESPN outlet. So far, only the Old Dominion-Temple quarterfinal and Sunday’s seventh-place game are set to stream on ESPN3. The championship game, tipping at the odd time (geographically anyway) of 9:30 p.m. Eastern, will cap a tripleheader of exempt event finals on ESPN2 on the Sunday night before Thanksgiving.

Who’s Your Pick To Win It?

This field is rather wide open. Bruce Pearl’s Auburn squad looked to be poised to finally make the NCAAs in his fourth season on the Plains—at least until the program was caught up in the FBI investigation into the sport. Meanwhile, Brad Brownell probably needs to reach the field of 68 for job security purposes. (The fact Clemson gets three semi-home games in this event should help.) Dayton could take a step back in Anthony Grant’s first year at the helm, while Temple could soar if the injuries that plagued a team that went from NIT Season Tip-Off wins over Florida State and West Virginia to .500 aren’t an issue.

Hofstra, Old Dominion, and Ohio will all want to put their respective conference rivals on notice. Indiana State, on the other hand, will aim to improve upon a 2017 AdvoCare Invitational trip that saw the Trees lose three games by a total of eight points.


Indiana State over Auburn
Temple over Old Dominion
Clemson over Ohio
Dayton over Hofstra


Temple over Indiana State
Clemson over Dayton
(consolation) Auburn over Old Dominion
(consolation) Hofstra over Ohio


Championship: Temple over Clemson
3rd Place: Indiana State over Dayton
5th Place: Auburn over Hofstra
7th Place: Old Dominion over Ohio

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