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2017 Jamaica Classic Montego Bay Primer

This new event has slightly more complicated format than many of the others I’ll preview over the next week.

The 2017 Jamaica Classic Montego Bay Caribbean-bound teams.
Graphic by Chris Dobbertean. Images via Sportslogos.net, except for Tulane (TulaneGreenWave.com).

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

What Is It?

The Jamaica Classic Montego Bay

How Long Has This Event Been Around?

This is a new event for 2017, though Jamaica was added to the list of countries eligible to host Division I regular season games for the 2016-17 academic year. This Jamaica Observer article has more information on the tournament.

When And Where Is It?

Seven teams will travel to Montego Bay, Jamaica for an event that’s set to run from Friday, November 17th through Sunday, November 19th at that city’s convention center. The visitors’ bracket squads will play a round-robin over the three days, while the four host teams are scheduled for a pair of showcase doubleheaders on Friday and Sunday.

There’s also an on-campus component that’s not as straightforward as you’d expect.

Who's Playing?

The 2017 Jamaica Classic field in their Montego Bay matchups.
Graphic by Chris Dobbertean. Images via Sportslogos.net, except for Tulane (TulaneGreenWave.com).

Presumably, the original plan for this tournament didn’t fall into place because compromises were made everywhere.

For starters, thanks to a December neutral-site game between Florida State and Tulane in Tampa, the hosts aren’t playing semifinals and a final. Instead, Friday and Sunday will see a pair of doubleheaders:

The Seminoles withdrew from the (since relocated) Puerto Rico Tip-Off to join this field and will be making second trip to Jamaica this year—Leonard Hamilton’s team toured the country in August.

The organizers also appeared to struggle to fill the visitors’ half of the bracket. Throughout the summer, those of us who closely follow non-conference scheduling saw several teams tied to this event with no clear pattern. It seemed possible that there were even going to be multiple events in Jamaica this November. In the end, it took some schedule releases for the picture to become clear.

Three teams will fly to Montego Bay to play in a round-robin:

Only LIU and Miami will play four Division I games against teams traveling to Montego Bay, as they’ll visit both Fordham and Tulane.

The 2017 Jamaica Classic’s Mainland-only teams.

Three other Division I teams will participate in this event. The Northwestern State Demons (Southland) and Winthrop Eagles (Big South) will serve as Colorado State’s on-campus opponents, while The Citadel Bulldogs (SoCon) visit FSU. All three of these squads, along with Hartford, will count games against non-Division I opponents as part of their participation in this tournament.

Again, this event is another example of why the NCAA might want to put some more stringent controls on what counts as an exempt event.

Did Any Of These Teams Reach The 2017 Postseason?

The Xavier Musketeers eliminated Florida State in the NCAA Tournament’s Second Round, while Colorado State fell at the same stage of the NIT. Mainland squad Winthrop also reached the NCAAs, losing to the Butler Bulldogs in the First Round.

How Strong Is This Field?

Based on the average four-year rankings of the participants, the 2017 Jamaica Classic ranks as follows when compared to other events with set matchups:

  • Hosts’ Bracket: 3rd of 9 events
  • Visitors’ Bracket: 8th of 9 events

Have Any Of These Teams Played In This Event Before?

This is the inaugural edition, so no.

Are There Any Other Notable Recent Meetings Between These Teams?

There haven’t been many at all.

LIU Brooklyn has defeated Hartford twice in the last 10 seasons—including a 75-68 win in Connecticut last year. Fordham won its last meeting with the Blackbirds, 89-84 in December 2015, but LIU won at Rose Hill in 2010.

Florida State last welcomed the Citadel to Tallahassee in November 2014, winning by just 11, 66-55.

Will This Event Be On TV?

CBSSN will air both the Friday and Sunday doubleheaders featuring the host teams, along with the visitors’ games, though not all of these will air live. On-campus games will, as always, appear on media outlets affiliated with the home team’s conference.

Who’s Your Pick To Win It?

The Florida State-Colorado State game should determine who takes the hosts’ “bracket,” and the Seminoles will be favored in that matchup. As for the visitors’ round-robin, all three teams enter the season with question marks, so everyone could leave Jamaica with a 1-1 mark.

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