Cayman Islands Classic draw announced

Game matchups for the second annual Cayman Islands Classic were announced this week by Tournament CEO Joe Wright. Eight teams will compete in the tournament held 19-21 November at John Gray Gymnasium.

Akron will face Clemson in the opening game at 12 p.m. Eastern Standard Time followed by Georgia meeting Illinois State at 2:30 p.m.  In the first game of the evening session at 5 p.m. St. Bonaventure plays Georgia State. Boise State and Creighton will conclude opening-day action in the final matchup of the day starting at 7:30 p.m.

Semi-final round games are slated for 2:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. the following day, Tuesday, Nov. 20.  Losing teams will compete in their second game Nov. 20 with tip offs at 12 p.m. and 5 p.m.

The seventh-place game will open the final day of competition on Wednesday, Nov. 21 starting at 12 p.m., followed by the fifth-place game (2:30 p.m.), third-place game (5 p.m.) and title game (7:30 p.m.) to crown the Cayman Islands Classic champion.

Clemson, under the guidance of coach Brad Brownell, was ranked No. 15 in the final 2017-18 USA Today coaches poll while tying a school record with a 25-10 mark advancing to the NCAA Sweet 16 for the first time since 1997. The Tigers tied for third in the Atlantic Coast Conference this past season with a school-record of 11 league victories. For his efforts Brownell was recognized as Sports Illustrated College Basketball Coach of the Year.

“We are extremely excited to be competing in the 2018 Cayman Island Classic with such a quality field of teams and in a destination that our players and fans will enjoy,” said Brownell. “They have done a terrific job putting together a tremendous field of experienced winning programs which will make this event extremely competitive.”

Participating coaches echoed Brownell’s sentiments toward the Cayman Islands Classic.

“We’re excited to play in the Cayman Islands Classic and heard many positive reviews from last year’s participants. The 2018 field is a strong one, and I know our fans are looking forward to the event,’ said Creighton coach Greg McDermott, whose team posted a 21-12 record last year finishing third in the Big East Conference, while advancing to the NCAA Tournament for the fifth time in the last seven years.

St. Bonaventure achieved a school-record 26-8 mark while advancing to the second round of the NCAA Tournament after beating UCLA in the First Four which was the program’s first NCAA victory since 1970. Coach Mark Schmidt is hoping playing in the Cayman Islands Classic will set the tone for another productive season for the Bonnies.

“The Bonnies are really excited to be a part of the 2018 Cayman Islands Classic in November,” said Schmidt.  “This event will give us the opportunity to play three high level neutral games in an amazing location. “

“During the non-conference season we wanted to play against some of the best teams in the country and feel this tournament will accomplish that goal,” added Akron head coach John Groce. “I know this will be a first-class experience for our program. We are excited to visit the Cayman Islands in November.”

The Cayman Islands Classic is being sponsored by the Mountain West Conference.

Georgia State went 24-11 this past season, while making its second NCAA Tournament appearance in the last four years under head coach Ron Hunter. The Panthers won the Sun Belt Conference Tournament championship after finishing runner-up during the regular season.

Boise State went 23-9 last season, while playing in the NIT. The Broncos finished second in the Mountain West Conference with a 13-5 record.  Georgia, welcoming new coach Tom Crean, was 18-15 overall last year. Illinois State also went 18-15 this past season, including a 10-8 mark in the Missouri Valley Conference. Akron, which plays in the Mid-American Conference, was 14-18 last season.

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