Honolulu Bound

College of Charleston, Saint Mary’s (Calif.), SMU, UNLV, USC, Western Michigan and one team to be determined are in the field for the Diamond Head Classic basketball tournament this December in Honolulu.
Here’s the press release:

Saint Mary’s, USC, Hawai’i among Teams to be Featured in Inaugural Diamond Head Classic

ESPN Regional Television, Inc., (ERT) a subsidiary of ESPN, announced today seven of the eight teams in the field for the Diamond Head Classic, set for Dec. 22, 23 and 25 at the Stan Sheriff Center in Honolulu.

The University of Hawai’i will be part of the inaugural field for the Diamond Head Classic, along with College of Charleston, Saint Mary’s (Calif.), SMU, UNLV, USC, Western Michigan and one team to be determined. Four of those teams reached the postseason in 2008-09, with USC playing in the NCAA Tournament, UNLV and Saint Mary’s in the National Invitation Tournament and College of Charleston playing in the College Basketball Invitational.

USC won the 2008-09 Pac-10 Tournament, and the Western Michigan Broncos claimed their second straight MAC West regular-season title. Saint Mary’s, which advanced to the NIT quarterfinals in March, was ranked among the nation’s top 25 teams for a good stretch of the regular season. UNLV notched 20-plus wins and gained a postseason berth for the third straight year. College of Charleston, meanwhile, is coming off a 27-win season.

“The Diamond Head Classic is off to a great start with a solid inaugural field and the promise of outstanding college basketball for the fans,” said Pete Derzis, senior vice president and general manager, ESPN Regional Television. “Our goal is to build a high-caliber event for the world-class destination of Honolulu.”

The Diamond Head Classic, an eight-team men’s college basketball tournament, will feature 12 games through three days – Dec. 22, 23 and 25. The Sheraton Hawai’i Bowl, also owned by ESPN Regional Television, will be played Dec 24. The historic Rainbow Classic, formerly played during Christmas week, will now be a four-team, round-robin event played earlier in the season.

Each team will compete in one game per day, advancing through a bracket-tournament format. The two teams that remain undefeated throughout will face off in a championship match on Christmas day, Dec. 25.

“We look forward to a very festive holiday season sports week with the Diamond Head Classic joining the Sheraton Hawai’i Bowl,” said David Matlin, executive director of the Diamond Head Classic and Sheraton Hawai’i Bowl. “The approximate 25 hours of national network exposure from Hawai’i will provide great benefit to our state.”

“The Diamond Head Classic will be a terrific boost to the University of Hawai’i, our men’s basketball program and the entire state,” said Jim Donovan, the University of Hawai’i’s director of athletics. “Certainly, having nationally televised events has helped attract fantastic participants as well as fans who will be watching great basketball.”

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