HONOLULU – The University of Akron men's basketball team has been selected as the eighth and final team to participate in the 2013 Hawaiian Airlines Diamond Head Classic, set for Dec. 22-25 at the Stan Sheriff Center, the University of Hawaii announced on Friday.
The Zips join host Hawaii, as well as Boise State, George Mason, Iowa State, Oregon State, Saint Mary's and South Carolina. Six of the eight teams in the 2013 field qualified for the postseason this past season, including Akron (NCAA), Boise State (NCAA), Hawaii (CIT), George Mason (CBI), Iowa State (NCAA) and Saint Mary's (NCAA).
"We are very excited to be invited by ESPN to play in one of its tournaments for a second-consecutive season," men's basketball head coach Keith Dambrot said. "The Diamond Head Classic is a great tournament and once again consists of a very strong field. Like the Puerto Rico Tip-Off last season, playing in the Diamond Head Classic will allow our fans to travel to a beautiful location and see the Zips play against high-quality competition."
Games will be held on Sunday, Dec. 22, Monday, Dec. 23 and Wednesday, Dec. 25. The bracket for the event will be released at a later date.
This is the second-consecutive season that the Zips will appear in an ESPN-sponsored tournament. Last year, Akron posted a 2-1 record at the 2012 Puerto Rico Tip-Off. Akron fell 69-65 in overtime to Oklahoma State before downing UNC Asheville (82-63) and Penn State (85-60).
Akron's appearance in the Diamond Head Classic will be the first for the Zips and UA's first trip to Hawaii since playing in the 2001 Hawaii Pacific Thanksgiving Classic (Nov. 23-25).
Overall, the Zips are 4-1 against teams in the field, going 2-0 against George Mason, 1-0 against Saint Mary's and 1-1 against Boise State.
The 2012-13 season was a banner one for the Zips as Akron posted a school-record tying 26 wins (26-7) and earned the Mid-American Conference's automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament. UA also won its second-consecutive MAC regular season title, in addition to the program's third tournament title. The Zips are just the third team in the last 30 years to repeat as regular season champions and the first team to sweep the regular season and tournament titles in the same season in the last five year.
Akron enters the 2013-14 season as one of just six programs in the nation to have posted at least 22 wins in each of the last eight seasons (Duke, Gonzaga, Kansas, Ohio State and Pittsburgh). The Zips boast the most overall (210) and conference (107) wins in the MAC since the start of the 2004-05 campaign, and is tied for 27th nationally in wins during that same period.
The 2013 Hawaiian Airlines Diamond Head Classic, an eight-team men's college basketball tournament, will feature 12 games over the three days. 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.
The Hawaiian Airlines Diamond Head Classic is owned and operated by ESPN Regional Television (ERT), a subsidiary of ESPN.
The University of Southern California won the inaugural tournament in 2009, Butler in 2010, followed by Kansas State in 2011 and Arizona in 2012.
The family-friendly tournament and resort destination of Honolulu, Hawaii, will host the teams to three days of play, practices and the unique spirit of Aloha from the Hawaiian Islands. Teams will also have the opportunity to attend the Sheraton Hawaii Bowl played during the same week. Additional information, including travel packages, can be found on the Hawaiian Airlines Diamond Head Classic Web site at www.hawaiianairlinesdiamondheadclassic.com.
ESPN Regional Television
ESPN Regional Television (ERT), a subsidiary of ESPN, owns and operates collegiate sporting events worldwide, including two Labor Day Kickoff college football games; seven college bowl games and eight college basketball events. These account for approximately 200 hours of programming, reach almost 64 million viewers and attract nearly half a million attendees each year. The owned and operated events build relationships with conferences, schools and local communities, as well as provide unique experiences for teams and fans. In addition to event ownership, ERT manages the Big 12 Corporate Partner Program.
2013 Hawaiian Airlines Diamond Head Classic Field
Boise State: The Broncos posted a 21-11 overall record and a 9-7 mark in Mountain West play during the 2012-13 season. BSU earned an at-large bid to the NCAA Tournament, falling 80-71 to La Salle.
George Mason: The Patriots advanced to the championship game of the College Basketball Invitational (CBI) last season, posting a 22-16 record, including a 10-8 mark in the CAA.
Hawaii: Hawaii closed out the 2012-13 campaign with a 17-15 record and a 10-8 record in the Big West. The squad made an appearance in the CollegeInsider.com Tournament (CIT), falling to Air Force in the first round.
Iowa State: The Cyclones wrapped up the 2012-13 season with a 23-12 record and came a 3-pointer short of advancing to the Sweet 16, falling to Ohio State in the third round of the NCAA Tournament. ISU posted an 11-7 mark in Big 12 play, losing to Kansas in the Big 12 Semifinals.
Oregon State: The Beavers posted a 14-18 overall record and a 4-14 mark in Pac-12 play last season.
Saint Mary's: The Gaels posted a 1-1 record in the NCAA Tournament, posting a First Four win over Middle Tennessee before falling to Memphis in the second round of the NCAA Tournament. Saint Mary's finished with a 28-7 mark and went 14-2 in West Coast Conference play.
South Carolina: The Gamecocks ended the 2012-13 season with a 14-18 record and went 4-14 in SEC play.