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.”
Sheraton Hotels Waikiki (www.sheraton-waikiki.com) will be the Official Hotel of the Diamond Head Classic. Fans can purchase travel packages to the tournament by going to www.anthonytravel.com (search Hawaii) or calling 1-800-632-6951. Additional information including when tickets will go on sale can be found on the Diamond Head Classic official Web site at: www.DiamondHeadClassic.com.
ESPN Regional Television/Event Ownership
The nation’s largest syndicator of collegiate sports programming, ESPN Regional Television (ERT) annually produces more than 1,000 telecasts of sporting events. Programming includes football, basketball, NCAA events, golf and NHRA events accounting for more than 2,200 live and/or original hours of programming. In addition to event ownership, ERT is the production headquarters for ESPNU, the 24-hour college sports network; syndication rights-holder and producer of national, regional and local shows for college conferences (e.g. – SEC, BIG EAST, Big 12, Mid-American, Sun Belt, WAC).
ESPN Regional Television markets and/or owns several sporting events, including collegiate football events: the Bell Helicopter Armed Forces Bowl (Fort Worth, Texas); MAACO Bowl Las Vegas; New Mexico Bowl (Albuquerque); Papajohns.com Bowl (Birmingham, Ala.); Sheraton Hawai’i Bowl (Honolulu); St. Petersburg Bowl; the MEAC/SWAC Challenge presented by Disney (Orlando, Fla.) ; and The Home Depot ESPNU College Football Awards; collegiate basketball events: the 76 Classic (Anaheim, Calif.); Charleston Classic (S.C.); Diamond Head Classic (Honolulu); Old Spice Classic (Walt Disney World Resort near Orlando, Fla.); O’Reilly Auto Parts Puerto Rico Tip-Off (San Juan); O’Reilly Auto Parts All-College Classic (Oklahoma City); SEC/BIG EAST Invitational; and the ESPNU BracketBusters; as well as the ESPN National Golf Challenge presented by Callaway. For more information, visit ESPNPlus.com.