On Thursday, ESPN released its college basketball early-season tournament schedule, which features some of the game’s best programs and players in a season that should bring the sport back to normalcy.
Here’s a rundown of the games that will be shown on the ESPN family of networks during those events.
Skip to one of the following events: Charleston Classic | Myrtle Beach Invitational | NIT Season Tip-Off | Wooden Legacy | ESPN Events Invitational | Diamond Head Classic St.
In 2021-22, Bonaventure is coming off an Atlantic 10 title and has talent that might be in the Top 25.
2021 Shriners Children’s Charleston Classic Dates: November Grau/Icon Sportswire
Site: TD Arena/Charleston, South Carolina First-round matchups: St. Louis, St. Louis, St. Louis, St. Louis, St. Louis, St. Louis, St. Louis, St. Louis, St. Louis,
vs. St. Bonaventure
Clemson vs. Boise State
Temple vs. Marquette
Elon vs. Ole Miss
St. Louis is the team to beat in West Virginia.
Bonaventure is a character in the novel Bonaventure
St. John’s won the Atlantic 10 regular-season crown and the league tournament title a year ago.
With all five starters returning, including Kyle Lofton (14.4 PPG, 5.5 APG, 1.4 SPG last season) and Osun Osunniyi, the league’s reigning defensive player of the year, Bonaventure might get off to a solid start at the Charleston Classic.
West Virginia is a sleeper team, but the team’s success in this tournament and beyond will be determined by how quickly Old Dominion transfer Malik Curry (15.7 PPG last season) adjusts to life as the new point guard for a program that lost Miles McBride to the NBA draft.
Last season, St. Louis had Lofton on the floor, and he was a player to watch.
According to hooplens.com, Bonaventure made 37% of its 3-point tries.
Something for college basketball fans: Shaka Smart guided VCU to a remarkable Final Four run a decade ago, and now, after an up-and-down career at Texas, he gets a fresh start at Marquette.
This event will give fans a first look at a team that will rely on a slew of newcomers, including Maryland transfer Darryl Morsell.
The Myrtle Beach Invitational will provide an early glimpse at OU’s Porter Moser era.
2021 Myrtle Beach Invitational Dates: November Sanchez/Chicago Tribune/TNS via Getty Images
Davidson, East Carolina, Indiana State, New Mexico State, Oklahoma, Old Dominion, Penn, Utah State, HTC Center/Conway, South Carolina Event field (first-round pairings TBA): Davidson, East Carolina, Indiana State, New Mexico State, Oklahoma, Old Dominion, Penn, Utah State
Despite losing star Neemias Queta to the NBA draft and head coach Craig Smith to rival Utah, Utah State and new head coach Ryan Odom have a group that includes Justin Bean (11.4 PPG, 7.7 RPG) and transfers Brandon Horvath (13.1 PPG, 8.7 RPG) from a squad that reached the NCAA tournament last season.
UMBC’s Eytle-Rock (14.3 PPG, 40% from 3-point range) is Odom’s former teammate.
The departure of De’Vion Harmon (who moved to Oregon after withdrawing from the NBA draft) underlined the rebuilding job that new head coach Porter Moser inherited in Norman; nevertheless, the additions of Eastern Washington transfers Tanner Groves (who scored 35 points against Kansas in the NCAA tournament) and his brother Jacob Groves (9.3 PPG) give this Oklahoma team an fascinating gro.
Hyunjung Lee, a sophomore at Davidson who averaged 13.5 points per game and made 44% of his 3-point attempts last season, has grown as a standout with the South Korean national team this summer in its pursuit to qualify for the Olympics.
New Mexico State’s style of play under Chris Jans has evolved in recent years, which is good news for college basketball fans.
According to KenPom, the team shot 48.7% of its shots from beyond the arc last season, continuing a three-year pattern of 3-pointers accounting for nearly half of the team’s field goal attempts during that time.
Virginia Tech has ACC title expectations thanks to Keve Aluma’s return to Blacksburg.
NIT Season Tip-Off Dates: November 2021 AP Photo/Jessica Hill 2021 NIT Season Tip-Off Dates: November 2021 AP Photo/Jessica Hill 2021 NIT Season
Site: Barclays Center/Brooklyn, New York Matchups in the first round: Xavier vs.
Iowa State vs. Memphis
Virginia Tech is the team to beat in this game.
Mike Young’s team is led by Keve Aluma (15.2 points per game, 7.9 rebounds per game, 1.3 blocks per game), who will return to lead a lineup that should stand out in this competition before aiming for an ACC title and a long run in the NCAA tournament — all realistic goals for this talented group.
Memphis is a sleeper team.
With his NIT triumph last season, Penny Hardaway increased expectations, and top scorers Landers Nolley II and DeAndre Williams are back to help Hardaway strive for his first NCAA tournament berth with the Tigers.
According to hooplens.com, Virginia Tech made 51% of its shots inside the arc and 37% of its 3-point tries with Aluma on the floor last season, while holding opponents to just 96 points per 100 possessions.
T.J. McDermott, the new head coach of the University of Kentucky men’s basketball team, has a message for college basketball fans.
With significant transfers, like as former Minnesota standout Gabe Kalscheur, and talented prospects, such as four-star recruit Tyrese Hunter, on the roster, Otzelberger’s Iowa State squad will approach this event as an intriguing squad.
In 2021-22, Isaiah Mobley will return to a USC team that has a strong foundation.
2021 Paycom Wooden Legacy Dates: November (AP Photo/Michael Conroy)
Anaheim Convention Center/Anaheim, Calif. 25 and 26
Matchups in the first round: USC vs.
Georgetown’s Saint Joseph’s vs.
USC is the team to beat for San Diego State.
Isaiah Mobley is now the leader of a club that returns three starters, adds Memphis transfer Boogie Ellis, and incorporates a handful of good recruits for a team that may make a statement next season. His brother, Evan, is ready to make millions as a lottery pick in the NBA next season.
San Diego State isn’t your normal “sleeper,” as it wouldn’t surprise anyone if the club won this tournament after bringing in Cal transfer Matt Bradley (18.0 points per game, 4.6 rebounds per game) and Duquesne transfer Chad Baker-Mazara (9.5 points per game, 42% from 3-point range).
Player to watch: Georgetown’s five-star recruit Aminu Mohammed, ranked 25th in the 2021 class, headlines a group of quality prospects and transfers hoping to build on their stunning run to the Big East tournament championship last season.
Something for college basketball fans: Saint Joseph’s fired longstanding coach Phil Martelli for underperformance two years ago, yet his replacement, Billy Lange, has won less games (11) in his first two seasons combined than Martelli did in his final season (14)
As they look for evidence of growth, Joe’s fan base will be watching every game this season, including the games the program will play in Anaheim in this event.
The arrival of transfer Remy Martin to Kansas is expected to be a major early-season storyline.
2021 ESPN Events Invitational Dates: November AP Photo/Jessica Hill
Site: ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex/Orlando, Florida Matchups in the first round: Dayton vs.
North Texas vs. Miami
Alabama vs. Kansas
Belmont, Iona vs. Belmont, Iona
Drake team to beat: Bill Self’s Kansas team could be the team to beat in collegiate basketball by the end of the season.
The Jayhawks should be able to dominate this field with a starting lineup that includes Ochai Agbaji, Remy Martin, Jalen Wilson, Christian Braun, and David McCormack.
Belmont is a sleeper team.
Nick Muszynski, a 6-11 center who averaged 15.0 points per game and 5.6 rebounds per game last season, is one of seven standouts returning for a Belmont team that is one of the best in the country’s mid-majors.
Someone to watch: Following a rocky start at Villanova and a decommitment from Arizona amid an FBI probe, Alabama’s Jahvon Quinerly found his footing last season, averaging 12.9 points per game and connecting on 43% of his 3-point tries.
Something for the college basketball fans: a championship matchup between Kansas and Alabama is crucial for both programs.
After losing veterans Herbert Jones, John Petty Jr., and rising prospect Joshua Primo to the NBA, Nate Oats intends to find out where his club stands.
And Kansas might debut Martin and McCormack’s explosive pick-and-roll game, which could be unstoppable this season.
Alex Barcello wants to get BYU back into the NCAA tournament in 2022.
2021 Hawaiian Airlines Diamond Head Classic Dates: December Brian Spurlock/USA TODAY Sports 2021 Hawaiian Airlines Diamond Head Classic Dates: December
Site: Stan Sheriff Center/Honolulu, Hawaii Matchups in the first round: Liberty vs.
Wyoming vs. Northern Iowa
Stanford vs. BYU
Hawaii vs. South Florida
BYU is the team to beat against Vanderbilt.
Mark Pope has lost some key players, but star Alex Barcello (16.1 points per game, 4.7 rebounds per game, 4.3 assists per game, 47.7% from 3-point range) could be the most dominant player — apologies to Scotty Pippen Jr. of Vandy.
(in this case, 20.8 PPG)
Milwaukee transfer Te’Jon Lucas (14.9 points per game, 5.8 assists per game) should also have an quick impact.
Liberty is a sleeper team.
Darius McGhee (15.5 points per game, 4.4 rebounds per game, 41% from 3-point range) returns for a Liberty team that won 23 games and made the NCAA tournament last season.
Three of Ritchie McKay’s top five scores from last season have returned.
Someone to watch: With Stanford’s team losing more than 42 points from last year, five-star prospect Harrison Ingram (No. 3) is a player to keep an eye on.
According to ESPN, 20th in the 2021 class) should have a lot of opportunity to make an impact early in the season.
With the arrival of Minnesota transfer Liam Robbins (11.7 points per game, 6.6 rebounds per game, and 2.7 blocks per game) and the return of All-SEC performer Scottie Pippen, Vandy’s Jerry Stackhouse has the elements for a substantial improvement in his third season.