Schedule finalized for the 2018 2K Empire Classic benefiting Wounded Warrior Project
Syracuse, UConn, Oregon, and Iowa to meet at The Garden Nov. 15-16
June 11, 2018
PRINCETON, N.J. – The schedule has been finalized for the 24th annual 2K Empire Classic benefiting Wounded Warrior Project (@2KClassic).
The 2K Empire Classic benefiting Wounded Warrior Project is highlighted with Syracuse taking on Connecticut and Oregon meeting Iowa in the semifinals of the Championship Rounds at Madison Square Garden on Thursday, Nov. 15. The Orange, who are ranked in most preseason Top 25 polls, and Huskies will meet for the 95th time in a series that dates back to 1956 with Syracuse owning a 56-38 series advantage. In the other semifinal matchup, Oregon will face Iowa for the seventh time in their history. The Hawkeyes hold a 5-1 series lead. Like Syracuse, the Ducks appear in most preseason Top 25 polls.
The semifinal winners will then meet for the 2K Empire Classic title on Friday, Nov. 16, preceded by the consolation game. The four regional round hosts combine for 111 NCAA appearances, 16 Final Fours, and eight National Championships.
This will mark the 21st year that The World’s Most Famous Arena will host the 2K Empire Classic. Tickets for the Championship Rounds can be purchased at Ticketmaster.com or by calling 866-448-7849. All four games of the Championship Rounds will air on ESPN networks.
Syracuse, Connecticut, Oregon, and Iowa will also host two games on their home courts in addition to playing a pair of games at The Garden. They are joined in the 2K Empire Classic by Eastern Washington, Green Bay, Morehead State, and UMKC. These four teams will play two road games and meet in the Subregional Rounds at Eastern Washington on Nov. 16-17. In the Subregional Round semifinals, Morehead State will play UMKC while the host Eagles take on Green Bay.
The complete schedule for the 2K Empire Classic benefiting Wounded Warrior Project can be via this link.
Syracuse (Head Coach: Jim Boeheim, Atlantic Coast Conference) – Jim Boeheim is entering his 43rd season at Syracuse with 926 career wins, which ranks second all-time…he has also guided the Orange to 40 postseason berths, including 33 NCAA appearances, one National Championship, and the Sweet 16 of the 2018 NCAA Tournament…all five starters on last year’s roster are expected to return, as well as six of the top seven scorers…guard Tyus Battle led the Orange with a 19.2 ppg average in earning second-team All-ACC honors…guard Frank Howard averaged 14.4 ppg and had a team-high 175 assists and 68 steals…forward Oshae Brissett led Syracuse with 8.8 rpg and scored at a 14.9 ppg clip to garner ACC All-Rookie team acclaim…the Orange have made 39 NCAA Tournament appearances and six Final Fours, winning the 2003 National Championship…the Orange, who have played in more 2K Empire Classics than any program, will be making their sixth appearance (2002, 2004, 2005, 2009, 2014) and own a 14-3 record and titles in 2004 and 2009.
Connecticut (Head Coach: Head Coach: Dan Hurley, American Athletic Conference) – Dan Hurley takes over at UConn after six successful seasons at Rhode Island, where the Rams won 113 games, one A-10 Tournament title, and advanced to two NCAA Tournaments under his guidance…10 of 13 players are expected to return, including three starters…guard Jalen Adams, a second-team All-AAC choice, led UConn with an 18.1 ppg average to go with a team-best 141 assists…guard Christian Vital netted 14.9 ppg and had a team-high 50 steals…McDonald’s All-American Alterique Gilbert is expected to be healthy after playing just six games as a freshman this past season (9.0 ppg)…UConn has been to 33 NCAA Tournaments, five Final Fours, and has won four National Championships…the Huskies will be making their fourth appearance in the 2K Empire Classic benefiting Wounded Warrior Project (1999, 2007, 2013) and are 8-2 in the event.
Oregon (Head Coach: Dana Altman), Pac-12 Conference) – Dana Altman has been at the helm of the Ducks’ program for eight seasons and during that time Oregon has posted eight straight winning seasons, just the second time in school history that this feat has been accomplished, while the 210 wins in this span are a school record…Altman’s streak of 21 straight winning seasons is the sixth-longest streak among active coaches in the country…the Ducks are expected to return five players, including two starters from last year’s squad, led by guard Payton Pritchard, who led Oregon in scoring (14.5 ppg) and assists (171) to garner second-team All-Pac-12 honors…forward Paul White netted 9.4 ppg…the Ducks also welcome the No. 4 recruiting class in the nation, according to ESPN, led by No. 4-rated Bol Bol, son of former NBA player Manute Bol…Oregon has advanced to 14 NCAA Tournaments (including five in a row from 2013-17) and two Final Fours (most recently in 2017), and won the 1939 National Championship…the Ducks will be making their 2K Empire Classic debut.
Iowa (Head Coach: Fran McCaffery, Big Ten Conference) –In eight seasons at Iowa, Fran McCaffery is the first head coach in program history to lead Iowa to 18 or more wins in six straight seasons, while his 151 wins with the Hawkeyes is the program’s fourth-highest total…12 of the 16 players on last year’s roster will return in 2018-19, including all five starters and each of the top nine scorers, led by forward Tyler Cook, who led Iowa in scoring (15.3 ppg) and rebounding (6.8 rpg)…guard Jordan Bohannon paced the Hawkeyes with 178 assists and ranked second to Cook with a 13.5 ppg average…both earned honorable mention All-Big-Team acclaim…Iowa previously played in the 1999 and 2014 2K Classics, advancing to the championship game in 1999, and sports a 3-3 2K Classic record…Iowa has been to 25 NCAA Tournaments and three Final Fours.
Eastern Washington (Head Coach: Shantay Legans, Big Sky Conference) –Shantay Legans is in his second season as head coach of the Eagles after leading Eastern to the CBI this past season…with a roster comprised of a dozen players expected to return this season after playing or redshirting in 2017-18 – five of whom rank among the team’s top six scorers – the Eags are poised to return to prominence in the Big Sky Conference, having last won the league title in 2015 to begin a streak of four-straight postseason appearances…among those expected back is forward Mason Peatling, who netted 7.7 ppg to place second on the team in scoring in earning All-Big Sky honorable mention…forward Jesse Hunt averaged 7.5 ppg and 6.2 rpg in an injury-shortened junior season…the Eags played in the 2013 2K Classic benefiting Wounded Warrior Project.
Green Bay (Head Coach: Linc Darner, Horizon League) – Linc Darner has been a winner everywhere he has been, including winning the 2015 NCAA Division II national championship at Florida Southern…in three seasons at Green Bay, Darner has won over 60 games and posted more wins in his first two seasons than any coach in the history of the program (41)…all but two players are expected to return from last season, led by Marquette transfer Sandy Cohen III (16.1 ppg)…guard Kam Hankerson netted 10.7 ppg and was second on the team with 21 blocked shots…the Phoenix will be playing in the 2K Empire Classic for the first time.
Morehead State (Head Coach: Preston Spradlin, Ohio Valley Conference) – Preston Spradlin is in his second full season as head coach…the Eagles’ roster features 11 players expected to return with four of those scoring in double figures…guard Jordan Walker led the squad in scoring (12.2 ppg) a year ago…he also had 35 steals…forward Lamontray Harris netted 11.0 ppg and hauled down 6.3 rpg…despite the youth, Morehead was extremely competitive as 12 of its losses were by seven points or less…the Eagles are playing in the 2K Empire Classic benefiting Wounded Warrior Project for the first time.
UMKC (Head Coach: Kareem Richardson, Western Athletic Conference) –In five years at UMKC, Kareem Richardson has turned around the fortunes of the Roos, including guiding his 2016-17 team to 18 wins – the second most in school history – and the quarterfinals of the CBI…the 2018-19 Roos will be led by guard Xavier Bishop, who paced the team in scoring (11.6 ppg) and assists (97)…this will be UMKC’s first appearance in the 2K Empire Classic benefiting Wounded Warrior Project.
In the 2017 2K Classic benefiting Wounded Warrior Project, after a seven-point win in the semifinals, Providence shot 62 percent from the field to earn a 90-63 win over Saint Louis to claim the 2K Classic title. Virginia Tech, which fell to Saint Louis in the semis, took down Washington, 103-79, in the consolation game. The Hokies set a tournament record by scoring 364 points (91.0 ppg) in their four games.
Wounded Warrior Project (@wwp) is the beneficiary of the 2K Empire Classic. With the mission to honor and empower Wounded Warriors, WWP is the hand extended to encourage warriors as they adjust to their new normal and achieve new triumphs. Offering a variety of programs and services, WWP is equipped to serve warriors with every type of injury – from the physical to the invisible wounds of war.
The 2K Empire Classic benefiting Wounded Warrior Project is produced by the Gazelle Group of Princeton, N.J. The Gazelle Group is a sports marketing firm, specializing in event production and management, client representation, and sponsorship consulting. Gazelle produces numerous nationally-recognized events, such as the Legends Classic, the Gotham Classic, and the College Basketball Invitational. For more information on the Gazelle Group, please visit gazellegroup.com.
The Northeast Conference (NEC) is the sponsoring conference of the Gotham Classic. Entering its 37th season, the NEC is a NCAA Division I collegiate athletic association consisting of 10 institutions of higher learning located throughout six states. For more information on the NEC, visit the official website at www.northeastconference.org or follow on Twitter @NECsports.
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