(Head Coach: Jay Wright, Big East Conference) – Villanova was the second seed in the Big East Tournament with a 24-7 overall record…the Wildcats have won six Big East regular season championships, four Big East tournament championships, and two National Championships (2016, 2018) over the last seven seasons…with no scholarship seniors on this year’s roster, all five starters are expected to return next season, led by junior Collin Gillespie, sophomore Saddiq Bey, and freshman Jeremiah Robinson-Earl…this will be Villanova’s third appearance in the Empire Classic benefiting Wounded Warrior Project…the Wildcats played in 2002 and 2012, where they fell in the championship game.
(Head Coach: Juwan Howard, Big Ten Conference) – Head coach Juwan Howard returned to Ann Arbor for his first collegiate coaching job in 2019-20 after spending the last six years with the Miami Heat and began his collegiate coaching career with seven straight wins, including wins over two ranked opponents…afterwards, Michigan made the biggest leap in AP Poll history, going from unranked to the No. 4 spot…the Wolverines ended the season with a 19-12 record…Michigan is expected to return 13 letterwinners in the 2020-21 campaign, including three of the 2019-20 team’s top scorers in Isaiah Livers, Franz Wagner, and Eli Brooks…the Wolverines also have the No. 4-ranked 2020 recruiting class in the nation (per ESPN.com)…Michigan will be making its third appearance in the Empire Classic benefiting Wounded Warrior Project, winning the event in 2016.
(Head Coach: Scott Drew, Big 12 Conference) – No. 5 Baylor previously sat atop the national rankings for five consecutive weeks and put together the longest winning streak in Big 12 history with 23 consecutive wins…the Bears posted a 26-4 record and were the No. 2 seed in the Big 12 tournament…head coach Scott Drew is in his 17th season at the helm of the program and is Baylor’s career leader in wins and winning percentage…four starters are expected to return next season, including the Bears’ top three leading scorers, led by sophomore Jared Butler and junior MaCio Teague…the Bears’ 2020 recruiting class is ranked No. 18 by ESPN.com…Baylor will make its Empire Classic benefiting Wounded Warrior Project debut in November.
NC State Wolfpack
(Head Coach: Kevin Keatts, Atlantic Coach Conference) – Kevin Keatts is in his third season leading the Wolfpack and has turned NC State into a scoring machine…his first two teams each averaged over 80 points a game, something that had not been done in Raleigh since the 1995-96 season…the Wolfpack went 19-12 and earned the No. 5 seed in the ACC Tournament…four starters are projected to return next season, led by junior Devon Daniels and sophomore Jericole Hellems…NC State will also welcome the No. 9-ranked recruiting class in the country (per ESPN.com)…the Wolfpack previously played in the Empire Classic benefiting Wounded Warrior Project in 1997.