Miami Hurricanes men’s basketball has been selected as the ACC representative for the 2020 Cayman Islands Classic basketball tournament in early August, according to Caymax Sports LTD.
The ‘Canes will play against Western Kentucky of Conference USA in their first game of the tournament on Nov. 23 at 7:30 p.m. The winner will play either Nevada or Northern Iowa, depending on who wins that matchup.
A three-day tournament that falls during the last week of November annually, the Cayman Islands Classic will run from Monday, Nov. 23 to Wednesday, Nov. 25. The teams invited include Kansas State (Big 12), Oregon State (Pac-12), Northern Illinois (Missouri Valley Conference), Nevada (Mountain West), Ole Miss (SEC), LaSalle (Atlantic 10), and Western Kentucky.
The tournament will be now be held in Niceville, Fla. at Northwest Florida State College instead of its usual location due to the impacts of COVID-19. Four matchups will still be scheduled per day.
Caymax Sports Chief Executive Officer Joe Wright knew in mid-July that it would more than likely not be feasible to host an invitational tournament in the Cayman Islands. ”The Cayman Islands Government will be implementing a phased re-opening of its borders in the final quarter of this year that also involves a five-day self quarantine for each visitor. Any adjustments made to this phased approach will depend on the results of the first phase,” Wright said.
George Mason, a team Larrañaga had taken to the Final Four in 2006, won the Cayman Islands Classic last year. The former ACC Coach of the Year looks to do the same this November, stating that the tournament will serve as a chance to “compete against some excellent competition early in the season.”
Western Kentucky went 20-10 and 13-5 in conference play last season with former Mississippi State coach Rick Stansbury at the helm. The Hilltoppers had even defeated an Arkansas program of the SEC in a December overtime battle.
Stansbury similarly believes his team is primed for the opportunity. “Western Kentucky is excited to be a part of the 2020 Cayman Islands Classic,” Stansbury said. “This is a great field that will provide us with quality opportunities and help prepare us for conference play.”
Western Kentucky’s most recent NCAA Tournament appearance came in 2013, while Miami’s was in 2018—a first round loss to the Loyola (Chicago) Ramblers.