You may not have heard, but some sweet basketball action is coming to town. The inaugural Cayman Islands Classic is bringing top-rated National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) college teams to these shores to battle it out in the John Gray High School gymnasium. Scheduled from Monday-Wednesday, there are 12 games to be played, from the first rounds to the final.
The contenders include such illustrious names as the Ragin’ Cajuns out of Louisiana, the Jackrabbits from South Dakota State and the Cincinnati Bearcats. This is the most ambitious basketball tournament yet to be held in the Cayman Islands and should be a treat for any sports fan to attend.
The heats begin at noon on Monday, with the final at 7:30 p.m. on Wednesday. Elimination games fall in-between and those who can’t get to the ones in the day will still get to witness plenty of action. Six of the 12 match-ups happen at 5 p.m. or later.
Five of the teams coming to Cayman competed in postseason play in 2017 with Cincinnati, and South Dakota State advancing to the NCAA Tournament, while Iowa and Richmond participated in the National Invitation Tournament (NIT).
Wyoming went 23-15 last season en route to winning the College Basketball Invitational – the school’s first major postseason title since winning the 1943 NCAA Championship.
Cincinnati was ranked No. 18 in the final 2017 Associated Press poll, posting a 30-6 record while making its seventh straight trip to the NCAA Tournament.
Iowa had a 19-15 record, advancing to the second round of the 2017 NIT.
South Dakota State, which plays in the Summit League, made its fourth appearance in the last seven years (2012, 2013, 2016) in the 2017 NCAA Tournament facing eventual national runner-up Gonzaga. The Jackrabbits will feature the nation’s top returning scorer in 6-9 forward Mike Daum who averaged 25.1 points.
Richmond, a member of the Atlantic 10 Conference, posted a 22-12 record last season while advancing to the quarterfinal round of the 2017 NIT. UAB owned a 17-16 mark last season. Louisiana Ragin’ Cajuns, which competes in the West Division of the Sun Belt Conference, had a 21-12 record last season.
Buffalo went 17-15 last year. The Bulls captured its first outright Mid-American Conference championship in 2015, while advancing to the NCAA Tournament for the first time in school history.
For more information and tickets, visit www.caymanislandsclassic.com.