The marriage of Grand Cayman and high-level college basketball is back for another spin.
The second annual Cayman Islands Classic will tip off Monday morning, pitting eight competitive college basketball teams against each other in the gymnasium of John Gray High School.
The eight teams – University of Akron, Clemson University, University of Georgia, Georgia State University, Creighton University, Boise State University, Illinois State University and St. Bonaventure University – will be vying to take home a trophy and kick off their season in earnest.
Last year, the University of Cincinnati won the inaugural Cayman Islands Classic and then went on to lose in the second round of the National Collegiate Athletic Association’s postseason tournament.
Akron and Clemson will face off in the first game of this year’s tournament at 11 a.m. Monday, and then Georgia and Illinois State will play at 1:30. The winners of those two games will meet on Tuesday.
St. Bonaventure and Georgia State will play on Monday at 5 p.m., and Boise State and Creighton will wrap up the first day of action with a game at 7:30 p.m. The winners of those two games will meet Tuesday, and the winners of the second-round games will play in Wednesday’s championship.
Clemson won two games in the postseason NCAA tournament last year before being eliminated by top seed University of Kansas in the Sweet Sixteen. St. Bonaventure earned a victory over University of California at Los Angeles in the First Four but then lost to University of Florida in the first round.
Georgia State made the tournament in 2018 but was eliminated in the first round by Cincinnati. Creighton has made the first round in each of the last two years but lost immediately both times.
Illinois State has not made it to the postseason NCAA tournament since 1998. Akron last competed in March Madness in 2013, and both Georgia and Boise State last made it to the tournament in 2015.
Clemson, coached by Brad Brownell, went six seasons without qualifying for March Madness before making it to the Sweet Sixteen last year. The Tigers racked up a 25-10 record last year but lost three players to graduation and another due to a transfer to LaSalle University.