The competitors in the Cayman Islands Classic finally know the lay of the land.
The bracket for the tournament has been set, and the top half will feature Colorado State against New Mexico State and Loyola-Chicago versus South Florida on 25 Nov., the first day of the tournament. The winners of those respective games will face off in the second round, and the losers will face off in the consolation bracket.
The bottom half will pit George Mason against Old Dominion and Washington State versus Nebraska. The same format will hold, with the winners advancing and the losers squaring off against each other.
The teams that win both of their first two games will meet in the championship on 27 Nov.
Cincinnati won the first edition of the Cayman Islands Classic in 2017 and ultimately progressed to the second round of the NCAA’s postseason tournament. Creighton topped Clemson in last year’s championship game but neither team was able to qualify for the NCAA postseason tournament.
New Mexico State has gone to the NCAA tournament eight times in the last 10 seasons, and Loyola-Chicago shone on the biggest stage with a shocking trip to the Final Four in 2018. Those two programmes could meet in the second round of the Cayman Islands Classic if they both win their opening game.
On the other side, Old Dominion made the NCAA tournament last season for the first time since 2011. George Mason has not played in March Madness since 2011, but made a stirring Final Four run in 2006.
Nebraska and Washington State, who will square off in the opening game, will both be playing for new coaches. Former NBA player Fred Hoiberg will try to revive Nebraska, which has played in the NCAA tournament just once since 2000, and Kyle Smith will take the reins at Washington State.