Men's Hoops Part Of Great Field At Anaheim Classic Over Turkey Day Weekend
June 20, 2008
2008 ANAHEIM CLASSIC FIELDArizona State (21-13; 9-9 in Pac-10, NIT, #12 in ESPN.com summer poll)
Baylor (21-11; 9-7 in Big 12, NCAA, #21 in ESPN.com summer poll)
Cal-Fullerton (24-9; 12-4 in Big West, NCAA)
Charlotte (20-14; 9-7 in Atlantic-10, NIT)
Providence (15-16; 6-12 in BIG EAST)
UTEP (19-14; 8-8 in Conference USA, CBI)
St. Mary's (25-7; 12-2 in WCC, NCAA)
Wake Forest (17-13; 7-9 in ACC; #25 in ESPN.com summer poll)
ANAHEIM, Calif. - ESPN Regional Television, Inc., a subsidiary of ESPN, has announced the field for the second Anaheim Classic. The 12-game, bracketed collegiate basketball tournament features eight schools that combined to win more than 62 percent of their games last season. The games will be played Thanksgiving weekend at the Anaheim Convention Center adjacent to Disneyland on Nov. 27, 28 and 30. Tournament pairings and game times will be announced at a later date. The complete tournament will air live on either ESPN2 or ESPNU.
Three of the eight schools in the 2008 Anaheim Classic field earned berths in the 2008 NCAA Tournament in March. Baylor (ranked #21 by ESPN.com this summer) of the Big 12; Cal State Fullerton of the Big West; and St. Mary's of the West Coast Conference all advanced to the first round of the NCAA's. Arizona State (ranked #12 by ESPN.com) of the Pac-10 and the Atlantic 10's Charlotte competed in the National Invitation Tournament (NIT); while UTEP of Conference USA participated in the College Basketball Invitational (CBI) event. Completing the 2008 Anaheim Classic field are Providence of the Big East and Wake Forest (#25) of the ACC.
'We are excited about the quality of the field, representing outstanding conferences from around the country. These teams compete at the highest level and should entertain the college basketball fans in the Southern California area,' said Pete Derzis, senior vice president and general manager, ESPN Regional Television. 'The Anaheim Classic showcases quality competition and an outstanding off-court experience for the student-athletes, coaches and staff. Fans will have an opportunity to spend the Thanksgiving weekend watching college basketball and enjoying Disneyland, along with all that Southern California has to offer.'
The Big West Conference again serves as the host for the Anaheim Classic at the 7,800-seat Anaheim Convention Center, which has served the conference for the past eight years as the site of its postseason tournament. The Anaheim Classic features four games each day, with the two undefeated teams competing in the championship game on ESPN2 on Nov. 30.
'The Big West Conference has a long association with hosting championships at the Anaheim Convention Center and we are pleased to continue our involvement with ESPN Regional Television in staging the Anaheim Classic,' said Dennis Farrell, Commissioner of the Big West Conference. 'With a national television audience combined with Disneyland, the Anaheim Classic will provide college basketball fans with exciting action at Thanksgiving time.'
ESPN Regional Television will be responsible for the Anaheim Classic's organization, operation, sponsorship, marketing efforts and more. The Big West Conference will provide marketing, management and game day operations' support for the Anaheim Classic.
In addition to the Anaheim Classic, ESPN Regional Television stages other eight-team 'exempt' basketball events: the O'Reilly Auto Parts Puerto Rico Tip-Off in San Juan and the Old Spice Classic at Disney's Wide World of Sports near Orlando. USC won the inaugural Anaheim Classic in November 2007, defeating Southern Illinois in the championship game. Other teams participating in the inaugural Anaheim Classic included Miami-Ohio; Mississippi State; UC Irvine; San Diego; South Alabama and Tennessee-Chattanooga.
Tickets for the Anaheim Classic will be available to the general public on Monday, August 18, 2008, through www.Tickemaster.com or Ticketmaster at (714) 704-2000. Packages include 12 games for $75 and single-session tickets for $15. Special travel package information can be found at www.anaheimclassic.com or www.GETTRAVEL.com.
TEAMS IN THE 2008 ANAHEIM CLASSIC (NOV. 27, 28 AND 30)
In Herb Sendek's second season with the Sun Devils, ASU ranked as one of the nation's most improved teams, winning 13 more games than the previous season. The Sun Devils posted a 20-win season for just the fourth time in 27 years. ASU won nine Pac-10 games for just the third time in the past 13 seasons (11-7 in 2002-03 and 10-8 in 1999-2000) and went 5-4 conference record in the second half of the season with a road win at Arizona and home wins vs. Stanford and USC. Only UCLA and ASU beat both Stanford and USC.
Under coach Scott Drew, the Bears finished in a tie for fourth place in Big 12 play with a school-best 9-7 record, which led Baylor to its fifth NCAA Tournament appearance - its first since 1988 and second since 1950. All but two of Baylor's 11 losses came to teams who advanced to the NCAA Tournament.
Cal State Fullerton
Coached by Bob Burton, the Titans shared the Big West Conference regular-season championship and won the postseason tourney title to earn the school's first berth in 30 years to the NCAA Tournament, in which they lost to Wisconsin in the first round. The final 24-9 record is the school's best Div. I record and marks the fourth consecutive winning season, including back-to-back 20-victory campaigns.
The 49ers' NIT bid was the school's eighth postseason appearance under coach Bobby Lutz in his 10 years at the university. Charlotte's all-time winningest coach with 189 wins, Lutz has led the 49ers to five NCAA Tournaments and three NIT's.
Playing one of the country's toughest schedules (44th), the Friars played 14 of their 31 games against schools that qualified for the NCAA Tournament. PC encountered three of those teams to open the season at the Puerto Rico Tip-Off in San Juan last season, defeating Temple and Arkansas before falling to Miami (Fla.) in the championship game. Providence is directed by first-year coach Keno Davis, who comes to the Friars after leading Drake to a 28-5 overall record and berth in the NCAA Tournament last season.
Led by Coach Randy Bennett, the school's winningest coach, in 2007-08 the Gaels earned their second NCAA appearance in four years. St. Mary's won 25 games and finished second in the West Coast Conference with a 12-2 record. The Gaels lost a double-overtime decision to San Diego in the semifinals of the WCC Tournament, and earned an NCAA Tournament at-large bid.
In 2007-08, the Miners improved considerably from 2006-07, raising their record from 14-17 to 19-14 and their Conference USA mark from 6-10 to 8-8. UTEP also made its fourth postseason tournament appearance in the last five years. Six of coach Tony Barbee's top eight scorers are scheduled to return this season.
The Demon Deacons finished the 2007-08 campaign with a 17-13 overall record and a 7-9 mark in the ACC without a senior in their starting lineup. Wake Forest is under the direction of second-year coach Dino Gaudio, a former assistant coach to the late Skip Prosser.
ESPN Regional Television/Event Ownership
The nation's largest syndicator of collegiate sports programming, ESPN Regional Television (ERT) annually produces more than 900 sporting events. Programming includes football, basketball, NCAA events, golf and NHRA events accounting for more than 2,200 live and/or original hours of programming. In addition to event ownership, ERT is the production headquarters for ESPNU, the 24-hour college sports network; syndication rights-holder and producer of national, regional and local shows for college conferences (e.g. - BIG EAST, Big 12, Mid-American, Sun Belt, WAC).
ESPN Regional Television markets and/or owns several other sporting events, including collegiate football events: the St Petersburg Bowl; the Papajohns.com Bowl; the Bell Helicopter Armed Forces Bowl; the Sheraton Hawai'i Bowl; the Pioneer Las Vegas Bowl, the New Mexico Bowl; the MEAC/SWAC Challenge; and The Home Depot College Football Awards; collegiate basketball events: the O'Reilly Auto Parts All-College Classic (Oklahoma City); the Old Spice Classic (Orlando, Fla.); the SEC/BIG EAST Invitational; the Anaheim Classic (Calif.); the O'Reilly Auto Parts Puerto Rico Tip-Off (San Juan); and the O'Reilly ESPNU BracketBusters; as well as the ESPN National Golf Challenge presented by Callaway. For more information, visit www.espnplus.com.