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Bearcats to compete in inaugural Emerald Coast Classic
CINCINNATI (WKRC) -- The University of Cincinnati men's basketball team will compete in the inaugural Emerald Coast Classic presented by Global Sports in November.
The Bearcats will host the first two rounds at Fifth Third Arena, taking on Eastern Illinois on Nov. 23 and welcoming North Carolina Central on Nov. 25.
Cincinnati then travels to The Arena at Northwest Florida State College in Niceville, Fla., to compete against Middle Tennessee on Nov. 28 before facing the winner of the Creighton-Ole Miss contest on
Nov. 29. All game times are still to be determined.
The event features an eight-team field overall with Northern Arizona and Southern also participating though UC will not face either team.
Cincinnati, Creighton and North Carolina Central all played in the 2014 NCAA tournament while Middle Tennessee and Southern either won or shared their respective conference regular-season titles.
"We have assembled a great field in this inaugural year of the event and we hope to make this one of the top preseason college basketball events annually," said tournament director Maury Hanks, who is also chief executive officer for Global Sports.
UC head coach Mick Cronin was named both the American Athletic Conference Coach of the Year and was nominated for national coach of the year honors after guiding the Bearcats to a 27-7 overall record and a share of the American's regular-season title. The Bearcats are one of only 16 teams to advance to the NCAA Tournament in each of the last four seasons.
"We are extremely excited about being in the Emerald Coast Classic this November," Cronin said. "We have been in a number of multi-team events with Global Sports in the past and I am sure that Maury and his staff will put together a tremendous event."
Global Sports has produced 25 multi-team college basketball tournaments in the past seven years with four more coming during the 2014-15 season.
Cincinnati's game against Eastern Illinois will mark the first in series history. The Bearcats are 1-0 against North Carolina Central after earning a 74-61 victory in last season's opener. UC leads its series with Middle Tennessee 3-0, including a 69-48 home win last season.
UC leads its series with Creighton 2-1 all-time, but dropped a 67-63 decision to the Blue Jays in the second round of the 2013 NCAA tournament. The Bearcats own a 1-0 lead in their series with Ole Miss.
Information provided by University of Cincinnati Athletics