NICEVILLE, FLA. — Tickets for the fifth annual Emerald Coast Classic college basketball tournament, presented by Global Sports, will go on sale at 10 a.m. this Monday (Sept. 24).
The Emerald Coast Classic will be played Thanksgiving weekend Nov. 23-24 at The Arena on the campus of Northwest Florida State College. Fans can purchase tickets, which start at $15, at the official tournament website, www.emeraldcoastclassic.com.
The eight-team tournament is headlined by top teams from across the country, including Baylor, Cincinnati, George Mason and Mississippi.
North Carolina Central, which played in the 2018 NCAA Tournament, Nicholls State, Southern and Western Michigan will round out the field.
The semifinal round games on Nov.23 feature George Mason playing Cincinnati at 6 p.m. followed by Mississippi facing Baylor at 8:30 p.m.
The championship game Nov. 24 will tip off at 6 p.m. at The Arena.
Cincinnati, which posted a 31-5 record this past season, was ranked No. 12 in the final 2018 USA Today Coaches poll, while Mick Cronin was named The Sporting News 2018 National Coach of the Year.
Under the guidance of Cronin, Cincinnati swept both the 2018 American Athletic Conference regular-season and post-season tournament titles. The Bearcats, who have enjoyed back-to-back 30-win campaigns, ranked No. 2 in the NCAA in scoring defense allowing just 57.5 points and opponent field goal percentage (.374) and defensive efficiency this past season.
Ole Miss recently named Kermit Davis as their new head coach. Davis guided Middle Tennessee State to league titles in seven of the last nine years, between Conference USA and the Sun Belt Conferences. Middle Tennessee made the 2013, 2016 and 2017 NCAA Tournaments and defeated No. 2 seed Michigan State and No. 5 seed Minnesota in back-to-back seasons. The Rebels beat Cincinnati, 66-54, to win the inaugural 2014 Emerald Coast Classic.
Baylor, behind coach Scott Drew, went 19-15 this past season, enjoying a school-record seventh consecutive post-season appearance (5 NCAA, 2 NIT) by advancing to second round of National Invitation Tournament.
George Mason returns all 12 letterwinners from a 2017-18 team that placed fifth in the Atlantic 10 Conference, marking the program’s best finish in its five-year history in the league.