NICEVILLE, FLA. — North Carolina Central, which played in the 2018 NCAA Tournament, Nicholls State, Southern and Western Michigan will round out the field for the fifth annual Emerald Coast Classic college basketball tournament, presented by Global Sports.
The eight-team tournament will be played Thanksgiving weekend Nov. 23-24 at The Arena on the campus of Northwest Florida State College.
Those schools will join two teams which competed in 2017 post-season play — Cincinnati, Baylor — along with George Mason and Mississippi in the tournament.
North Carolina Central, which has played in the NCAA Tournament three times in the last five years, recorded a 19-16 mark last season, while winning the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference the last two seasons.
Nicholls State, which named Austin Claunch as its new head coach March 29 posted a 21-11 record for the most wins at the school since 1995 while also posting its best Southland Conference mark (15-3) since 1998.
Western Michigan went 17-15 last season, including a 9-9 record in Mid-American Conference play, finishing fourth in the MAC West. Steve Hawkins is the dean of MAC coaches, having served 15 years as head coach with the Broncos.
Sean Woods was named new head coach at Southern University April 12. The Jaguars finished fifth in the Southwestern Athletic Conference last season en route to a 15-18 overall record.
Global Sports has produced 40 multi-team college basketball tournaments in the past 11 years including three during the 2017-18 season.