Six of eight teams in the 2011 Hawaiian Airlines Diamond Head Classic basketball field were announced this morning by ESPN.
Besides host Hawaii, the third edition of the tournament will feature Clemson, Texas A&M, Xavier, UTEP, Long Beach State and two teams yet to be announced.
Four of the five known visiting teams reached the NCAA Tournament last season. The fifth, Long Beach State, reached the Big West Conference tournament title game in 2009-10.
The tournament will again take place around the Christmas holiday at the Stan Sheriff Center.
“Based on the teams we have been able to secure over the past two years and in 2011, we have been successful in establishing this event as one of the prominent exempt tournaments,” said Pete Derzis, senior vice president and general manager of ESPN Regional Television, which owns and operates the event. “With Hawaii as our backdrop and an engaged title sponsor, we are very pleased to be hosting this event.”
“The state of Hawaii is a very attractive place to hold top-notch sporting events, a fact borne out by the quality of the 2011 field,” said tournament director David Matlin. “The Hawaiian Airlines Diamond Head Classic is quickly becoming one of the premier exempt tournaments in the country.”
There is an interesting connection. UTEP’s new coach, Tim Floyd, was assisted by new Hawaii coach Gib Arnold at USC for four seasons.
Also, Xavier knocked Hawaii out of NCAA Tournament in the Rainbow Warriors’ latest appearance, 70-58 in a first-round matchup in 2002.
This season’s DHC takes place Dec. 22, 23 and 25. Baylor, Butler, Mississippi State, Florida State, Washington State, San Diego and Utah are the visiting teams.