Six teams, including four that qualified for the NCAA Tournament last season, have been named to the 2011 field of the Hawaiian Airlines Diamond Head Classic men’s basketball tournament.
Leading the way will be Xavier, which was 26-9 and advanced to the Sweet 16 last season. It has five consecutive 20-win seasons and 13 20-win seasons in the past 14 seasons. Xavier and Michigan State are the only NCAA Division I teams to advance to the Sweet 16 in each of the past three years.
Other NCAA Tournament-qualifying teams in the Classic are Clemson, which has made three consecutive NCAA Tournament appearances; Texas A&M, which has had six consecutive 20-win seasons and advanced to the tournament’s second round; and UTEP, which posted a 26-7 record last season before losing in the tournament to eventual runner-up Butler.
Joining those four will be Long Beach State and host Hawaii.
The remaining two teams will be confirmed later.
"You got a lot of NCAA teams there, solid teams, so we’re happy with the field as we continue to build the Hawaiian Airlines Diamond Head Classic." said David Matlin, executive director of the Classic and Sheraton Hawaii Bowl.
As far as the two unannounced teams, Matlin said "some of the conferences we’re talking to are Big Ten, SEC, Big East and Pac-10 right now."
"Based on the teams that we have been able to secure over the past two years and into 2011, we have been successful in establishing this event as one of the prominent exempt tournaments," Pete Derzis, senior vice president and general manager of ESPN Regional Television said in a news release.
The tournament is held during the Christmas holidays.
The 2010 event will be Dec. 22, 23 and 25, with the Hawaii Bowl on Dec. 24.