The Hawaii basketball team drew Illinois State of the Missouri Valley Conference as its first-round opponent in the 2016 Hawaiian Airlines Diamond Head Classic.
Pairings in the nationally televised eight-team event, held Dec. 22, 23 and 25, were announced this morning. The host Rainbow Warriors face either Utah of the Pac-12 Conference or San Francisco of the West Coast Conference on Day 2 of the tournament.
UH last faced Illinois State on Nov. 30, 1997, an 84-63 home win by the Rainbows, who lead the all-time series 2-1. The Redbirds went 18-14 last season, including 12-6 in conference play.
This year’s 8:30 p.m. matchup at the Stan Sheriff Center will be televised on ESPN2.
The Diamond Head field was announced during the 2015 Classic. On the other side of the bracket, the pairings released today were Tulsa vs. Stephen F. Austin and San Diego State vs. Southern Miss.
Hawaii’s other confirmed opponents on its 2016-17 schedule are North Carolina, Seton Hall and Princeton.