HONOLULU (July 26, 2012) – The first-round matchups of the 2012 Diamond Head Classic were released on Thursday and the ETSU Buccaneers will face No. 17 Arizona in the first round of the tournament on Saturday, Dec. 22. Game times will be announced at a later date, but all first-round games will be televised live on ESPNU.
Despite the 1,900-plus mile trek from Johnson City to Tucson, there’s some history between ETSU and Arizona as the 14th-seeded Buccaneers stunned the third-seeded Wildcats, 87-80, in the first round of the 1992 NCAA Tournament in Atlanta. Overall, the two programs have only met twice in their history with Arizona defeating the Blue and Gold in the 1991 Preseason NIT in Provo, Utah.
“Playing in this tournament is a great opportunity for our team,” said ETSU men’s basketball head coach Murry Bartow. “This is a tremendous field and Arizona could be one of the top teams in the country when we see them in Hawaii. Sean (Miller) is a great coach and this will be strong challenge for our team. When we entered the tournament, we knew it would be a tough field, but it’s great for our program to get the national exposure. We are looking forward to heading out there and making sure it’s a great experience for our team.”
Arizona finished fourth in the Pac-12 last season with a record of 23-12, 12-6, and lost to Bucknell in the first round of the NIT. The Wildcats return eight letterwinners and two starters from last season’s team, while Arizona will also have Xavier transfer Mark Lions eligible for the 2012-13 season.
The other two teams lined up in ETSU’s bracket are Miami (Fla.) and Hawaii. The first-round winners will play each other, while the two losing teams will play in the consolation bracket. Both of those games will also be aired live on either ESPN2 or ESPNU.
More about the Diamond Head Classic
ESPNU will carry eight of the tournament games, including all four first-round games. ESPN2 will air the third-place game and the Championship Game on Tuesday, Dec. 25, along with the one of the semifinals on Sunday, Dec. 23. ESPN3 will have one game and the entire tournament will be available through WatchESPN, accessible online at WatchESPN.com and through smartphones and tablets via the WatchESPN app to fans who receive their video subscription from an affiliated provider.
The 2012 Diamond Head Classic, an eight-team men’s college basketball tournament, will feature 12 games over the three days. Each team will compete in one game per day, advancing through a bracket-tournament format. The two teams that remain undefeated throughout will face off in a championship match.
The family-friendly tournament and resort destination of Honolulu will host the teams to three days of play, practices and the unique spirit of Aloha from the Hawaiian Islands. Teams will also have the opportunity to attend the Sheraton Hawaii Bowl played during the same week. Additional information, including travel packages, can be found on the Diamond Head Classic Web site at www.diamondheadclassic.com.
For more information on Buccaneer men’s basketball, visit www.ETSUBucs.com.