December 22, 2009 - by
Seminoles To Play In 2010 Hawaiian Airlines Diamond Head Classic

Dec. 22, 2009

ESPN Regional Television, Inc., (ERT) a subsidiary of ESPN, announced today seven of the eight teams in the field for the 2010 Diamond Head Classic, set for Dec. 22, 23 and 25 at the Stan Sheriff Center in Honolulu.

Tournament host school Hawai`i will again be part of the field for the Hawaiian Airlines Diamond Head Classic, along with Baylor, Butler, Florida State, Mississippi State, San Diego, Utah and one team to be determined. Five of the seven teams reached the postseason in 2008-09, with Butler, Florida State, Mississippi State and Utah playing in the NCAA Tournament. Meanwhile, Baylor advanced to the 2009 National Invitation Tournament finals.

“With the announcement of this outstanding field, we see the excitement and the attractiveness of Hawaii that the Hawaiian Airlines Diamond Head Classic offers to the collegiate basketball community,” said Pete Derzis, senior vice president and general manager, ESPN Regional Television. “We have an extremely balance group of teams representing so many different part of the country.”

“We are pleased to announce this exciting field for the second annual Hawaiian Airlines Diamond Head Classic,” said David Matlin, executive director of the Diamond Head Classic and Sheraton Hawai`i Bowl. “With teams from several of the power conferences and a group of strong basketball programs, we feel ahead of schedule in creating one of the better tournaments in the country.”

The 2010 field includes no less than six teams that have made a mark in the postseason in the last two years:

Baylor has enjoyed unprecedented success through the past two seasons, including its first NCAA Tournament appearance in 20 years in 2007-08. Last season, the Bears advanced to the 2009 NIT championship game and posted back-to-back 20-win seasons for the first time in school history. Baylor’s 45 wins are the most wins in a two-year span in the program’s 104-season history.

Butler ranks among the most successful men’s basketball programs in Division I through the past three seasons with an 85-17 record. In each of the past three seasons, the Bulldogs have captured the Horizon League regular-season championship, advanced to the NCAA Tournament and have been ranked in the Top 25.

Florida State is the fourth winningest program in the Atlantic Coast Conference in the last three seasons. The Seminoles have won 20 or more games in four of the last five seasons and have played in the postseason for a school-record four consecutive years, including last year’s NCAA Tournament.

Mississippi State won 23 games last season to earn a spot in the 2009 NCAA Tournament. The Bulldogs captured the 2009 SEC Tournament championship and have claimed two of the last three SEC West Division regular-season titles. Mississippi State has made the NCAA Tournament in five of the last eight seasons.

San Diego missed the postseason last year, but enjoyed a memorable 2007-08 campaign in which it went 22-14, captured the West Coast Conference Tournament and advanced to the second round of the NCAA Tournament after knocking off No. 2 seed Connecticut.

Utah is coming off a 24-10 season in which the Runnin’ Utes earned a share of the Mountain West Conference regular-season title, captured the MWC Tournament Championship and gained a No. 5 seed in the NCAA Tournament, the highest seed ever earned by a Mountain West Conference team. Utah also finished the season ranked in the Associated Press Top 25 for the first time since 2005.

The Hawaiian Airlines Diamond Head Classic, an eight-team men’s college basketball tournament, will feature 12 games through three days – Dec. 22, 23 and 25. The Sheraton Hawai`i Bowl, also owned by ESPN Regional Television, will be played Dec 24.

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 on Christmas day, Dec. 25.

Additional information can be found on the Hawaiian Airlines Diamond Head Classic’s official Web site:

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