March 6, 2012
PRINCETON, N.J. - Villanova, Purdue, Alabama, and Oregon State will tip-off the 2012 college basketball season in the 2K Sports Classic benefiting Wounded Warrior Project, which culminates with the Championship Rounds at Madison Square Garden in New York City, Nov. 15-16. Championship Round tickets will go ON SALE at NOON TODAY (March 6).
TICKET INFORMATION: Tickets for Championship Round games at Madison Square Garden will go on sale beginning at noon today (March 6) and may be purchased by calling Ticketmaster at 866-448-7849 or through Ticketmaster.com.
The format for the 2012 2K Sports Classic benefiting Wounded Warrior Project, the nation's premier season-opening college basketball tournament, features 12 teams from across the nation competing in the 18th annual event with Villanova, Purdue, Alabama, and Oregon State hosting regional round games from Nov. 9-11. The four hosts will then advance to the Championship Rounds, Nov. 15-16, at New York's Madison Square Garden, while the remainder of the field will participate in subregionals held at campus sites.
Matchups for the Championship Rounds, as well as the entire bracket for the 2012 2K Sports Classic, will be announced at a later date.
The four schools playing in New York City have combined for 91 bids to the NCAA Tournament. Each of the four schools has been to the NCAA Tournament a minimum of 16 times.
Villanova - Has been to 32 NCAA Tournaments, including the 2009 Final Four...has only one senior on this year's 12-man roster...head coach Jay Wright will welcome back his top 10 scorers next season, headed by juniors Maalik Wayins, Dominic Cheek, and Mouphtaou Yarou.
Purdue - Has appeared in 25 NCAA Tournaments, including each of the last five...the Boilermakers have won at least 20 games each of the last six seasons under the guidance of head coach Matt Painter...features a roster which is expected to return 10 players next season, including junior D.J. Byrd, sophomore Terone Johnson, and freshman Anthony Johnson.
Alabama - Has made 18 NCAA Tournament appearances in its history...won 25 games last season in advancing to the NIT championship game and has reached 20 wins again this year...with six first-year players on this year's roster, head coach Anthony Grant will return the bulk of his team next season, led by junior Andrew Steele, sophomore Trevor Releford, and freshman Trevor Lacey.
Oregon State - Entered the 2011-12 season having won 43 games over the previous three seasons - the most over any three-year span in nearly 20 years...guaranteed second winning season since 1989-90 and first since 2004-05...head coach Craig Robinson will welcome back 14 players next season, including junior Jared Cunningham and sophomores Devon Collier and Ahmad Starks.
A remarkable 48 of the 55 players currently on the rosters of the four teams heading to Madison Square Garden are expected to return in 2012-13, including 16 of 20 starters.
In the 2011 2K Sports Classic, Mississippi State's Arnett Moultrie garnered MVP honors after posting 19 points and 10 rebounds in leading the Bulldogs to a 67-57 upset of then No. 16 Arizona. Mississippi State used its 2K Sports Classic success to jump start a run of 12 consecutive weeks in the Top 25 polls.
Over the last nine years, 39 teams that participated in the event have gone on to compete in the NCAA Tournament.
Beginning in 2012, Wounded Warrior Project will become the beneficiary of the event. The mission of Wounded Warrior Project (WWP) is to honor and empower wounded warriors. WWP's purpose is to raise awareness and to enlist the public's aid for the needs of injured service members, to help injured servicemen and women aid and assist each other, and to provide unique, direct programs and services to meet their needs. WWP is a national, nonpartisan organization headquartered in Jacksonville, Fla.
The 2K Sports Classic is produced by the Gazelle Group of Princeton, N.J. The Gazelle Group is a sports marketing firm, specializing in event production and management, client representation, and sponsorship consulting. Gazelle produces numerous nationally-recognized events, such as the Legends Classic, the Gotham Classic, the CBI presented by Zebra Pen, and the All-American Championship. The Gazelle Group is a member of USA Basketball. For more information on the Gazelle Group, please visit gazellegroup.com.