ESPN is adding an early-season college basketball event to its roster this year with the Myrtle Beach Invitational, and UCF will be a part of the inaugural tournament. The new event will take place November 15, 16 and 18, at the HTC Center on the campus of Coastal Carolina University.
“We are excited to launch the Myrtle Beach Invitational,” said Pete Derzis, ESPN senior vice president of college sports programming and ESPN Events. “After collaborating with Visit Myrtle Beach and the city of Myrtle Beach to move last year’s Puerto Rico Tip-Off to the area due to the effects of Hurricane Maria, we saw first-hand the community’s outstanding facilities and passion for college basketball. Based on that experience, we determined that Myrtle Beach would be an ideal location for college basketball teams and their fans to visit each November.”
The inaugural early-season tournament will feature the Knights, Cal State Fullerton, Saint Joseph’s, Valparaiso, Wake Forest, West Virginia and Western Kentucky with an eighth team to be announced at a later date.
“We are excited to host ESPN and eight Division I men’s college basketball programs in November for the inaugural Myrtle Beach Invitational,” said Carla Schuessler, Myrtle Beach Area Chamber of Commerce Chair of the Board. “We are also looking forward to welcoming all the fans to our destination; in addition to the exciting action on the court, the Myrtle Beach area has so much to offer fans from the beautiful beach, to dining and attractions.”
UCF has a history with three of the other six teams currently scheduled to participate in the tournament, having played West Virginia last season for the first time in the AdvoCare Invitational, matching up with Valparaiso five times, most recently in 2013, and taking on Western Kentucky three times, but not since 2005.
The Mountaineers went 26-11 this past season, reaching the Big 12 Championship game and eventually the Sweet 16 of the NCAA Tournament, before falling to eventual champion Villanova. Cal State Fullerton was also in the NCAA Tournament this season after winning the Big West title. Western Kentucky, meanwhile, went 27-11 and made a run similar to UCF’s two seasons ago, falling in the NIT Semifinals at Madison Square Garden.
For more information on the event, including travel packages, please visit www.myrtlebeachinvite.com.