Baylor, Cincinnati, George Mason, Mississippi Headline 5th Annual Emerald Coast Classic
NICEVILLE, FLA. — Baylor, Cincinnati, George Mason and Mississippi headline the field for the fifth annual Emerald Coast Classic, presented by Global Sports.
The eight-team tournament will be played Thanksgiving weekend Nov. 23-24 at The Arena on the campus of Northwest Florida State College. The remainder of the field will be disclosed in the near future.
Cincinnati, which posted a 31-5 record this past season, was ranked No. 12 in the final 2018 USA Today Coaches poll, while Mick Cronin was named The Sporting News 2018 National Coach of the Year. Under the guidance of Cronin, Cincinnati swept both the 2018 American Athletic Conference regular-season and post-season tournament titles. The Bearcats, who have enjoyed back-to-back 30-win campaigns, ranked No. 2 in the NCAA in scoring defense allowing just 57.5 points and opponent field goal percentage (.374) and defensive efficiency this past season.
Ole Miss recently named Kermit Davis as their new head coach. Davis guided the Middle Tennessee State to league titles in seven of the last nine years, between Conference USA and the Sun Belt. Middle Tennessee made the 2013, 2016 and 2017 NCAA Tournaments and defeated No. 2 seed Michigan State and No. 5 seed Minnesota in back-to-back seasons. The Rebels beat Cincinnati, 66-54, to win the inaugural 2014 Emerald Coast Classic.
Baylor, behind coach Scott Drew, went 19-15 this past season, enjoying a school-record seventh consecutive post-season appearance (5 NCAA, 2 NIT) by advancing to second round of National Invitation Tournament.
George Mason returns every letter winner from a 2017-18 team that placed fifth in the Atlantic 10 Conference, marking the program's best finish in its five-year history in the league.
Global Sports has produced 40 multi-team college basketball tournaments in the past 11 years including three during the 2017-18 season.
Emerald Coast Classic History
2017 — TCU, champion; St. Bonaventure, runner-up
2016 — Virginia, champion; Providence, runner-up
2015 — Iowa State, champion; Illinois, runner-up
2014 — Mississippi, champion; Cincinnati, runner-up