Fresh from a 27-win season that included a region finals appearance, the Miami Hurricanes men’s basketball team is becoming a trendy must-have in the scheduling of early season tournaments for the upcoming 2016-17 season.
In addition to playing in the second annual Hoopball Miami Invitational, the Canes have also accepted the chance to play in the AdvoCare Invitational, in Orlando to open the season.
The Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame recently announced the matchups for the Hoopball Miami Invitational, a premier showcase held in conjunction with AmericanAirlines Arena in early December.
The two-day event will bookend a week of community events in the Miami area. On Dec. 3, Virginia Commonwealth will take on Illinois with Miami facing Wofford in the nightcap. One week later, the event continues with Georgetown battling La Salle and then Temple taking on DePaul.
“Our team is very excited to be playing in the Hoophall Miami Invitational, right here in our own back yard, at AmericanAirlines Arena,” Canes coach Jim Larrañaga said. “We will have a lot of new faces in our Hurricanes program this year, so playing downtown early in the season should provide a lot of excitement for our fans.”
The event also includes a one-day showcase of local high school talent as well as a Hall of Fame Legends Luncheon with Alonzo Mourning, Pat Riley and others.
“The Basketball Hall of Fame is thrilled to be returning to Miami to host premier college basketball programs in a world-class facility,” said John L. Doleva, President and CEO of the Basketball Hall of Fame. “We look forward to engaging with the Miami community.”
But prior to that event, the Canes will face Stanford in the opening round of the AdvoCare Invitational. The 11th annual event runs Nov. 24, 25 and 27 at HP Field House at ESPN Wide World of Sports in Orlando.
Miami will then match up with either Indiana State or Iowa State in the second round.
It’s a great way to kick off a season. Miami will be seeking revenge on Stanford for the 66-64 overtime loss to the Cardinal in the 2015 NIT championship game at Madison Square Garden.
Miami is one of four teams featured in the event that advanced to the Sweet 16 in last season’s NCAA Tournament. The other three include Iowa State, Gonzaga and Big East champion Seton Hall.
In addition, the remaining participants in the eight-team field include Florida and Quinnipiac.
The bracket-format tournament features 12 games over three days. Teams will compete once per day, advancing with a victory. The two teams that remain undefeated will face off in the championship game on Sunday, Nov. 27, at 1:30 p.m. ET on ESPN.
It will definitely be a daunting task for a Canes team in rebuilding mode to compete against some of the nation’s top teams so early in the season. Miami will have four freshmen and three sophomores on the roster.
Only 6-foot-6 senior guard Davon Reed and 6-foot-8 senior forward Kamari Murphy return as starters. In fact, only one other player on the roster has started a game for the Canes. That’s 6-foot-2 junior guard Ja’Quan Newton, who started one game last season.
So, while the Canes garner national recognition, there could be some growing pains to go through in these early tournaments.