The good people at ESPN Regional Television decided to get a jump start on the public release of their 2011 Hawaiian Airlines Diamond Head Classic Field today. This morning, they announced six of the eight teams in the tournament, including host Hawaii. Here’s who they are, and how they finished the 2009-10 season:
>> Clemson (Atlantic Coast Conference): NCAA Tournament first round. 21-11 overall.
>> Long Beach State (Big West Conference): Big West tournament title game. 17-16 overall.
>> Texas A&M (Big 12): NCAA Tournament second round. 24-10 overall.
>> Xavier (Atlantic 10): NCAA Tournament Sweet 16. 26-9 overall.
>> UTEP (Conference USA): NCAA Tournament first round. 26-7 overall.
A solid start to the third edition of the tournament. It could go from good to great depending on the final two teams that are added.
According to tournament director David Matlin, the plan is to again have 10 of the 12 games in the tournament televised nationally on the ESPN family of networks.
It will take place again right around Christmas. The dates aren’t nailed down yet, but a scenario like the standard Dec. 22, 23 and 25 again, surrounding the Dec. 24 Sheraton Hawaii Bowl is possible.
If you have time, don’t forget to check out our special UH men’s basketball season preview package, Rebuilding the Rainbows, located just below the regular sports stories on the Star-Advertiser’s front webpage. Thanks to Jason Kaneshiro and Dave Reardon for their contributing work, deputy sports editor Curtis Murayama for putting it all together, and our graphics crew for their designs.