Aug. 5, 2010
HONOLULU - Washington State University men's basketball will face Mississippi State in the opener of the 2010 Hawaiian Airlines Diamond Head Classic, ESPN Regional Television announced Thursday, along with the complete bracket for the tournament. The eight-team tournament is set for Dec. 22, 23 and 25 at the Stan Sheriff Center in Honolulu.
The second annual Hawaiian Airlines Diamond Head Classic field features NCAA `Elite Eight' participant Baylor, 2009-10 NCAA Tournament championship game participant Butler, Florida State, Mississippi State, San Diego, Utah, Washington State, and tournament host school Hawai'i. Four of the eight teams participated in postseason play last year.
First-round games Wednesday, Dec. 22, will tip off with the noon PT matchup of Mississippi State and Washington State. San Diego will then take on Baylor, Utah will meet Butler, and Florida State will take on Hawai'i. The first four games on the opening day of action will be televised live on ESPNU and will be a part of 10 tournament game broadcast on the ESPN family of networks. The third-place and championship games will be televised on ESPN2 on Christmas Day.
Washington State and Mississippi State have met just once all-time, two seasons ago in the Legends Classic. The Cougars defeated the Bulldogs, 63-52, Nov. 28, 2008 at the Prudential Center in Newark, N.J. With the victory, Washington State advanced to the championship game of the tournament in which it fell to then-No. 4 Pittsburgh. WSU is 12-1 in its last four regular season tournaments, having captured the championship at the John Thompson Foundation Challenge (2006-07), the Cougar Hispanic College Fund Challenge (2007-08) and the Great Alaska Shootout (2009-10).
Regardless of Wednesday's outcomes, Washington State will face a familiar foe in either Baylor or San Diego in the second round of the tournament. The Cougars played a home-and-home series with the Bears as part of the Big 12/Pac-10 Hardwood series during the 2007-08 and 2008-09 seasons, with each team winning on the road. Led by Klay Thompson's hot hand, WSU stunned San Diego with a 93-56 victory in the championship game of last season's Great Alaska Shootout.
Each team will compete in one game per day, advancing through a bracket-tournament format. The two teams that remain undefeated will face off in a championship game on Christmas Day, Dec. 25.
The inaugural Hawaiian Airlines Diamond Head Classic featured host Hawai'i (WAC), the College of Charleston (Southern), Northeastern (Colonial Athletic Association), SMU (Conference USA), St. Mary's (West Coast Conference), UNLV (Mountain West), USC (Pac-10) and Western Michigan (Mid-American). Southern California took home the trophy, stunning the No. 20 nationally ranked UNLV Runnin' Rebels.
Anthony Travel is the official Travel Partner of the Hawaiian Airlines Diamond Head Classic. For fan travel packages and information, please contact Anthony Travel at www.AnthonyTravel.com/espn/diamond-head-classic. All-session Tickets for the Hawaiian Airlines Diamond Head Classic are $90 for lower level and $70 for upper level. Tickets by session are $26 and $18 for upper and lower level, respectively. General Admission tickets are $10. For more information, visit the official website: www.hawaiianairlinesdiamondheadclassic.com.