ESPN Announces Field for 2011
Hawaiian Airlines Diamond Head Classic
November 10, 2010
Six of the eight teams for the 2011 Hawaiian Airlines Diamond Head Classic have been announced for the third annual holiday tournament to be held in late December, around the Christmas holiday, at the Stan Sheriff Center in Honolulu, Hawaii. The remaining two teams will be confirmed at a later date.
Tournament host University of Hawai‘i will again be part of the field for the Hawaiian Airlines Diamond Head Classic, along with Clemson, Long Beach State, Texas A&M, UTEP, Xavier and two teams to be determined. Four of the six teams reached the NCAA Championship in 2010, including Xavier, which advanced to the Sweet 16.
“Based on the teams that we have been able to secure over the past two years and into 2011, we have been successful in establishing this event as one of the prominent exempt tournaments,” said Pete Derzis, senior vice president and general manager, ESPN Regional Television. “With Hawai‘i as our back-drop and an engaged title sponsor, we are very pleased to be hosting this event.”
“The state of Hawaii is a very attractive place to hold top-notch sporting events, a fact borne out by the quality of the 2011 field," said David Matlin, executive director of the Hawaiian Airlines Diamond Head Classic and Sheraton Hawai‘i Bowl. “The Hawaiian Airlines Diamond Head Classic is quickly becoming one of the premier exempt tournaments in the country.”
The 2011 field includes a mix of perennial powers and up-and-coming teams:
- Clemson is coming off four straight 20-win seasons and three consecutive trips to the NCAA Championship. The Tigers have advanced to the postseason six straight seasons and finished 9-7 or better in the ACC the last three years. Clemson will be under the direction of first-year head coach Brad Brownell.
- Hawai‘i will again serve as the tournament host after finishing fourth in last year’s inaugural Hawaiian Airlines Diamond Head Classic. The Rainbow Warriors will be under the direction of new head coach Gib Arnold, who was an assistant for the USC squad that won the 2009 Hawaiian Airlines Diamond Head Classic. Arnold is widely regarded as one of the elite recruiters in college basketball and has already made his mark. One publication ranked this year’s UH recruiting class as the seventh-best in the nation.
- Long Beach State finished one win shy of qualifying for the 2010 NCAA Tournament, advancing to the Big West Conference Tournament championship game. In 2009-10, The Beach won 17 games despite facing the toughest non-conference schedule in the country. Long Beach State squared off against five top 25 teams and 10 teams that qualified for the NCAA Tournament, including national champion Duke and Final Four participant West Virginia.
- Texas A&M posted its sixth straight 20-win season in 2009-10, going 24-10 and advancing to the second round of the NCAA Championship. The Aggies are one of just two schools nationally who have made the second round in each of the last five seasons. A&M finished in a tie for second in the Big 12, rated as the nation’s best conference for much of the year.
- Xavier, 26-9 last season, has recorded five straight 20-win seasons and 13 20-win seasons in 14 years. Xavier has made nine NCAA Championship appearances in the last 10 years, including a pair of Elite Eight appearances. Xavier and Michigan State are the only teams in NCAA Division I that have advanced to the Sweet 16 in each of the last three NCAA Championships.
- UTEP is coming off a banner 2009-10 season. The Miners posted a 26-7 record, blitzed through Conference USA play with a 15-1 mark and earned rankings in both top 25 polls for the first time in 18 years. UTEP advanced to the NCAA Championship before bowing out to eventual national runner-up Butler. The Miners, whose storied basketball program includes the historic 1966 national championship, welcomes first-year head coach Tim Floyd for the 2010-11 campaign.
The Hawaiian Airlines Diamond Head Classic, an eight-team men’s college basketball tournament, will feature 12 games over the three days. Each team will compete in one game per day, advancing through a bracket-tournament format. The two teams that remain undefeated throughout will face off in a championship match. Teams will also have the opportunity to attend the Sheraton Hawaii Bowl played on Sat., Dec. 24
About Hawaiian Airlines
Hawaiian is the nation’s highest-ranked carrier for service quality and performance in 2009 in the 20th annual Airline Quality Rating study, having earned that distinction in three of the past four years. Hawaiian has also led all U.S. carriers in on-time performance for each of the past six years (2004-2009) as reported by the U.S. Department of Transportation. Consumer surveys by Condé Nast Traveler, Travel + Leisure and Zagat have all ranked Hawaiian the top domestic airline offering flights to Hawaii.
Now in its 81st year of continuous service for Hawaii, Hawaiian is the state’s biggest and longest-serving airline, as well as the largest provider of passenger air service to Hawaii from the state’s primary visitor markets on the U.S. mainland. Hawaiian offers nonstop service to Hawaii from more U.S. gateway cities (10) than any other airline, as well as service to the Philippines, Australia, American Samoa, Tahiti, and, in the coming months, Japan and South Korea. Hawaiian also provides more than 150 daily jet flights between the Hawaiian Islands.
Hawaiian Airlines, Inc. is a subsidiary of Hawaiian Holdings, Inc. (NASDAQ: HA). Additional information is available at HawaiianAirlines.com.
ESPN Regional Television/Event Ownership
The nation’s largest syndicator of collegiate sports programming, ESPN Regional Television (ERT) annually produces more than 1,000 telecasts of sporting events. Programming includes football, basketball, NCAA events, golf and NHRA events accounting for more than 2,200 live and/or original hours of programming. In addition to event ownership, ERT is the production headquarters for ESPNU, the 24-hour college sports network; syndication rights-holder and producer of national, regional and local shows for college conferences (e.g. – SEC, BIG EAST, Big 12, Mid-American, WAC).
ESPN Regional Television markets and/or owns several sporting events, including collegiate football events: Beef ‘O’ Brady’s Bowl St. Petersburg; Bell Helicopter Armed Forces Bowl; BBVA Compass Bowl (Birmingham, Ala.); MAACO Bowl Las Vegas; New Mexico Bowl (Albuquerque); Sheraton Hawai’i Bowl (Honolulu); Texas Bowl (Houston); MEAC/SWAC Challenge presented by Disney (Orlando, Fla.) and The Home Depot ESPNU College Football Awards. Collegiate basketball events: 76 Classic (Anaheim, Calif.); Cancun Governor’s Cup; Charleston Classic (S.C.); DIRECTV SEC/BIG EAST Invitational; Hawaiian Airlines Diamond Head Classic (Honolulu); Old Spice Classic (Walt Disney World Resort near Orlando, Fla.); Honda Puerto Rico Tip-Off (San Juan); Lane Furniture All-College Basketball Classic (Oklahoma City) and BracketBusters; as well as the new ESPNU Warrior Classic (Lacrosse) and the ESPN National Golf Challenge. For more information, visit ESPNPlus.com.