Game matchups for the Cayman Islands Classic have been announced by Caymax Sports LTD.
Eight teams will compete in the tournament held Nov. 21-23 at John Gray Gymnasium, just minutes away from world famous Seven Mile Beach.
LSU will face Illinois State in the opening game at 11 a.m. Eastern Standard Time followed by Western Kentucky meeting Akron at 1:30 p.m.
In the first game of the evening session at 5 p.m. Nevada plays Tulane. Rhode Island and Kansas State will conclude opening-day action in the final matchup of the day starting at 7:30 p.m.
Kansas State, Nevada and Western Kentucky were originally scheduled to play in the 2020 Cayman Islands Classic, which was canceled because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Akron and Illinois State will be making their second appearance in the tournament, having played in the 2018 Cayman Islands Classic.
Matt McMahon takes over the reins as head coach at LSU which posted a 22-12 overall record last year, including a sixth-place finish in the Southeastern Conference. McMahon comes from Murray State where he guided the Racers to four Ohio Valley Conference regular season titles as well as three appearances in the NCAA Tournament. LSU has advanced to the NCAA Tournament in three of the last four years (the 2020 tournament was cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic) and welcomes Murray State transfer KJ Williams who was named the Ohio Valley Conference Player of the Year last season.
Under the direction of head coach John Groce, Akron is 40-16 in league player over the last three years, owning the best winning percentage (.714) in the Mid-American Conference. Groce guided the Zips to a MAC Tournament title and 24-10 record last year, including their fifth NCAA Tournament appearance in school history, having a near upset bid to No. 4 seed UCLA, 57-53, fall short.
Excitement continues to build for Kansas State under first-year head coach Jerome Tang, who arrives on the scene after serving the past five seasons as associate head coach for national powerhouse Baylor. Tang played an instrumental role in building the Bears program into one of the nation’s top programs highlighted by the 2021 NCAA Championship and consecutive Big 12 regular-season titles in 2021 and 2022, while being ranked in the Associated Press top five each of the last three seasons.
Illinois State also begins a new chapter of basketball with Ryan Pedon being named the program’s 20th head coach this past March. Pedon spent the last five seasons at Ohio State with the Buckeyes compiling a 106-53 record with an NCAA tournament berth during each of his seasons in Columbus, with two trips to the NCAA second round.
Rhode Island also is opening a new era of basketball with the arrival of newly appointed head coach Archie Miller, who has a storied pedigree in the Atlantic 10 Conference, winning two league titles along with four NCAA Championship appearances in six seasons at Dayton. With a record of 206-121 over the course of 10 seasons as a head coach with the Flyers and Indiana, Miller has averaged more than 20 wins per year and has six postseason runs out of a possible nine seasons.
Entering his fourth season as head coach at Tulane, head coach Ron Hunter has the program headed in the right direction in the American Athletic Conference after the Green Wave enjoyed their best season since 2017-18 last year.
Western Kentucky is just one of 17 teams in the country – less than five percent of all Division I teams – to win at least 19 games in each of the last five seasons under coach Rick Stansbury. The Hilltoppers feature one of the nation’s top centers in Jamarion Sharp who led the NCAA in blocked shots at 4.62 per game last year, setting a school single-season record with 148 rejections. He shot 72.6% from the field and was selected as the Conference USA Defensive Player of the Year.
NCAA Champion, All-American, and Olympic Gold Medalist Steve Alford enters his fourth season as head coach at Nevada in 2022-23, and his 32nd season overall as a head coach, boasting a career record of 635-338 (.653). Nevada returns 7-foot starting center Will Baker, the team’s leading scorer (11.5 ppg) and rebounder (4.9) and sophomore starting guard Kenan Blackshear, who averaged 8.1 points and 2.7 assists.
For more information, please visit www.CaymanIslandsClassic.com .
For travel packages, visit https://caymanislandsclassictravel.com/ or call 1-877-669-8903.
Cayman Islands Classic History
2019 — George Mason, champion; New Mexico State, runner-up
2018 — Creighton, champion; Clemson, runner-up
2017 — Cincinnati, champion; Wyoming, runner-up