The University of Akron is the eighth and final men’s basketball team to join the 2013 Hawaiian Airlines Diamond Head Classic field, according to the University of Hawaii athletic website.
The event also includes Boise State, George Mason, Iowa State, Saint Mary’s, Oregon State, South Carolina and host school Hawaii. The tournament is set to be played on Dec. 22, 23 and 25, at the Stan Sheriff Center in Honolulu, Hawaii. The three game dates are Sunday, Monday and Wednesday.
“We are very excited to be in an ESPN owned tournament for a second-consecutive season,” UA coach Keith Dambrot said. “The Hawaiian Airlines Diamond Head Classic is a great tournament and once again consists of a very strong field. Like the Puerto Rico Tip-Off last season, playing in the Hawaiian Airlines Diamond Head Classic will allow our fans to travel to a beautiful location and see the Zips play against high-quality competition.”
UA finished the 2012-2013 season with a 26-7 overall record. The Zips made an NCAA Tournament appearance after defeating rivals Kent State and Ohio in the Mid-American Conference Tournament at Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland.
UA won its second consecutive MAC regular-season title with a 14-2 record. Among the Zips accomplishments were the nation’s longest winning streak (19 games), the program’s first national ranking (No. 24 in the Feb. 24 USA Today Coaches' Poll) and a league-best seventh consecutive MAC Tournament title game appearance.
With Akron’s 65-46 win over Ohio on March 16, the Zips advanced to their third NCAA Championship under ninth-year coach Dambrot, and fourth overall (1986, 2009, '11, '13) in program history. VCU defeated Akron at The Palace of Auburn Hills in Michigan.
This will be the Zips’ first appearance in the Hawaiian Airlines Diamond Head Classic.
Six of the eight teams in the 2013 field qualified for the postseason this past season, including Akron (NCAA), Boise State (NCAA), Hawai’i (CIT), George Mason (CBI), Iowa State (NCAA) and Saint Mary’s (NCAA).
UA is slated to return seven of its top 11 players from last season: Demetrius Treadwell, Nick Harney, Reggie McAdams, Jake Kretzer, Pat Forsythe, Carmelo Betancourt and Deji Ibitayo. The Zips lost three seniors from the squad: Zeke Marshall, Brian Walsh and Chauncey Gilliam.