Liberty Men’s Basketball Accepts Invitation to the Hawaiian Airlines Diamond Head Classic

College Sports

Liberty forward Keegan McDowell (20) looks to pass the ball as North Florida’s Carter Hendrickson defends during an NCAA college basketball game in Lynchburg, Va., Friday, Feb. 12, 2021. (Kendall Warner/The News & Advance via AP)

LYNCHBURG, Va. – Liberty men’s basketball has accepted an invitation to play in the 2021 Hawaiian Airlines Diamond Head Classic in Honolulu. The tournament will take place from Dec. 22-25 at the SimpliFi Arena at Stan Sheriff Center. Joining Liberty in the Diamond Head Classic is BYU, Hawai’i, Northern Iowa, South Florida, Stanford, Vanderbilt and Wyoming.

“It’s without question a tremendous privilege to be included in the Diamondhead Claasic,” Liberty head coach Ritchie McKay said. “What a wonderful opportunity to complete against such a high caliber field! Not only are there terrific programs and coaches but also the experience of being in Hawai’i with such a terrific host makes this opportunity so exciting!”

Liberty and BYU are the two teams that were a part of the NCAA Tournament this past season as the Flames make its first trip to Hawai’i since 2001. The only teams that Liberty has faced in the tournament field is South Florida and Vanderbilt. Liberty goes into the tournament ranked with the third highest NET ranking from last season (85), only behind BYU (16) and Stanford (56).

Each team will compete in one game per day, advancing through the bracket over three days for a total of 12 games. The two teams that remain undefeated throughout will face off in the championship game on the final day of the tournament.

Previous tournament champions of the Hawaiian Airlines Diamond Head Classic include USC (2009, 2017), Butler (2010), Kansas State (2011), Arizona (2012), Iowa State (2013), George Washington (2014), Oklahoma (2015), San Diego State (2016), TCU (2018) and Houston (2019).

Tickets are expected to go on sale in October. Additional information for the family-friendly tournament and resort destination of Honolulu, Hawai‘i, can be found on the Hawaiian Airlines Diamond Head Classic web site at hawaiianairlinesdiamondheadclassic.com.

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