SCHEDULE FINALIZED FOR THE 26TH ANNUAL 2K EMPIRE CLASSIC BENEFITING WOUNDED WARRIOR PROJECT PRESENTED BY CONTINENTAL TIRE
November 9, 2020
PRINCETON, N.J. – The schedule is set for the 2020 2K Empire Classic benefiting Wounded Warrior Project presented by Continental Tire (@EmpireClassicBB).
The 26th annual 2K Empire Classic benefiting Wounded Warrior Project is highlighted by #3 Villanova meeting Boston College and #2 Baylor taking on #18 Arizona State in the semifinals of the Championship Rounds presented by Continental Tire at Mohegan Sun on Wednesday, November 25.
The semifinal winners will meet for the 2K Empire Classic benefiting Wounded Warrior Project presented by Continental Tire title on Thursday, Nov 26, preceded by the consolation game.
—– CHAMPIONSHIP ROUNDS —–
Mohegan Sun Arena – Uncasville, CT
November 25 – 7:00 p.m. (ET) ESPN
#3 Villanova vs. Boston College
#2 Baylor vs. #18 Arizona State
In the 2019 Empire Classic benefiting Wounded Warrior Project, then No. 1 Duke won the title with an 81-73 victory over Georgetown.
The Gazelle Group and Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame are collaborating to produce multiple college basketball games at Mohegan Sun from November 25 through December 4, 2020 and have named the space “Bubbleville”. Bubbleville will house several events relocated and reimagined due to COVID-19 and provides a controlled environment with teams and event staff adhering to tribal, government, and NCAA health and safety protocols and testing requirements. Due to COVID-19 restrictions, spectators will not be permitted at Mohegan Sun Arena.
#3 Villanova (Head Coach: Jay Wright, Big East Conference)
Villanova was the second seed in the Big East tournament and posted an overall record of 24-7…the Wildcats have won six Big East regular season championship, four Big East tournament championships, and two National Championships (2016, 2018) over the last seven seasons… four of the five starters are returning in 2020-21, led by second-team honoree senior Collin Gillespie, and sophomore Jeremiah Robinson-Earl, the Big East Freshman of the Year…preseason rankings have Villanova (and Baylor) as one of the top teams in the country… this is Villanova’s third appearance in the 2K Empire Classic benefiting Wounded Warrior Project…the Wildcats played in 2002 and 2012, advancing to the 2012 championship game.
#2 Baylor (Head Coach: Scott Drew, Big 12 Conference)
Baylor sat atop the national rankings for five consecutive weeks and put together the longest winning streak in Big 12 history with 23 consecutive wins…the Bears posted a 26-4 record and were the No. 2 seed in the Big 12 tournament… preseason rankings have Baylor (and Villanova) as one of the top teams in the country… 2019-20 Big 12 Coach of the Year Scott Drew is in his 18th season at the helm of the Bears’ program and is Baylor’s career leader in wins and winning percentage…four starters are returning this season, including the Bears’ top three leading scorers – juniors Jared Butler, a first-team All-Big 12 pick, and Davion Mitchell, the Big 12 Newcomer of the Year, and senior MaCio Teague, named to the league’s All-Newcomer team…the Bears’ 2020 recruiting class is ranked 18th by ESPN.com…Baylor is making its Empire Classic benefiting Wounded Warrior Project debut in November.
#18 Arizona State (Head Coach: Bobby Hurley, Pac-12 Conference)
The 2019-2020 Sun Devils won 20 games for the third straight season…Arizona State will be entering the 2020-2021 season with a Pac-12 first-team honors recipient Remy Martin and the league’s Sixth Man of the Year Award recipient Alonzo Verge Jr…Verge led the nation in off-the-bench scoring at 16.8 points per game while ASU led the league in steals (249/8.03 per game), turnover margin (+3.19), and turnovers forced (16.42)…in addition to the returning stars, the Sun Devils welcome the No. 7 recruiting class (per CBSSports.com) with 4 recruits including the No. 11 recruit in the nation (per ESPN.com) five star McDonald’s All American shooting guard Josh Christopher…Arizona State is making its 2K Empire Classic benefiting Wounded Warrior Project debut this season.
Boston College (Head Coach Jim Christian, Atlantic Coast Conference)
Three starters return from last season as does a starter from the previous year who missed all of last season…now in his seventh season, head coach Jim Christian will enjoy the return of senior Steffon Mitchell, an All-ACC and ACC All-Defensive team selection who ranked fourth in the ACC in rebounding (8.7 rpg) and 14th nationally in steals ( 2.2 spg)…Jay Heath, one of the ACC’s top freshmen a season ago, led BC in scoring (13.1 ppg) with a school freshman record of 65 3-pointers…also back is junior Wynston Tabbs, who missed all of last year due to knee surgery after posting 14.0 ppg, 4.0 rpg, and 3.0 apg in 2018-19…BC was 10-5 in those games…the Eagles last played in the 2K Empire Classic benefiting WWP in 2013.
About the 2K Empire Classic benefiting Wounded Warrior Project
First played in 1995, the 2K Empire Classic benefiting Wounded Warrior Project is acclaimed as college basketball’s premier early-season tournament. Featuring teams from across the nation, the 2K Empire Classic annually attracts the top programs in the sport. Four teams from the most prestigious conferences in the country play the Championship Rounds at the World’s Most Famous Arena – New York City’s Madison Square Garden.
Founded in 2005, 2K develops and publishes interactive entertainment globally for console systems, handheld gaming systems and personal computers, including smartphones and tablets, which are delivered through physical retail, digital download, online platforms and cloud streaming services. 2K publishes titles in today’s most popular gaming genres, including shooters, action, role-playing, strategy, sports, casual, and family entertainment. The 2K label has some of the most talented development studios in the world today, including Firaxis Games, Visual Concepts, Hangar 13, Cat Daddy Games and 2K China. 2K’s stable of high quality titles includes the critically acclaimed BioShock, Borderlands, and XCOM franchises, the beloved Sid Meier’s Civilization series, the innovative Evolve, the popular WWE 2K franchise and NBA 2K, the #1 rated and #1 selling basketball franchise. 2K is headquartered in Novato, California and is a wholly owned label of Take-Two Interactive Software, Inc. (NASDAQ: TTWO). For more information, please visit www.2k.com.
About Wounded Warrior Project
Wounded Warrior Project (@wwp) is the beneficiary of the 2K Empire Classic. With the mission to honor and empower Wounded Warriors, WWP is the hand extended to encourage warriors as they adjust to their new normal and achieve new triumphs. Offering a variety of programs and services, WWP is equipped to serve warriors with every type of injury – from the physical to the invisible wounds of war.
About the Gazelle Group
The 2K Empire Classic benefiting Wounded Warrior Project is produced by the Gazelle Group of Princeton, N.J. The Gazelle Group is a sports marketing firm, specializing in event production and management, client representation, and sponsorship consulting. Gazelle produces numerous nationally-recognized events, such as the Roman Legends Classic presented by Old Trapper, the Gotham Classic, the Sunshine Slam, the Bluegrass Showcase, the Holiday Face-Off, and the College Basketball Invitational. For more information on the Gazelle Group, please visit gazellegroup.com.
About the Northeast Conference
The Northeast Conference (NEC) is the sponsoring conference of the 2K Empire Classic benefiting Wounded Warrior Project. Entering its 40th season, the NEC is a NCAA Division I collegiate athletic association consisting of 10 institutions of higher learning located throughout seven states. For more information on the NEC, visit the official website at www.northeastconference.org or follow on Twitter @NECsports.
About Mohegan Sun
Mohegan Sun Arena is now ranked consistently among the top venues in the world according to Billboard Magazine, Pollstar and Venues Today. It has won “Casino of The Year” at the Country Music Awards in 2008 & 2010 and in 2013, was voted “Arena Of The Year” at the G2E Global Gaming Conference in Las Vegas. Mohegan Sun Arena was also ranked among the top 10 arena venues in the nation for 2014, regardless of size. In 2015, Mohegan Sun took home the IEBA award for “Casino of the Year.” Mohegan Sun also won “Casino of the Year” in 2 categories at the 2013 & 2016 Academy of Country Music Awards. For more information on concerts and other great events, visit Mohegan Sun. For information on this week’s schedule, call the Entertainment and Special Events hotline at 1-888.226-7711, ext. 27163.
About the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame
Located in Springfield, Massachusetts, the city where basketball was born, the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame is an independent non-profit 501(c)(3) organization dedicated to promoting, preserving and celebrating the game of basketball at every level – men and women, amateur and professional players, coaches and contributors, both domestically and internationally. The Hall of Fame museum is home to more than 400 inductees and over 40,000 square feet of basketball history. Nearly 200,000 people visit the Hall of Fame museum each year to learn about the game, experience the interactive exhibits and test their skills on the Jerry Colangelo “Court of Dreams.” Best known for its annual marquee Enshrinement Ceremony honoring the game’s elite, the Hall of Fame also operates over 70 high school and collegiate competitions annually throughout the country and abroad. For more information on the Basketball Hall of Fame organization, its museum and events, visit www.hoophall.com, follow @hoophall or call 1-877-4HOOPLA.
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