(utsports.com) Tennessee, Florida State, Purdue and VCU will converge in the Florida panhandle Thanksgiving weekend for the sixth annual Emerald Coast Classic, presented by Global Sports.
The eight-team tournament is set for Nov. 29-30 on the campus of Northwest Florida State College in Niceville, Florida. Tickets will go on sale in September. The full field has yet to be announced.
Niceville is located in the Crestview–Fort Walton Beach–Destin metropolitan area, which is a popular getaway destination for Tennessee fans. The Arena at NFSC is a 15-minute drive from the nearby Destin-Fort Walton Beach Airport and a less-than-30-minute drive from the US-98 hotel/condo corridor in Destin along the Gulf Coast.
“This will be the best field we’ve ever assembled for the Emerald Coast Classic, and it shapes up as one of the strongest preseason college basketball tournaments next season,” tournament director Maury Hanks, chief executive officer of Global Sports, said. “We continue to strive in bringing the best college basketball teams possible to the emerald coast of Florida.”
Florida State is off to a 12-2 start this season and is ranked No. 12 in this week’s AP Top 25. Head coach Leonard Hamilton has guided the Seminoles to six trips to the NCAA Tournament during his tenure in Tallahassee.
Tennessee owns a 5-3 all-time record against Florida State, with the most recent meeting coming 1989.
Purdue, under the leadership of head coach Matt Painter, has been one of the top programs in the Big 10 in recent years and won the league title in 2017. The Boilermakers won a school-record 30 games last season while advancing to the Sweet Sixteen.
One of Purdue’s losses last season came against the Volunteers at the Battle 4 Atlantis. That victory evened UT’s all-time series with the Boilermakers at 2-2.
VCU is 10-4 this season under first-year head coach Mike Rhoades. The Rams reached appeared in seven straight NCAA Tournaments from 2011–2017.
Tennessee and VCU last met at the 2015 Veterans Classic. That is UT’s only loss in the series, which it leads, 4-1.
The semifinals and championship game of the Emerald Coast Classic will be televised on CBS Sports Network.