MANHATTAN, Kan. (K-State Athletics) – Organizers of the 2020 Cayman Islands Classic are relocating the fourth annual tournament to Niceville, Florida and Raider Arena on the campus of Northwest Florida State College due to the ongoing COVID-19 virus, officials announced on Wednesday (July 22).
K-State is one of eight schools scheduled to participate in the tournament, which runs from Monday-Wednesday, November 23-25. The Wildcats are slated to be joined in the field by La Salle, Miami (Fla.), Nevada, Northern Iowa, Ole Miss, Oregon State and Western Kentucky.
The complete bracket, including matchups and broadcast times, will be announced in the near future. The tournament will once again be broadcast on FloSports, the live sports streaming service.
“The Cayman Islands Government will be implementing a phased re-opening of its borders in the final quarter of this year that also involves a five-day self-quarantine for each visitor,” said Joe Wright, Chief Executive Officer for CaymaxSports. “Any adjustments made to this phased approach will depend on the results of the first phase.
“Although these conditions do not make it possible for this year’s tournament to be held in Cayman, we completely understand and respect the Government’s decision and approach. The Cayman Islands Government has done a phenomenal job in suppressing and controlling the COVID-19 disease and we commend them for that. We look forward to bringing the tournament back to the Cayman Islands in 2021.”
The tournament was originally slated for John Gray Gymnasium, just minutes away from the world-famous Seven Mile Beach in George Town, Grand Cayman, Cayman Islands. The Cayman Islands are located in the western Caribbean Sea about an hour away from Miami.
Previous winners of the Cayman Islands Classic include Cincinnati (2017), Creighton (2018) and George Mason (2019). The Patriots knocked off New Mexico State, 68-64, for the 2019 title after defeating Old Dominion (60-53) and Nebraska (85-66) in the first two rounds. Other 2019 participants included Colorado State, Loyola Chicago, South Florida and Washington State.
This would be K-State’s first appearance in the Cayman Island Classic, however, the Wildcats did win the championship in their last opportunity in a tournament based in the Caribbean after defeating Eastern Kentucky (95-68), Penn (64-48) and Missouri (82-67) in the 2018 Paradise Jam in St. Thomas in the U.S. Virgin Islands.
It will mark the second consecutive season that K-State has competed in a regular-season tournament in the Sunshine State after playing in the Fort Myers Tipoff last November in Fort Myers, Florida.
The Raider Arena is also home to the Emerald Coast Classic, which is set to run from Friday-Sunday, November 27-29 and include Florida, Illinois, Iowa State and Oregon.