Wichita State lines up more holiday basketball tournaments

08/19/2014 12:23 PM

08/19/2014 3:31 PM

Wichita State’s future tournament schedule will go a long way toward keeping the Shockers in the national spotlight.

The Shockers are booked into three of the top holiday tournaments in coming seasons, starting in November 2015 in the Orlando Classic (formerly Old Spice Classic) at the Walt Disney World Resort near Orlando.

Then it gets even better.

WSU will play in the Battle 4 Atlantis in the 2016-17 season and make a return to the Maui Invitational in 2017-18.

The Battle 4 Atlantis, played at a resort hotel on Paradise Island, Bahamas, attracts top-notch fields since its start in 2011. The Maui Invitational has long been regarded as the premier holiday tournament. The Shockers became the first Missouri Valley Conference team to play at Maui in 2010 as part of a field that included eventual NCAA champion Connecticut, Kentucky and Michigan State.

WSU played in the Orlando Classic in 2008, losing to Georgetown and Michigan State and defeating Siena.

News on WSU’s opponents in these tournaments will have to wait. Senior associate athletic director Darron Boatright said he either didn’t know the fields or did not feel comfortable releasing the information. According to the Wisconsin State Journal, Wisconsin will play in the 2017 Maui Invitational.

WSU lobbied for a spot in the Battle 4 Atlantis for several years. The tournament pays all expenses for the schools and hands out scholarship money. In 2012, Northern Iowa earned $150,000 for participation. The champion, Boatright said, earns around $250,00 for scholarships.

“We consider that one of the premier (tournaments) at this time,” Boatright said. “(Tournament director) Lea Miller, the founder of that tournament, has really partnered with the Bahamian government and made that into a special, special tournament.”

Wichita State has completed this season’s non-conference schedule with the addition of a Nov. 23 game against NCAA Division II Newman University at Koch Arena.

Boatright said he expects to see a draft of the MVC schedule within the next two weeks.

Boatright said WSU has extended its series against Saint Louis for two more seasons (2015-16 and 2016-17). The Shockers played at Saint Louis last season and the Billikens will play at Intrust Bank Arena on Dec. 6. Next season, WSU will return to Saint Louis with the Billikens coming to Wichita in 2016-17.

“The athletic directors got together and talked and thought it would be good to extend that,” Boatright said. “We hope that will continue to be a regional opponent that it makes sense to play.”

WSU’s six-season series with Tulsa ends next season and Boatright said the schools are discussing adding more years to that deal.

WSU will appear on an ESPN network for its Nov. 18 game against Memphis in Sioux Falls, S.D. ESPN2 will televise the Dec. 16 game against Alabama at Koch Arena. Boatright expects more additions as TV schedules are finalized.

The weekend of Nov. 14-15 will be a busy one at Koch Arena. WSU’s volleyball team will play host to Evansville at 5 p.m. on Nov. 14, followed by a men’s basketball game against New Mexico State at 8 p.m.

On Nov. 15, the women’s basketball team will play Creighton at 2:05 p.m. The volleyball team ends its weekend against Southern Illinois at 7 p.m.

Reach Paul Suellentrop at 316-269-6760 or psuellentrop@wichitaeagle.com. Follow him on Twitter: @paulsuellentrop.

WSU’s non-conference schedule

Nov. 8 — Northwood (Fla.) (exhibition)

Nov. 14 — New Mexico State

Nov. 18 — vs. Memphis (Sioux Falls, S.D.)

Nov. 23 — Newman

Nov. 29 — Tulsa

Dec. 3 — at Utah

Dec. 6 — Saint Louis (Intrust Bank Arena)

Dec. 9 — Seton Hall

Dec. 13 — at Detroit

Dec. 16 — Alabama

Dec. 22 — vs. Loyola Marymount (Diamond Head Classic at Honolulu)

Dec. 23 — vs. Nebraska or Hawaii (Diamond Head Classic)

Dec. 25 — Diamond Head Classic

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