ESTERO, Fla. – The Murray State men’s basketball program, which won 25 consecutive games before being upset in its conference championship game in March, will open the third annual Gulf Coast Showcase at Germain Arena against UW-Milwaukee, while NCAA powerhouses Stanford and Louisville drew in opposite brackets of the women’s tournament, as pairings were released Tuesday by the event’s organizer, bd Global. The weeklong event showcases the very best men’s mid-major programs and the elite women’s teams in two eight-team tournament brackets.
The action tips with the men’s tournament featuring 12 games played over three days. Murray State is joined in the field by cross-state rival Western Kentucky which will play Drake in the opposite bracket. WKU expects a strong crowd for its Monday opener as its football team plays the Saturday before at FIU in Miami. The complete first-round schedule for Nov. 23 is as follows:
- 12:00 p.m. ET – Murray State vs. Milwaukee
- 2:30 p.m. ET – Pepperdine vs. Duquesne
- 6:00 p.m. ET – Western Kentucky vs. Drake
- 8:30 p.m. ET – Central Michigan vs. Weber State
Game times for Tuesday and Wednesday will be the same with semifinal games on Nov. 24 at 6:00/8:30. Wednesday’s championship game will tip at 8:30.
“We are extremely pleased with how well this event has been received by the local basketball fans, who turned out in record numbers last season for both tournaments,” said bd Global President Brooks Downing. “Likewise, NCAA Division I teams have lined up to play in this event, primarily because of the tournament’s location in beautiful Ft. Myers, Fla.”
Following a day off on Thanksgiving Day, the women’s tournament commences with Dayton battling upstart Maine in the opener. The Lady Flyers advanced to the Elite Eight and led eventual NCAA champ Connecticut at halftime before faltering. Fans will recall that UConn won the 2014 Gulf Coast Showcase as well. Stanford and Louisville were both ranked in the Top 25 all of last season, and were both joined by LSU in the NCAA Tournament. The schedule for the opening round of the women’s tournament is as follows:
- 11:00 a.m. ET – Dayton vs. Maine
- 1:30 p.m. ET – Stanford vs. Missouri State
- 5:00 p.m. ET – Louisville vs. Marist
- 7:30 p.m. ET – LSU vs. Purdue
“This year’s Gulf Cost Showcase has a field that is loaded with Top-25 caliber teams and will be arguably the best in-season tournament in all of women’s basketball,” said Debbie Antonelli, ESPN analyst and Gulf Coast Showcase Tournament host. “This tournament will mirror an NCAA regional this season.”
“Opening Games” schedule
As part of the event, seven “opening games” will be played at home sites:
- Seton Hill at Duquesne – Nov. 13
- Alma College at Central Michigan – Nov. 13
- Campbellsville at Western Kentucky – Nov. 14
- Antelope Valley at Weber State – Nov. 19
- TBD at Milwaukee – Nov. 20
- MidAmerica Nazarene at Missouri State – Nov. 17
- Colby College at Maine – Dec. 1
Travel Package and Ticket Information
Tickets for the 2015 Gulf Coast Showcase are on-sale now at GermainArena.com or through Ticketmaster. All-Tournament passes for either the men’s tournament or women’s tournament will be available on that date for $89 or $139 per tournament. Single session tickets will go on-sale on Aug. 19 and range from $10 General Admission to $45 Courtside for each two-game session. Each day of the tournament will feature an afternoon session (starts at 12 p.m. for men’s and 11 a.m. for women’s) and evening session (starts at 6 p.m. for men’s and 5 p.m. for women’s) and tickets will be good for both games of a given session. All-session passes have been on-sale since April and will continue to be available to fans.
WorldTEK, a full-service travel management company with more than 40 years of experience, is the official travel package provider for the Gulf Coast Showcase. Information on fan travel packages is available on GulfCoastShowcase.com.
For complete information, visit www.gulfcoastshowcase.com or follow on Twitter at @GCShowcase.