ESTERO, Fla. – At least five teams that won a share of a conference title last season will be part of the Gulf Coast Showcase this Thanksgiving at Hertz Arena while the inaugural winner of the women’s event, Middle Tennessee, returns to defend its 2013 crown, organizers announced Tuesday. The regular-season champions from the Missouri Valley Conference and Horizon League, Drake and Wright State respectively, headline the men’s field. The women’s field also will feature a Drake squad that won the Missouri Valley Conference as well as Gonzaga (West Coast Conference champs) and Maine (America East champs).
“Since we launched this event in 2013, we have attracted quality programs on the men’s side that can compete with anybody in the country,” said Brooks Downing, whose company bdG Sports manages the annual event. “Three years ago, Houston won the men’s tournament and it really kickstarted the run to being a Top-25 program. Last season, UC Irvine played in our championship game and ended up winning 31 games after beating Kansas State in the NCAA Tournament.”
The men’s tournament will be played on Nov. 25-27 with four games each day. The announced teams include (2019 results and conference finish):
- Drake – 24-10 overall, 12-6 conference (T-1st in Missouri Valley Conference)
- Wright State – 21-14, 13-5 (T-1st in Horizon League)
- Northeastern – 23-11, 14-4 (2nd in Colonial Athletic Association)
- Weber State – 18-15, 11-9 (T-4th in Big Sky Conference)
- Miami (OH) – 15-17 overall
- South Alabama – 17-17 overall
- Two teams to be announced
The women’s tournament, played on Nov. 29-Dec. 1 with four games each day as well, features six teams that won 20+ games and five teams that competed in the NCAA Tournament. Arizona State advanced to the Sweet 16 while Gonzaga narrowly fell to Oregon State in the Round of 32. ASU, Dayton, Maine, Middle Tennessee and Purdue have all played in the Gulf Coast Showcase since its inception in 2013. The full field of the women’s tournament features:
- Arizona State – 22-11, 10-7 (5th in Pac-12 Conference) / NCAA Tournament
- Auburn – 22-10, 9-7 (T-6th in Southeastern Conference) / NCAA Tournament
- Drake – 27-7, 17-1 (1st in Missouri Valley Conference) / NCAA Tournament
- Gonzaga – 29-5, 16-2 (1st in West Coast Conference) / NCAA Tournament
- Maine – 25-8, 15-1 (1st in America East Conference) / NCAA Tournament
- Middle Tennessee – 23-11, 11-5 (T-3rd in Conference USA)
- Dayton – 17-14, 10-6 (T-4th in Atlantic 10 Conference)
- Purdue – 19-15 overall
“The fact that five teams in the women’s field has played here before tells you what college basketball thinks of the Gulf Coast Showcase,” said Women’s Tournament Director and ESPN analyst Debbie Antonelli. “We set out to create the best women’s tournament in the country, and once again, this eight-team field highlights the best the sport has to offer. And, this year’s field is as wide-open as any since the tournament’s inception.”
For the fifth consecutive year, the tournament will support the Golisano Children’s Hospital of Southwest Florida. The hospital is the only children’s hospital between Tampa and Miami and provides vital health care for the region’s sick and injured children and their families. The hospital’s new $242 million facility provides 300,000 square feet of space, 128 pediatric and NICU beds with space to expand to 160 beds, a 17-bay emergency department, a freestanding pediatric pharmacy and in-hospital school classroom.
Ticket and Fan Travel Information
Tickets for the 2019 Gulf Coast Showcase will go on-sale this summer. Fan travel information, including preferred hotel rates at the official tournament resort hotel – the Hyatt Regency Coconut Point – is available on www.GulfCoastShowcase.com.