Men’s Basketball Will Travel to Cayman Islands Classic

The Cayman Islands Classic announced the brackets for the men’s basketball tournament and the Lumberjacks will face Loyola Marymount at 1:30 p.m. (CT) in their tournament opener.  Stephen F. Austin, led by coach Kyle Keller, had a 19-13 record, including an 11-7 mark in the Western Athletic Conference.

Eight teams will compete in the tournament held Nov. 19-21 at John Gray Gymnasium, just minutes away from world famous Seven Mile Beach.

Drake will face Oakland in the opening game at 11 a.m. Eastern Standard Time followed by Stephen F. Austin meeting Loyola Marymount at 1:30 p.m.

In the first game of the evening session at 5 p.m. Utah State plays Marshall.  Akron and Florida International will conclude opening-day action in the final matchup of the day starting at 7:30 p.m.

Drake and Utah State participated in the 2023 NCAA Tournament. The eight participating teams in the 2023 Cayman Islands Classic posted a combined winning percentage of .625 last season (164-98) with four schools winning 20 or more games led by Drake (27), Utah State (26), Marshall (24) and Akron (22).

Drake enjoyed a 27-8 record in 2022-23 — the school’s fifth straight 20-win season — while winning the Missouri Valley Conference Tournament. The Bulldogs will be led by junior forward Tucker DeVries, who was named the Missouri Valley Conference Larry Bird Player of the Year in 2022-23 after averaging a team-high 18.9 points.Utah State posted a 26-9 record in 2023, while finishing second in the Mountain West Conference with a 13-5 mark. Utah State enters the 2023-24 season under the direction of first-year Aggie head coach Danny Sprinkle who arrived on campus after guiding Montana State to two straight appearances in the NCAA Tournament.

Under the direction of head coach John Groce, Akron is 53-21 in league play over the last four years, owning the best winning percentage (.716) in the Mid-American Conference. Groce guided the Zips to a 22-11 record last year, including a 13-5 mark in the MAC. The Zips welcome back senior forward Enrique Freeman, a first-team All-MAC performer last year who averaged 16.5 points and 11.1 rebounds, along with guard Greg Tribble who earned All-MAC Defensive Team accolades with Freeman.

Florida International welcomes back starters Arturo Dean, who was named Conference USA Freshman of the Year, last season and was also named to the league’s All-Defensive Team, averaged 11.6 points while leading the league in steals (76)

Marshall had one of NCAA basketball’s best turnarounds in 2022-23, winning the most regular season games (24) in 76 years while doubling its win total from its previous season. The Herd did so in its first year as a member of the Sun Belt Conference.

LMU posted a 19-12 record, including a 9-7 mark in the West Coast Conference.

Greg Kampe will enter his 40th season at the helm of Oakland — the longest tenured active coach in NCAA Division I. 

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Cayman Islands Classic History
2022 — Kansas State, champion; LSU, runner-up
2019 — George Mason, champion; New Mexico State, runner-up
2018 — Creighton, champion; Clemson, runner-up
2017 — Cincinnati, champion; Wyoming, runner-up