Belmont University men’s basketball has accepted an invitation to take part in the 2015 Legends Classic, the Gazelle Group announced Wednesday.
The Bruins, fresh off a seventh NCAA Tournament appearance in the last 10 years, will play four games in one of the premier early-season tournaments in the country.
Belmont will open at perennial Big East power Marquette Friday, Nov. 13. The Golden Eagles, who boast eight Elite 8 appearances and the 1977 National Championship, have high expectations for 2015-16. Second-year head coach Steve Wojciechowski welcomes one of the nation’s most heralded recruiting classes, including forward Henry Ellenson, the No. 5 rated incoming freshman according to ESPN.com.
Three days later, the Bruins will head to the Grand Canyon State for the first time since the 2011 NCAA Tournament, facing Pac-12 Conference stalwart Arizona State. Like Marquette, the Sun Devils are led by a former Duke point guard, in this case newly-named head coach Bobby Hurley. Arizona State has won 59 games over the last three seasons and returns Pac-12 All Freshman selection Tra Holder.
“On behalf of our coaching staff and players, we thank the Gazelle Group and Legends Classic tournament organizers for extending this opportunity to our program,” Belmont head coach Rick Byrd said. “We are committed to offering our players memorable experiences and chances to compete at the highest level, and the Legends Classic certainly qualifies.”
As the tournament shifts into week two, Belmont will play two subregional games at Kennesaw State University, while Marquette and Arizona State join LSU and NC State in Brooklyn, N.Y. for championship round games at the Barclays Center.
Subregional games will be played Nov. 23-24 at KSU Convocation Center. Belmont will join IUPUI of the Summit League, South Alabama of the Sun Belt Conference and the host Kennesaw State Owls of the Atlantic Sun Conference.
This marks the latest in a string of early-season tournament invitations for Belmont, including the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame Tip-Off Tournament, Carrs/Safeway Great Alaska Shootout, the EA Sports Maui Invitational, the Dick’s Sporting Goods NIT Season Tip-Off, the 2K Sports Classic Benefitting Coaches vs. Cancer, and the CBE Classic.
Matchups, game times and television will be determined at a later date.