Aug. 4, 2011
NOTRE DAME, Ind. – The semifinal pairings for the 2011 CBE Classic were announced today and Notre Dame is set to take on Missouri on Monday, Nov. 21 at 7:30 p.m. (EST) at the Sprint Center in Kansas City, Mo., in a game that will be televised live on ESPN2. The second contest of the doubleheader will feature Cal and Georgia on ESPN2.
The championship and consolation games will be played the following evening on Tuesday, Nov. 22. The second night of the doubleheader begins with the consolation game at 7:45 p.m. (EST) on ESPNU, followed by the championship game on ESPN2.
The complete bracket for the opening round games of the CBE Classic will be announced at a later date.
Tickets for championship round games at the Sprint Center are on sale and may be purchased by calling Ticketmaster at 1-800-745-3000 or on-line at Ticketmaster.com.
The semifinal matchup with the Tigers will be the first since Jan. 12, 1995 in Columbia, Mo., when Missouri defeated the Irish 64-56. There have been eight previous meetings between the two schools dating back to 1980 with the first on March 8, 1980. Missouri leads the series 6-2 with the Irish’s last win, 77-73, coming at Notre Dame on Jan. 12, 1994. The other Notre Dame victory also was at home as the Irish took down the Tigers, 98-67, on March 3, 1990.
Ironically, Notre Dame’s second matchup against either Cal or Georgia will be a rematch for the Irish against two opponents they faced last year at the 2010 Old Spice Classic in Orlando, Fla. Notre Dame defeated the Bulldogs in double overtime 89-83 in a come-from-behind victory to open up the tournament and then took down the Bears 57-44 in its second-round game en route to winning the championship crown with a 58-51 victory over Wisconsin.
Notre Dame and California have met twice with the series tied at 1-1, while the Irish own a 2-0 advantage in its series with the Bulldogs.
Missouri has been to three consecutive NCAA tournament appearances and are under the direction of first-year head coach Frank Haith. The Tigers have been one of the nation’s most consistent teams over the last three years with 77 wins. Missouri returns 10 starters from last year’s team, including all five starters, which finished with a 23-11 record. Senior guard Marcus Denmon, a first-team all-Big 12 selection who averaged 16.9 points per game, will lead the Tigers, along with senior forward Laurence Bowers who topped Missouri in rebounding with a 6.1 average along with an 11.6 scoring average a year ago.
California has posted 20-win seasons in the last three years under head coach Mike Montgomery. The Bears finished the 2010-11 campaign with an 18-15 record and return 10 players who all saw action a year ago. Once again, California will be led by senior guard Jorge Gutierrez, a first-team all-Pac 10 selection a year ago, as he led the Bears in scoring with 14.6 points per game and 148 assists. Also returning is senior forward Harper Kamp, a second-team all-conference selection, who averaged 14.2 points and 5.6 rebounds.
Under third-year head coach Mark Fox, Georgia is coming off a 21-12 campaign in which the Bulldogs won 20-plus games for the first time since the 1997-98 campaign and earned their first NCAA tournament berth in three years. Returning senior guard Gerald Robinson is the Bulldogs top returnee as he averaged 12.2 points per game and dished off 133 assists. Classmate Dustin Ware led the Southeastern Conference and ranked fifth nationally in assist/turnover ratio (+3.67) while dishing off 114 assists and averaging 8.0 points per game.
The 2010 CBE Classic was won by defending national champion and then top-ranked Duke. The Blue Devils defeated No. 4 Kansas State (82-68) to capture the crown. The event is named after the College Basketball Experience, the award-winning and highly interactive college hoops fan facility adjacent to the Spring Center, which also features the National Collegiate Basketball Hall of Fame. Opened in October 2007, the College Basketball Experience is the nation’s only facility that celebrates, in its entirety, the sport of men’s basketball. The tournament, in partnership with the National Association of Basketball Coaches (NABC), was initially established in 2001 as the Guardians Classic.
Notre Dame played in the 2002 Guardians Classic and finished with a 3-1 record. The Irish advanced to the championship game that year, before dropping an 80-75 decision to Creighton.
The CBE Classic is produced by the Gazelle Group in Princeton, N.J. The Gazelle Group is a sports marketing firm, specializing in event production and management, client representation, and sponsorship consulting. Gazelle produces numerous nationally recognized events, such as the 2K Sports Classic, the TicketCity Legends Classic, the CBI presented by Zebra Pen, and the All-American Championship. The Gazelle Group is a member of USA Basketball. For more information, on the Gazelle Group, please visit www.gazellegroup.com.