The bracket for the 2017 Puerto Rico Tip-Off was unveiled on Wednesday, and it was announced that South Carolina would begin tournament action against Illinois State on Thursday, Nov. 16, at 11:30 AM ET on ESPN2. The Tip-Off will be played Nov. 16, 17 and 19 at the Coliseo Municipal Tomás Dones in Fajardo. It was also announced that South Carolina will host Western Michigan on Nov. 13, as part of the Tip-Off in a non-bracketed game.
Other first-round matchups include Boise State, which advanced to the Postseason NIT a year ago, against UTEP; Iowa State, which advanced to the Second Round of the NCAA Tournament last March, versus Appalachian State; and Tulsa versus Western Michigan.
The meeting between the Gamecocks and Redbirds will mark the first between the two schools, while it will be the second for Carolina head coach Frank Martin against ISU, as his Kansas State squad posted an 83-79 victory in overtime versus the Redbirds in the opening round of the 2009 NIT. Illinois State, led by former Vanderbilt assistant coach Dan Muller in his fifth season, enters the 2017-18 campaign as the reigning Missouri Valley Conference regular-season champs. The Redbirds posted a 28-7 overall record last season and advanced to the second round of the Postseason NIT before falling to UCF.
Western Michigan compiled a 16-16 overall record, including an 11-7 mark in Mid-American Conference games last season under long-time head coach Steve Hawkins. The Broncos return First-Team All-Mid-American Conference honoree Thomas Wilder, also the team’s top returning scorer after averaging 19.3 points per game last season. Western Michigan claimed a 65-46 victory in the only previous meeting between the two schools, which came on Dec. 17, 1946, in Kalamazoo.
In addition to tickets, travel packages and discounted hotel accommodations are also available to fans through Anthony Travel, the official travel provider of the Puerto Rico Tip-Off. Packages include hotel accommodations, game-day transportation, an all-session pass to the games and access to an exclusive banquet reception with the players and coaches (limited availability). For more information or to book your travel to the tournament, click here or call (888) 632-6951.
Puerto Rico, a family-friendly tournament and resort destination, hosts the teams to three days of games, practices and immersion in Puerto Rican culture. For additional information, please visit www.puertoricotipoff.com.