PRINCETON, N.J. - National basketball powers Syracuse, Connecticut, Oregon, and Iowa headline the 24th annual 2K Classic benefiting Wounded Warrior Project (@2kclassic), which returns to Madison Square Garden this coming November.Tickets for the 2K Classic Championship Rounds presented by Continental Tire go on sale Wedneday, February 28, and may be purchased by calling Ticketmaster at 866-448-7849 or through Ticketmaster.com.
In addition to playing in the Championship Rounds presented by Continental Tire at the World's Most Famous Arena on Nov. 15-16, Syracuse, Connecticut, Oregon, and Iowa will host a pair of regional round games on campus. The four regional round hosts combine for 110 NCAA appearances, 16 Final Fours, and eight National Championships. Joining Syracuse, Connecticut, Oregon, and Iowa in the 2018 2K Classic benefiting Wounded Warrior Project are Eastern Washington, Green Bay, Morehead State, and UMKC. Eastern Washington will host Green Bay, Morehead State, and UMKC in the Subregional Rounds of the 2K Classic benefiting Wounded Warrior Project, Nov. 16-17, in Cheney, Wash.
Syracuse (Head Coach: Jim Boeheim, Atlantic Coast Conference) - Jim Boeheim is in his 42nd season at Syracuse and two weeks ago won his 920th career game, which ranks second all-time...he has also guided the Orange to 38 postseason berths, including 32 NCAA appearances...all five starters on this year's roster are expected to return next season, as well as each of the top nine scorers...sophomore guard Tyus Battle leads the Orange with a 19.8 ppg average...junior guard Frank Howard averages 15.3 ppg and has a team-high 149 assists and 55 steals...freshman forward Oshae Brissett leads Syracuse with 8.8 rpg and scores at a 14.5 ppg clip...the Orange have made 38 NCAA Tournament appearances and six Final Fours, winning the 2003 National Championship...the Orange, who have played in more 2K Classics than any program, will be making their sixth appearance (2002, 2004, 2005, 2009, 2014) and own a 14-3 record and titles in 2004 and 2009.
Connecticut (Head Coach: Kevin Ollie, American Athletic Conference) - Kevin Ollie is in his sixth season at UConn and already ranks fourth all-time in victories...he was the fastest coach in school history to reach 50 wins and the second-fastest to 100 wins...he also led the Huskies to the 2014 NCAA title after winning the 2K Classic championship earlier that season...11 of 15 players are expected to return next season, including each of the Huskies' top three scorers...junior guard Jalen Allen leads UConn with a 18.1 ppg average to go with a team-best 122 assists...sophomore guard Christian Vital is netting 15.0 ppg and has a team-high 43 steals...junior swingman Terry Larrier is scoring at a 13.8 ppg clip...McDonald's All-American Alterique Gilbert is expected to be healthy after playing just six games as a freshman this season (9.0 ppg)...UConn has been to 33 NCAA Tournaments, five Final Fours, and has won four National Championships...the Huskies will be making their fourth appearance in the 2K Classic benefiting Wounded Warrior Project (1999, 2007, 2013) and are 8-2 in the event.
Oregon (Head Coach: Dana Altman, Pac-12 Conference) - Dana Altman has been at the helm of the Ducks' program for eight seasons and during that time Oregon has posted eight straight winning seasons, just the second time in school history that this feat has been accomplished, while the 206 wins in this span are a school record...Altman's streak of 21 straight winning seasons is the sixth-longest streak among active coaches in the country...the Ducks are expected to return nine players, including three starters from this year's squad, led by sophomore guard Payton Pritchard, who leads Oregon in scoring (14.6 ppg) and assists (145)...freshman forward Troy Brown Jr. nets 11.8 ppg and has a team-best 6.4 rpg average...the Ducks also welcome the No. 2 recruiting class in the nation, according to ESPN, led by No. 4-rated Bol Bol, son of former NBA player Manute Bol...Oregon has advanced to 14 NCAA Tournaments (including the last five in a row) and two Final Fours (including last season), and won the 1939 National Championship...the Ducks will be making their 2K Classic debut.
Iowa (Head Coach: Fran McCaffery, Big Ten Conference) - In eight seasons at Iowa, Fran McCaffery is the first head coach in program history to lead Iowa to 18 or more wins in six straight seasons, while his 150 wins with the Hawkeyes is the program's fourth-highest total...14 of the 16 players in this year's roster are expected to return next season, including all five starters and each of the top 12 scorers, led by sophomore forward Tyler Cook, who leads Iowa in scoring (15.3 ppg) and rebounding (6.9 rpg)...classmate guard Jordan Bohannon paces the Hawkeyes with 166 assists and ranks second to Cook with a 12.9 ppg average...Iowa previously played in the 1999 and 2014 2K Classics, advancing to the championship game in 1999, and sports a 3-3 2K Classic record...Iowa has been to 25 NCAA Tournaments and three Final Fours.
Eastern Washington (Head Coach: Shantay Legans, Big Sky Conference) - After eight seasons as an assistant/associate head coach at Eastern Washington, Shantay Legans is in his first season as head coach of the Eagles...with a roster comprised of 10 players expected to return next season - five of whom rank among the team's top six scorers - the Eags are poised to return to prominence in the Big Sky Conference, having last won the league title in 2015 to begin a streak of three-straight postseason appearances...among those expected back next season is junior forward Jesse Hunt, who ranks second at Eastern in scoring (8.5 ppg) and rebounding (6.2 rpg) in an injury-shortened junior season...sophomore forward Mason Peatling nets 7.6 ppg...the Eags played in the 2013 2K Classic benefiting Wounded Warrior Project.
Green Bay (Head Coach: Linc Darner, Horizon League) - Linc Darner has been a winner everywhere he has been, including winning the 2015 NCAA Division II national championship at Florida Southern...now in his third season at Green Bay, Darner has won over 50 games and posted more wins in his first two seasons than any coach in the history of the program (41)...after losing eight players from a year ago, this year's team boasts only two seniors on the 12-man roster...Marquette transfer, junior guard Sandy Cohen III (16.9 ppg), heads the list of players expected to return next season...sophomore guard Kam Hankerson nets 10.1 ppg and is second on the team with 20 blocked shots...the Phoenix will be playing in the 2K Classic for the first time.
Morehead State (Head Coach: Preston Spradlin, Ohio Valley Conference) - After serving as interim head coach for most of last season, Preston Spradlin is in his first season as full-time head coach...the Eagles' roster features five freshmen, four sophomores, and two juniors and has four players scoring in double figures...sophomore guard Jordan Walker leads the squad in scoring (12.2 ppg)...he also has 35 steals...junior forward Lamontray Harris is netting 11.0 ppg and hauls down 6.3 rpg...despite the youth, Morehead has been extremely competitive as 12 of its losses are by seven points or less...the Eagles are playing in the 2K Classic benefiting Wounded Warrior Project for the first time.
UMKC (Head Coach: Kareem Richardson, Western Athletic Conference) - In five years at UMKC, Kareem Richardson has turned around the fortunes of the Roos, including guiding last year's team to 18 wins - the second most in school history - and the quarterfinals of the CBI...this year's squad, which features only two seniors on the 15-man roster, is led by sophomore guard Xavier Bishop, who leads the team in scoring (11.5 ppg) and assists (97)...fellow sophomore Isaiah Ross (10.7 ppg) joins Bishop in the backcourt and is one of five players on this year's team who has started at least 10 games and who is expected to return next season...this will be UMKC's first appearance in the 2K Classic benefiting Wounded Warrior Project.
The schedule for the 2018 2K Classic will be announced at a later date. All four games of the Championship Rounds will be televised on ESPN networks. In the 2017 2K Classic benefiting Wounded Warrior Project, after a seven-point win in the semifinals, Providence shot 62 percent from the field to earn a 90-63 win over Saint Louis to claim the 2K Classic title. The Friars were 31-of-50 from the field, including 9-of-10 from three, and shot 19-of-24 from the line against the Billikens. Virginia Tech, which fell to Saint Louis in the semis, took down Washington, 103-79, in the consolation game. The Hokies set a tournament record by scoring 364 points (91.0 ppg) in their four games.
Wounded Warrior Project is the beneficiary of the 2K Classic. With the mission to honor and empower Wounded Warriors, WWP is the hand extended to encourage warriors as they adjust to their new normal and achieve new triumphs. Offering a variety of programs and services, WWP is equipped to serve warriors with every type of injury - from the physical to the invisible wounds of war.The 2K Classic benefiting Wounded Warrior Project is produced by the Gazelle Group of 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 Legends Classic, the Gotham Classic, and the College Basketball Invitational. For more information on the Gazelle Group, please visit gazellegroup.com.
The Northeast Conference (NEC) is the sponsoring conference of the 2K Classic benefiting Wounded Warrior Project. Now in its 36th season, the NEC is a NCAA Division I collegiate athletic association consisting of 10 institutions of higher learning located throughout six states. For more information on the NEC, visit the official website at www.northeastconference.org or follow on Twitter @NECsports.