Report: South Florida to play in 2021 Diamond Head Classic
South Florida will be one of eight teams in the 2021 Hawaiian Airlines Diamond Head Classic field per separate reports by Happening Hoops and Jon Rothstein of CBS Sports. Neither Tournament officials, nor ESPN Events, have confirmed the tournament participants.
This would mark the first time that the Bulls will be playing in the tournament.
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According to the reports USF will be joined by BYU, Hawai’i, Liberty, New Mexico State, Northern Iowa, Stanford and Wyoming.
The eight team tournament – which historically takes place from Dec. 22-25 – will be played at the Stan Sheriff Center on the University of Hawai'i campus. Each team will play three games. The exact dates and times will be announced at a later date.
In what will be its 12th year, the Diamond Head Classic will once again be an ESPN event with all games set to broadcast on the ESPN Family of Networks
The Diamond Head Classic will be the fourth consecutive major early-season tournament/event in the last four years for USF. The Bulls participated in the 2018 Jamaica Classic and the 2019 Cayman Island Classic. USF was slated to play in the 2020 Fort Myers Tip-Off but switched to the Basketball Hall of Fame Tip-Off in Uncasville, Conn.
USF has never faced Hawai’i, Northern Illinois or Stanford. The Green and Gold most recently took on New Mexico State in the 2019 Cayman Island Classic, while playing both BYU and Liberty in 2010 and Wyoming in 1991.
Previous tournament champions of the Hawaiian Airlines Diamond Head Classic include USC (2009, 2017), Butler (2010), Kansas State (2011), Arizona (2012), Iowa State (2013), George Washington (2014), Oklahoma (2015), and San Diego State (2016), TCU (2018) and Houston (2019).
The 2020 tournament was planned to move to Orlando, but was eventually canceled before the season started.
Rothstein also reported that South Florida is expected to face Florida in the 2021 Orange Bowl Basketball Classic.
In April, BullsInsider.com reported that USF will face Auburn at Amalie Arena. With the expectation that The American will return to an 18-game conference schedule, this leaves eight more non-conference games to be scheduled for next season.