By Greg Halbleib
NORMAL – Illinois State men’s basketball will face Georgia in the opening round of the Cayman Islands Classic in November.
The Redbirds learned their schedule on Thursday. Illinois State will face either Clemson or Akron in the second round of the eight-team tournament, held Nov. 19-21 at John Gray Gymnasium near Seven Mile Beach.
Akron will face Clemson in the opening game at 12 p.m. ET, followed by Illinois State vs. Georgia at 2:30 p.m. The evening match-ups later on Nov. 19 include St. Bonaventure vs. Georgia State and Boise State vs. Creighton.
Fans can purchase tickets online, starting July 1 at www.caymanislandsclassic.com/ot/tickets.html
Semifinal round games are slated for 2:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. the following day, Tuesday, Nov. 20. Losing teams will compete in their second game Nov. 20 with tip offs at 12 p.m. and 5 p.m.
The seventh-place game will open the final day of competition on Wednesday, Nov. 21 starting at 12 p.m., followed by the fifth-place game (2:30 p.m.), third-place game (5 p.m.) and title game (7:30 p.m.) to crown the Cayman Islands Classic champion.
Georgia finished last season with a record of 18-15. The Bulldogs return three of the top five scorers from last season for first-year coach Tom Crean, who formerly coached Indiana and Marquette.
Illinois State also finished 18-15 and returns 88 percent of its scoring from last year. The Redbirds defeated both of their SEC opponents last season with wins over South Carolina in the Puerto Rico Tip-Off Tournament in Myrtle Beach and at Ole Miss.
The Cayman Islands are about an hour from Miami in the Caribbean Sea southwest of Cuba and northwest of Jamaica.
Greg Halbleib can be reached at email@example.com.