Georgia Tech, Marquette, Mississippi State and Utah Make Up 2022 Beach Division Field
FORT MYERS, Fla. (February 1, 2022) – The four-team Beach Division field of the 2022 Rocket Mortgage Fort Myers Tip-Off was announced today, featuring four power conference programs that are set to compete for early-season bragging rights this coming November.
Georgia Tech, Marquette, Mississippi State and Utah make up the four-team Beach Division of the Rocket Mortgage Fort Myers Tip-Off, which will take place November 21-23. All games will be played at Suncoast Credit Union Arena, a 3,500-seat arena on the campus Florida SouthWestern State College in Fort Myers, Fla. Matchups, game times and television designations will be announced at a later date.
The only way to guarantee tickets for the Tournament, which sold out last year, is by purchasing an official fan travel package. Travel packages for the 2022 Tournament will go on sale this spring, but fans can immediately register to receive information and email alerts from the Tournament regarding travel package availability. Details and registration information can be found at www.fortmyerstipoff.com/travel. Ticket-only packages, based on availability, will go on sale this fall.
The four programs of the 2022 Beach Division have combined for 90 NCAA Tournament appearances, including 33 by Marquette and 29 by Utah. Georgia Tech and sixth-year head coach Josh Pastner won the ACC Championship last season, earning its first NCAA Tournament berth since 2010, while Marquette and Mississippi State received at-large berths to the 2019 Tournament. The Eagles and Bulldogs, led by a Final Four head coaches Shaka Smart and Ben Howland, respectively, are also primely positioned for NCAA Tournament runs later this season. Utah is under the direction of first-year head coach Craig Smith, who appeared in each of the last two NCAA Tournaments as the head coach at Utah State.
In its first four years, the Rocket Mortgage Fort Myers Tip-Off has quickly become one of the top early-season events in the country and a fixture in the Southwest Florida sports calendar. In 2021, both nights of the Rocket Mortgage Fort Myers Tip-Off Beach Division were played in front of sold-out crowds that saw the in-state Florida Gators defeat the Ohio State Buckeyes with a dramatic buzzer-beating 3-pointer to take home the Tournament title. The Tournament, which has hosted several Final Four-caliber programs in its first four seasons including Gonzaga, Kansas, Auburn, Loyola (Chicago), Florida and Ohio State, will welcome four power conference programs to the Beach Division for the second straight year (Florida, Ohio State, Cal and Seton Hall in 2021).
Nationally recognized brands have also aligned themselves with the high-profile nature of the Rocket Mortgage Fort Myers Tip-Off. Rocket Mortgage returns as the fifth-year title sponsor of the event and Lee County returns as the host partner of the event. They are joined this year by premium brands Old Trapper Beef Jerky, State Farm, Libman and O’Reilly Auto Parts.
The 2022 Rocket Mortgage Fort Myers Tip-Off will once again include a second, four-team Palms Division field. Those four participating programs will be announced in the coming months.
About the Teams of the 2022 Rocket Mortgage Fort Myers Tip-Off Beach Division:
Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets
- Josh Pastner is in the midst of his sixth season with Georgia Tech and 13th season overall, having won more than 250 games in his career.
- As the No. 4 seed, the Yellow Jackets won the 2021 Atlantic Coast Conference Championship, the school’s first tournament title since 1993 and fourth in program history.
- Georgia Tech has appeared in 17 NCAA Tournaments in program history, and their 2021 appearance was their first since 2010.
- Overall, the Yellow Jackets have 26 all-time postseason appearances in their history.
- The Jackets have recorded 11 conference victories in each of the last two seasons, marking the first time in program history they have won 10 or more conference games in consecutive seasons.
Marquette Golden Eagles
- Head coach Shaka Smart, a native of Madison, Wis., is in his first season at the helm for Marquette.
- Prior to joining the Golden Eagles, Smart won over 270 games and guided his teams to eight NCAA Tournament appearances – including a Final Four appearance with VCU in 2011.
- While at Texas, Smart led the Longhorns to three NCAA appearances, the NIT title in 2019, and the 2021 Big 12 Tournament title.
- The Golden Eagles boast 33 NCAA Tournament appearances in program history, the most of any team in the 2022 Rocket Mortgage Fort Myers Tip-Off field, including 10 appearances since 2006.
- The Golden Eagles have won at least 18 games in 16 of the last 19 seasons, leading to 15 postseason appearances in that span.
Mississippi State Bulldogs
- Now in his 26th season as a head coach and seventh with the Bulldogs, Ben Howland ranks among the top 25 winningest active coaches with more than 525 in his career, including 14 20-win seasons.
- Howland has coached 11 teams to the NCAA Tournament, including three consecutive Final Four squads at the helm of UCLA from 2006-08. He is one of just 10 coaches in NCAA history to take a team to three straight Final Fours.
- Entering the year, Howland averaged just over 19 wins per season in his six seasons with the programs. He currently ranks fourth on the program’s all-time wins list.
- The Bulldogs have made three postseason appearances under Howland, including last year’s runner-up finish in the NIT and the 2019 NCAA Tournament, the program’s first berth in the Big Dance since 2009.
- Mississippi State has appeared in 20 postseason tournaments all-time, including 11 NCAA appearances in program history.
- Utah will enter the Tournament under the direction of head coach Craig Smith, who is in his first season with the Utes.
- Smith spent the last three seasons at Utah State, where he compiled 74 victories, a pair of Mountain West Tournament titles in 2019 and 2020 and NCAA berths in 2019 and 2021.
- In total, he has won 20 or more games in each of his last five seasons as a head coach, dating back to the 2016-17 season at South Dakota.
- The Utes have appeared in 29 NCAA Tournaments and have four Final Four appearances in program history, including the 1944 NCAA Championship.
- Entering the 2020-21 season, the Utes are one of just four Pac-12 teams to average more than 10 conference victories per year since the 2014-15 campaign.
About the Rocket Mortgage Fort Myers Tip-Off
Launched in 2018, the Rocket Mortgage Fort Myers Tip-Off brings the nation’s top college basketball programs together for three days of incredible competition to see which team and their fans will #OwnTheFort during Thanksgiving Week. Contested at Suncoast Credit Union Arena, the home of Florida SouthWestern State College, the tournament has quickly become a staple of the Southwest Florida sports calendar. For more information on the Rocket Mortgage Fort Myers Tip-Off, please visit www.fortmyerstipoff.com.