FORT MYERS, Fla. (Nov. 21, 2018) – Intersport today announced the four men’s college basketball programs that will comprise the 2019 Rocket Mortgage by Quicken Loans Fort Myers Tip-Off field, adding to the excitement surrounding the final day of the inaugural tournament.
The second annual tournament will include the Bradley Braves of the Missouri Valley Conference, the Kansas State Wildcats of the Big 12 Conference, the Northwestern Wildcats of the Big Ten Conference and the Pitt Panthers of the Atlantic Coast Conference. These programs, which boast a combined 65 NCAA Tournament appearances and seven Final Four berths, are led by coaches with winning pedigrees. Kansas State’s Bruce Weber (Illinois), Northwestern’s Chris Collins (Duke) and Pitt’s Jeff Capel (Duke) have all helped guide teams to National Championship games during their coaching careers, and Bradley’s Brian Wardle entered the 2018-19 campaign ranked second among Division I coaches younger than 40 with 133 career victories.
“The beautiful shores of Southwest Florida have provided an unbelievable backdrop for the competitive basketball that we’ve witnessed this week during the inaugural Rocket Mortgage by Quicken Loans Fort Myers Tip-Off,” said Drew Russell, Intersport’s Executive Vice President of Sports Properties and Media Assets. “We are thrilled to welcome these four elite men’s college basketball teams and their fans to Fort Myers next November.”
The tournament will once again be staged at Suncoast Credit Union Arena, a $28 million state-of-the-art arena where Boston College, Loyola Chicago, Richmond and Wyoming have been competing this week in the inaugural Rocket Mortgage by Quicken Loans Fort Myers Tip-Off. Loyola Chicago won the tournament’s first-ever game over Richmond 82-66 while Boston College defeated Wyoming in the second game 88-76 on Nov. 19. Richmond and Wyoming will meet in the consolation game tonight at 5 p.m. ET while Loyola Chicago will meet Boston College in the Championship game tonight at 7:30 p.m. ET to determine who will #OwnTheFort. Both games will be televised live on FS1.
Game times and matchups for the 2019 Rocket Mortgage by Quicken Loans Fort Myers Tip-Off will be announced at a later date.
Fans can immediately begin planning to catch all the action at the 2019 Rocket Mortgage by Quicken Loans Fort Myers Tip-Off. Visit www.fortmyerstipoff.com/2019 to sign up for the latest updates regarding ticket presales and travel packages, good for access to all four games of the 2019 Tournament. For more information on the tournament and all event updates, please follow us on Twitter, @FtMyersTipoff, or visit www.fortmyerstipoff.com.
For the official Rocket Mortgage by Quicken Loans Fort Myers Tip-Off logo, visit here.
2019 Participants’ Matchup History – Quick Facts
- The last time that Pitt and Bradley faced was in the 2006 NCAA Tournament’s Round of 32. Bradley defeated Pitt 72-66 to advance to the Sweet 16. The Braves and Panthers have faced six times total, with Bradley leading the series 5-1.
- Northwestern and Pitt have met more times than of any of the other participants (18 games), but have not played since 1996 when Pitt defeated the Wildcats 60-42 in Honolulu. NU leads the series 10-8.
- Pitt and Kansas State have only met once in their histories. Pitt won 70-47 during the 2014 Maui Invitational.
- Bradley and Northwestern have gone the longest stretch of time since their last matchup. They last met in 1985 and have faced nine times in total. NU leads the series 8-1.
About the 2019 Rocket Mortgage by Quicken Loans Fort Myers Tip-Off Teams
One of the most accomplished young coaches in the country, Brian Wardle is in his fourth year at the helm of the Bradley men’s basketball program. The 14th head coach in the Braves’ history, Wardle entered the 2018-19 campaign ranked second among Division I coaches younger than 40 with 133 career victories. One of just four schools in the country to improve by at least five wins in each of the last two years, Bradley finished the 2017-18 season with a 20-13 record and earned a top-five seed for the Missouri Valley Conference Tournament in 2018, advancing to the tournament semifinals for the first time since 2010. In just three years on the Bradley sideline, Wardle has rebuilt the foundation for a Braves program looking to return to glory. After completely overhauling the roster and featuring the youngest team in the nation, he has led Bradley to a 15-win improvement in his short time on campus.
One of the winningest active Division I coaches with over 400 career wins and 12 NCAA Tournament appearances to his credit, Bruce Weber is in his seventh season at Kansas State. Entering the 2018-19 season, K-State returns 10 lettermen from last year’s squad that advanced to the Elite Eight for the 12th time in team history and the first time since 2001. The Wildcats posted a 25-12 overall record a year ago, including a 10-8 mark in Big 12 play which helped secure their fourth NCAA Tournament bid in six seasons under head coach Bruce Weber. In the Tournament, the Wildcats defeated Creighton, UMBC and Kentucky before bowing out to 2018 Fort Myers Tip-Off participant Loyola Chicago in the South Regional Final in Atlanta.
NU is beginning its sixth season under head coach Chris Collins, who is on pace to become the fastest Wildcat coach to 100 wins in program history. Collins led the Wildcats to heights never before reached during the 2016-17 season. The unforgettable campaign saw Northwestern accumulate a school-record 24 wins while earning the program’s first NCAA tournament berth and victory in school history. Entering the 2018-19 season, Northwestern returns senior center Derek Pardon, who holds the Northwestern record for career field goal percentage (.621) and stand-out player Vic Law, a senior forward, who became the 36th player in NU history to surpass 1,000 points earlier this season. The Wildcats also welcome a strong first-year class, ranked the best recruiting class in NU's history, according to 247Sports. Among these talented student-athletes are two four-star recruits, including Pete Nance, the highest ranked recruit in Northwestern history, per 247Sports.
Head Coach Jeff Capel is in his first year at Pitt after spending the previous seven seasons at Duke, where he helped guide the Blue Devils to a 200-55 (.784) record, seven NCAA Tournament appearances, the 2017 ACC Tournament championship and the 2015 National Championship. Entering the 2018-19 season, Pitt returns five players who started 13 or more games a year ago, including leading scorer Jared Wilson-Frame (13.0 ppg., 74 3FG). Junior Kene Chukwuka along with sophomores Terrell Brown, Khameron Davis and Shamiel Stevenson will look to make significant jumps in their play after gaining valuable game experience last season. Pitt has made the NCAA Tournament 13 times since 2000 and owns a 24-26 all-time record in the NCAA Tournament.
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