More basketball scheduling news has leaked, as it was revealed that Cincinnati will take on the Buffalo Bulls in the first round of the Cayman Islands Classic on Nov. 20. The Bearcats and Bulls will meet in the final game of the tournament’s first round, with an approximate tip-off time of 7:30 p.m. The winner of the contest will face the victor between Richmond and UAB, while the losers of each contest will square off. Louisiana, Iowa, South Dakota State and Wyoming are the other teams in the field.
Buffalo went 17-15 last season, its second under Nate Oats. The Bulls had gone to the NCAA Tournament in back-to-back seasons prior to the 2016-17 campaign. Buffalo finished ranked No. 122 by KenPom, rating 152nd in adjusted offense (105.4) and 113th in adjusted defense (102.2). The Bearcats have played Buffalo once before, rolling to an 86-59 triumph in 1971.
Iowa is obviously the biggest name in the tournament besides UC, with the Hawkeyes just a year removed from a top 25 AP poll finish and its third-straight NCAA Tournament appearance. Last season, they went 19-15 overall and took part in the NIT, falling to TCU 94-92 in overtime during the second round.
South Dakota State doesn’t play in a major conference, but has still made it to the NCAA Tournament four times in the last six years, even this past spring when it went 18-17 in its first season in the post-Scott Nagy era. UAB had similar success in its first year under Rob Ehsan. Wyoming had a better run in their first season with a new coach, going 23-15 with Allen Edwards at the helm.
Richmond and Louisiana each reached 20 wins last season, but haven’t been to the NCAA Tournament since 2011 and 2014, respectively.
In terms of recent early season tournaments, Cincinnati participated in the Naismith Memorial Hall of Fame Tip-Off last season and, in 2015, won the Barclays Center Classic.