Basketball

NCAA basketball teams to stage preseason games in Jamaica

Tuesday, November 19, 2019

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Eight college basketball teams will once again converge on the island to participate in the preseason 2019 Jersey Mike's Jamaica Classic set for Montego Bay Convention Centre, St James, between November 22 and 24.

The event, which started in 2017, will see some top US college teams in Louisiana State, Rhode Island, Utah State, North Texas, Nicholls State, UMBC, Eastern Michigan and North Carolina A&T compete for the trophy and more importantly, valuable preparation for their upcoming season.

For Jamaica, this is invaluable exposure to North America as approximately 16 hours of basketball will be beamed into 60 million households via television provider CBS. Jamaica's director of tourism Donovan White emphasised the importance of this tournament and what it means for Jamaica.

“The Jamaica Tourist Board is pleased to be a major sponsor of the Jersey Mike's Jamaica Classic. The preseason college basketball tournament continues to grow from year to year and we're delighted for the exciting opportunity to showcase the Montego Bay Convention Centre as a leading venue for hosting world-class sporting events,” said White.

“The destination benefits significantly from the partnership with CBS, which provides great exposure for Montego Bay and indeed for Jamaica. We look forward to welcoming basketball fans and sports enthusiasts from around the globe to this top-class tournament hosted right here in our beloved homeland. I am sure they will see firsthand why Jamaica is truly the heartbeat of the world,” said White.

Louisana State University (LSU), the Southeastern Conference powerhouse who made a run to the Sweet 16 in last year's NCAA Men's basketball tournament, are expected to be among the major attractions.

Then there are the Mountain West Conference leaders Utah State; Conference USA title contenders, North Texas; and Atlantic traditional power, Rhode Island, all adding intrigue and excitement to the Jamaica Classic and the upcoming college season.

Rounding out the eightteam tournament are Nicholls State out of the Southland Conference and the University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC). They stunned the US last year, recording one of the biggest upsets in college basketball history when as 16th seed they eliminated the topranked Virginia Cavalier in the first round.

Mid-American Conference (MAC) giants Eastern Michigan and North Carolina A&T complete the line-up set for Jamaica. Action will start on Friday, November 22 with Nicholls State taking on North Carolina at 11:30 am, before UMBC play Eastern Michigan at 2:00 pm.

North Texas face Rhode Island at 4:30, before LSU tackle Utah State at 7:00 pm. Patrons are required to pay $2,000 per day to the event in Rosehall, with VIP tickets costing $8,000.

The VIP entry is to include access to Margaritaville Courtside Club, where complimentary beer, wine and mixed drinks will be provided.

A limited number of exclusive courtside seats, up close and on top of the action, are available for $15,000, which also includes access to Margaritaville Courtside Club.

Tickets can also be purchased by calling 876-925-5426; via TouchstoneToicketing.com; or at MailPac Express locations across the island. — Howard Walker


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