FORT MYERS, Fla. – Intersport today announced that four men’s college basketball teams from America’s top conferences will descend upon Fort Myers, Fla., Nov. 19-21, 2018, to compete in the inaugural Fort Myers Tip-Off at Suncoast Credit Union Arena live on FS1.
The early season tournament field includes the Boston College Eagles of the ACC, the Loyola Chicago Ramblers of the Missouri Valley Conference, the Richmond Spiders of the Atlantic 10 Conference and the Wyoming Cowboys of the Mountain West Conference.
“We are thrilled to launch the Fort Myers Tip-Off in collaboration with Lee County to welcome college basketball’s elite teams and their fans to this city’s beautiful shores each November,” said Drew Russell, Intersport’s vice president of sports properties. “Based on Intersport’s storied and successful history of creating and producing live college events for more than 30 years, we fully anticipate this tournament becoming one of college basketball’s annual marquee events."
The Beaches of Fort Myers & Sanibel excel at hosting national sporting events and fans of all interests, including the spring training homes of the Boston Red Sox and the Minnesota Twins. It’s also a destination the whole family can enjoy with more than 50 miles of white-sand beaches and some of the best shelling and birding in the world.
“As we continue to add to our sports tourism portfolio, we are excited that the Fort Myers Tip-Off will highlight our community to a national television audience,” said Lee Board of County Commissioners Chairman Cecil Pendergrass, who also serves as the Chairman of the Lee County Tourist Development Council. “The event will certainly raise the profile of our destination and hopefully will lead to more events of this caliber in Lee County.”
The Lee Board of County Commissioners makes tourism and sports tourism a priority. The Lee County Sports Development office leads the recruitment and implementation of amateur and professional sports events and activities in Lee County, with the goal of providing economic impact to Lee County. Through local partnerships with Lee County Parks & Recreation and others, the Lee County Sports Development office provides services designed to address the needs of local, national and international sports.
The tournament will be staged at Suncoast Credit Union Arena, a $28 million state-of-the-art arena that opened in 2016 and seats approximately 3,500 fans. The arena is located on Florida Southwestern College’s Lee Campus and serves primarily as the home court for the Buccaneers’ basketball and volleyball teams.
All four participating teams enter the 2018-19 season riding momentum from last year. Loyola and Boston College both advanced to postseason tournaments in 2017-18, including Loyola’s thrilling run to the Final Four in the NCAA Tournament and BC’s first postseason berth since 2011. Wyoming and Richmond both reached the quarterfinals of their respective conference tournaments despite not reaching postseason play. Collectively, the 2018 Fort Myers Tip-Off contenders have appeared in 48 NCAA Tournaments and won two national championships, with Boston College’s 18 Tournament appearances leading the way.
The Fort Myers Tip-Off will begin on Monday, Nov. 19 with two historic, first-ever matchups when Loyola meets Richmond at 6:30 p.m. ET and Boston College meets Wyoming at 9 p.m. ET, marking the first time these schools have met in their storied histories. Losing teams will compete for third-place on Wednesday, Nov. 21 at 5 p.m. ET while the winning teams will advance to the Championship game that will conclude the tournament later that evening at 7:30 p.m. ET. All four games will be televised live on FS1.
Adding intrigue to these matchups are the talented and experienced players that each team returns in 2018-19. Loyola returns the reigning Missouri Valley Conference Player of the Year, Clayton Custer, along with two other starters from their Final Four team. Three starters and the top two scorers return for Richmond, including Grant Golden who broke the school record for points scored by a freshman (498). Boston College returns four starters, including Ky Bowman, who averaged 17.6 points, 6.8 rebounds, and 4.7 assists per game last season. Wyoming returns their leading scorer Justin James, a 6’7 senior guard who averaged 18.9 points, 6.0 rebounds and 3.0 assists per game.
Travel packages to beautiful Fort Myers, Fla. for the 2018 Fort Myers Tip-Off are now available. Packages include tickets to all four games, accommodations at the official team hotels, ground transportation, and more. For more information on travel packages, visit https://www.fortmyerstipoff.com/tickets.
Outside of the action in Fort Myers, Grambling State, IUPUI, Niagara and St. Francis will participate in the Fort Myers Tip-Off Opening Games against the schools that will compete in Fort Myers. Boston College hosts St. Francis and IUPUI, Loyola hosts Niagara and Grambling State, Richmond hosts St. Francis and IUPUI, and Wyoming hosts Grambling State and Niagara.
About the 2018 Fort Myers Tip-Off Teams
Boston College enjoyed a breakthrough 2017-18 season that included a 19-16 overall record and a trip to the National Invitation Tournament – the team's first postseason appearance in seven years. The 19 wins for the Eagles were the most since the 2010-11 campaign (21). BC returns four starters in 2018-19, including Ky Bowman, a 6-1 junior guard who averaged 17.6 points, 6.8 rebounds, and 4.7 assists per game last season, along with guard Jordan Chatman, forward Nik Popovic and forward Steffon Mitchell.
The 2017-18 season was a memorable one for Loyola fans as the team rolled to a school-record 32 victories, won its first outright regular-season conference title since 1985, made its first NCAA tournament appearance since 1985, and reached the Final Four for just the second time in program history and first since 1963. During this season to remember, the Ramblers knocked off four nationally ranked teams, disposing of No. 5 Florida, No. 22 Miami, No. 13 Tennessee and No. 24 Nevada. Loyola head coach Porter Moser will return three starters in 2018-19, including Missouri Valley Conference Player of the Year and Associated Press Honorable Mention All-America guard Clayton Custer, along with guard Marques Townes and center Cameron Krutwig.
In 2017-18, Richmond entered the season as one of the 10 youngest teams in Division I and the only school tasked with replacing a pair of top-10 scorers in program history. But game-by-game, the Spiders emerged as a team capable of playing with any other in the Atlantic 10 and one that has the potential to contend for a title for years to come. More than three quarters (77 percent) of Richmond's points came from freshmen or sophomores last season. Only 15 teams in Division I had a higher percentage of their points come from first or second-year players. Head Coach Chris Mooney enters 2018-19 needing three wins to become the winningest coach in Richmond history and will return his top two scorers, including Grant Golden who broke the school record for points scored by a freshman (498) and junior guard Nick Sherod.
Wyoming finished with a 20-13 record in 2017-18 and advanced to the quarterfinals of the Mountain West Conference Tournament. The Cowboys are expected to return their leading scorer Justin James, a 6’7 senior guard who averaged 18.9 points, 6.0 rebounds and 3.0 assists per game, including a season high 33 points against Nevada in a 104-103 OT win last January. Other notable returners include Hunter Maldonado, Jordan Naughton, Ny Redding and Hunter Thompson. Wyoming has enjoyed recent postseason success, including winning the College Basketball Invitational in 2017 and making the NCAA tournament in 2015 after winning the Mountain West Conference Tournament.
Since 1985, Intersport has been an award-winning innovator and leader in the creation of sports, lifestyle, culinary and entertainment-based marketing platforms. With expertise in Sponsorship Consulting, Experiential Marketing, Hospitality, Retail Engagement, Content Marketing, Productions and Property Creation, this Chicago-based Marketing & Media Solutions Company helps its clients engage consumers with compelling ideas, content and experiences. To learn more about Intersport, visit www.intersportnet.com, like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter and Instagram.