Nebraska joins two NCAA tournament teams in Cayman Islands Classic field

LINCOLN — Nebraska will play in the 2019 Cayman Islands Classic in November.

The tournament, held from Nov. 25-27 in George Town, also includes Colorado State, South Florida, Loyola-Chicago, New Mexico State, Old Dominion, George Mason and Washington State.

“The Cayman Islands Classic will provide us a good early-season test,” Nebraska coach Fred Hoiberg said in a press release. “With so many newcomers, having the opportunity to play three games over three days will help us learn about our team before Big Ten play begins. It also provides our players an opportunity to experience the culture and hospitality of the Cayman Islands.”

New Mexico State is one of two NCAA tournament teams among the bunch. The Aggies were 30-5 this season and won the Western Athletic Conference. Native Iowan Chris Jans’ team was a missed 3-pointer away from knocking off Final Four-bound Auburn in the first round.

Old Dominion was a 14 seed and lost 61-48 to Purdue in the first round. ODU was the Conference USA tournament champion and finished the season 26-9.

Loyola-Chicago followed up its 2018 Final Four run with a 20-14 season. The Ramblers lost to Creighton in the first round of the NIT. Their coach, former Bluejay Porter Moser, turned down the St. John’s job this spring to stay in Chicago.

South Florida was 24-14 under Brian Gregory and won the CBI.

George Mason was 18-15 and didn’t make a postseason tournament.

Washington State will be breaking in a new coach. WSU hired Kyle Smith from the University of San Francisco to replace Ernie Kent, who was fired after an 11-21 season. Kent was hired by Bill Moos when the Nebraska athletic director was in Pullman.

Colorado State was 12-20 under Niko Medved, who was an assistant for former Husker coach Tim Miles at CSU from 2007-13.

The trip to the Caribbean will be Nebraska’s second overseas trip of 2019. Hoiberg and his team will head to Italy this summer to play in an exhibition tournament.

Nebraska hasn’t announced its full 2019-20 schedule yet. Special assistant Bobby Lutz, who is in charge of scheduling, said last month that he’d solidified eight of nine open spots for the schedule.

The Big Ten has released conference matchups for next season. Nebraska will play home and away against Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Northwestern, Ohio State, Rutgers and Wisconsin. Illinois, Maryland and Minnesota will be road games only, and NU will host Michigan State, Penn State and Purdue without having to travel to those three tough arenas.

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