The ETSU men’s basketball team will be spending Thanksgiving week in Southwest Florida. The Buccaneers will be playing in the Naples Invitational from November 22-24, which was announced Thursday by tournament operator bdG Sports.
The eight-team tournament field features ETSU, Murray State, Kent State, George Washington, Wright State, James Madison, Missouri State and Long Beach State. Seven of the eight teams have earned NCAA Tournament bids in the past decade, including the Bucs claiming Southern Conference titles in 2017 and 2020.
ETSU will take on old Ohio Valley Conference rival Murray State in its first game of tournament at 5:30 p.m. on Nov. 22. The winner of that game will play the winner of Missouri State-Long Beach State at 8 p.m. on Nov. 23, while the championship game is scheduled for 8 p.m. on Nov. 24. Click here for a full tournament bracket.
The Bucs and Racers have met 43 times with the most-recent meeting coming in the 2010-11 season. Murray State has won at least 23 games in three of the last four seasons, while making back-to-back NCAA Tournament trips in 2018 and 2019, including a first round win over fifth-seeded Marquette in 2019.
ETSU has played Missouri State three times – the last coming in the 1988-89 campaign – while the Bucs and Long Beach State have never met. Missouri State returns all five starters and nine players total from last year’s team that went 17-7 and 12-6 in the Missouri Valley Conference. The Bears have won 24 conference championships and made six NCAA Tournament appearances in program history. Long Beach State also has rich history with nine NCAA Tournament appearances, two Elite Eight trips, four Sweet 16s and 22 conference championships.
The tournament will be played at the Community School of Naples. The first-round pairings for the Naples Invitational are:
- 12 p.m. ET – Kent State vs. James Madison
- 2:30 p.m. ET – Wright State vs. George Washington
- 5:30 p.m. ET – ETSU vs. Murray State
- 8:00 p.m. ET – Missouri State vs. Long Beach State