MT won inaugural event in 2013
MURFREESBORO, Tenn. – Middle Tennessee, champions of the inaugural Gulf Coast Showcase, is returning to the Sunshine State in hopes of duplicating its previous success in the event.
The Lady Raiders will join seven other quality teams for the 2019 Gulf Coast Showcase during Thanksgiving weekend at Hertz Arena in Estero, Fla., Head Coach Rick Insell has announced.
The bracket and pairings will be announced during the summer; however, the eight-team field is set and features six teams that won 20-plus games and five that competed in the NCAA Tournament last season. The field includes Arizona State, Auburn, Dayton, Drake, Gonzaga, Maine, Middle Tennessee and Purdue.
“Our team and our fans had a great time at the Gulf Coast Showcase in 2013, and we are excited to be going back to this first-class event,” Insell said. “This type of tournament will tell you a great deal about your team early in the season, and it certainly will help prepare us for a very difficult Conference USA schedule.
“We played in the first Gulf Coast Showcase and it jumpstarted an outstanding (2013-14) season for the Lady Raiders.”
Middle Tennessee won the inaugural event by disposing of previously undefeated Mississippi State, 62-48, in the championship game. The Lady Raiders would go on to fashion a 29-5 overall record during that 2013-14 season.
This year’s field includes teams from the Pac-12, the SEC, Missouri Valley, West Coast, America East, Atlantic 10, Big Ten and Conference USA. Six teams won 20-plus games last season with Arizona State reaching the Sweet 16 before being eliminated, and Gonzaga narrowly lost in the Round of 32. Arizona State, Dayton, Maine, Middle Tennessee and Purdue have all played in the tournament previously.
“The fact that five teams in the women’s field has played here before tells you what college basketball thinks of the Gulf Coast Showcase,” said Debbie Antonelli, tournament director and ESPN analyst. “We set out to create the best women’s tournament in the country, and once again, this eight-team field highlights the best the sport has to offer. This year’s field is as wide open as any since the tournament’s inception.”
The Lady Raiders are assured three games with action taking place Nov. 29 through Dec. 1. Tickets for the 2019 Gulf Coast Showcase will go on sale this summer. Fan travel information, including preferred hotel rates at the official tournament resort hotel – the Hyatt Regency Coconut Point – is available on GulfCoastShowcase.com.