Kansas State basketball to join Illinois, Arkansas and Cincinnati in Hall of Fame Classic
Wildcats to join Illinois, Arkansas, Cincinnati in tournament
Kansas State basketball's offseason already has been an eventful one, thanks to a transfer portal that first claimed four players from the 2020-21 roster and then replenished it with three fresh faces.
Throw in a maturing lineup that last year leaned heavily on three freshmen starters, and hopes are high that the Wildcats are ready to rebound from back-to-back disappointing seasons.
To that end, the Wildcats will have an early opportunity to deliver on that promise in November, when they join a powerhouse lineup for the 21st annual Hall of Fame Classic in Kansas City.
Illinois, Arkansas and Cincinnati will round out the field announced Wednesday for the two-day tournament, scheduled for Nov. 22-23 at the T-Mobile Center. It will be K-State's third time competing in the event.
“We are excited about playing in the Hall of Fame Classic again and hopefully playing in front of a purple-packed T-Mobile Center,” K-State coach Bruce Weber said in a statement. “Arkansas and Illinois should be preseason top 20 teams and Cincinnati always has a quality team, so it will be one of the top preseason tournaments next season.”
Illinois, coached by former K-State assistant and Wildcat player Brad Underwood, was a No. 1 seed in this year's NCAA Tournament, while Arkansas advanced to the Elite Eight under Eric Musselman. Cincinnati has won 20 or more games 10 of the last 11 years.
The tournament is part of Kansas City's Hall of Fame Weekend, which will include an induction celebration for the National Collegiate Basketball Hall of Fame class of 2021.
In two previous tournament appearances, K-State beat Gonzaga but lost to Duke in the 2010 championship game, then knocked off Missouri before falling to North Carolina in 2015.
In the tournament's 20-year history, the Big 12 has won nine championships, including four of the last five. Last year TCU beat Tulsa and Liberty for the title.
Matchups and tipoff times for this year's tournament will be announced later, but all four games will be televised on ESPN networks.
K-State is expected to return 10 lettermen, including four starters — fifth-year senior Mike McGuirl and freshmen Nijel Pack, Davion Bradford and Selton Miguel — next season. The newcomers include transfers Markquis Lowell (Arkansas-Little Rock), Mark Smith (Missouri) and Ismael Massoud (Wake Forest), plus high school signees Maximus Edwards and Logan Landers.