The college basketball world is usually quiet during the month of June. But two recent announcements from Navy and Georgetown have made this June an exception.
For the next four years, the Navy men's basketball team will host its own tip-off event. For college basketball teams in the Washington, D.C., area, the 2014-15 regular season will begin Nov. 14 with the Veterans Classic at the Naval Academy. The event will feature a college basketball doubleheader at Alumni Hall, featuring three teams that participated in the NCAA tournament in March 2013. Tennessee and Virginia Commonwealth will meet during the first game, which is scheduled to tip off at 6:30 p.m. The Midshipmen will take on perennial national championship contender Michigan State during the 9 p.m. nightcap.
The Veterans Classic will be televised by the CBS Sports Network, which worked with Navy to create the event. Alumni Hall, which seats 5,710 spectators, will be the site of the classic for the next four years.
"This should be a terrific event over the next four years, featuring some of the best college basketball teams in the country," Navy athletic director Chet Gladchuk said in a statement.
Navy has made 11 appearances in the NCAA tournament, the latest coming in 1998. The Midshipmen advanced to the Elite Eight in 1954 and 1986. Navy, coached by Ed DeChellis, finished with a 9-21 overall record and a 4-14 Patriot League mark during the 2013-14 season.
For the last four decades, Michigan State has been a regular participant in March Madness. The Spartans have played in 28 NCAA tournaments, including the last 17. Seven of Michigan State's eight Final Four appearances have occurred since the Magic Johnson-led Spartans won the school's first national championship in 1979. Michigan State also captured the NCAA title in 2000.
The Spartans, led by eight-time National Coach of the Year Tom Izzo, finished the 2013-14 season with a 29-9 overall mark and a 12-6 Big Ten record. Michigan State won the Big Ten conference tournament championship, and reached the Elite Eight before losing to eventual national champion Connecticut.
Tennessee has made 19 NCAA appearances, and advanced to the Elite Eight in 2010. The Volunteers were one of the last teams chosen for the 2014 NCAA tournament, but made their mark in March. A season-ending loss to Michigan during the Sweet 16 closed a 24-13 campaign, including 11-7 in the Southeastern Conference.
The appearance at Navy will mark the Tennessee coaching debut of Donnie Tyndall, who was hired in April to replace the departed Cuonzo Martin.
Virginia Commonwealth has reached the NCAA tournament 13 times. In 2011, head coach Shaka Smart guided the Monarchs to their first -- and, thus far, only -- Final Four appearance.
The Monarchs, who have made four straight March Madness appearances, went 26-9 overall and 12-4 in the Atlantic 10 Conference during the 2013-14 season. Virginia Commonwealth's season ended during the second round of the NCAA tournament with a last-second loss to Stephen F. Austin.
While Michigan State and Navy will be meeting for the first time since the 1986-87 season, Georgetown and Syracuse are familiar with each other. The two schools formed a signature rivalry in the Big East for 34 years, until Syracuse joined the Atlantic Coast Conference in July 2013. But the old foes, who last played in March 2013, have made plans to battle again.
Beginning with the 2015-16 season, Georgetown and Syracuse will play a four-year series that will alternate between the Verizon Center and the Carrier Dome. The Hoyas will host the first game, then travel to Syracuse during the 2016-17 season.
The two schools were original members of the Big East conference and have played 90 times during a rivalry that began during the 1929-30 campaign. Most of those meetings came since the 1979-80 season, when both schools joined the Big East. Syracuse leads the all-time series, 49-41, but Georgetown has won four of the last seven contests.
"The reestablishment of this series is good for college basketball fans across the country," Georgetown athletic director Lee Reed said in a statement. "This is something that both schools have worked very hard to have happen."