New Opening Crossover Classic Foe For WVU Confirmed

Bad Boy Mowers Crossover Classic

MORGANTOWN, W. Va. — Less than 24 hours after the Mountaineers’ original opening round opponent for the Bad Boy Mowers Crossover Classic announced it was pulling out of the early season men’s basketball tournament, a new foe has been slotted in to face West Virginia.

Because of COVID-19 concerns, Texas A&M announced Tuesday that it would not be participating in the tourney, which will take place Nov. 25-27 in Sioux Falls, South Dakota.

The event’s officials immediately went to work finding a replacement, and Northern Iowa has agreed to take the Aggies’ spot. Jon Rothstein of College Hoops Today first reported the change, though a short time later WVU officials confirmed the new Mountaineer opponent.

So, the Panthers will take A&M’s place in the Crossover Classic’s eight-team field and thus will face WVU in the tourney’s first game, which tips off at 2 p.m. (Eastern Time) on Wednesday, Nov. 25. That contest will be televised by ESPN. All the 12 games played in the Crossover Classic will be broadcast by ESPN, ESPN2 or ESPNU.

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Logistically the new matchup fits into the Panthers’ schedule. Northern Iowa currently lists just 18 regular season games to be played for the coming year, all within the Missouri Valley Conference. It does not currently list any non-conference games, so the three additional contests it would pick up in the Crossover Classic would easily fit within the 27-game maximum allowed by the NCAA this season.

According to its current schedule, UNI’s first game is not until Dec. 30 when it hosts Missouri State, so there is plenty of time for three games over the Thanksgiving Week.

Northern Iowa was previously slated to play in a Thanksgiving week tourney in the Cayman Island Classic. Because of coronavirus concerns, that event was then going to be moved to Niceville, Florida. Last month, though, the entire tournament, which was renamed the Emerald Coast Classic and was going to also include schools like Oregon, Iowa State and Illinois, was completely cancelled. Thus UNI was left looking for another tournament, and it has now found one at the Sanford Pentagon in Sioux Falls.

West Virginia is not getting off easy with the switch from Texas A&M to Northern Iowa, though. Far from it.

The Aggies were 16-14 last season with a NET ranking of 113th. UNI won the Missouri Valley regular season title for the third time in the past 12 years, held a 25-6 record and a NET ranking of 48th.

Northern Iowa is the preseason favorite this year to win the Missouri Valley Conference, while A&M is 11th in the 14-team SEC preseason poll.

Ben Jacobson has served as the Panthers coach since 2006. He holds a 269-170 record in that period and has taken this club to the NCAA Tournament four times, including a run to the Sweet 16 in 2010 when it knocked off No. 1 seed Kansas along the way.

Bad Boy Mowers Crossover Classic bracket

Jacobson’s squad this season returns three starters who were also the team’s top three scorers in 2019-20. The leader of those is 6-foot-4, 189-pound junior guard A.J. Green, who averaged 19.7 points while making 91 of 233 three-point attempts (39.1%). That performance earned him the Larry Bird MVC Player of the Year award last season. Trae Berhow, a 6-foot-5, 198-pound senior guard, also returns after averaging 12.5 points per game last year. UNI’s inside muscle is also back in the form of Austin Phyfe, a 6-foot-9, 250-pound junior forward, who averaged 11.2 points and a team-high 8.2 rebounds per game last year.

West Virginia and Northern Iowa have met just one other time on the basketball court, and that was last year in the Cancun Classic. The Mountaineers overcame a 15-point deficit in the second half and pulled out a 60-55 victory. Deuce McBride had 18 points to lead WVU to the win. Green managed just five points for the Panthers, as he made just two of his 15 field goal attempts. UNI only made three of its 20 three-point tries in that contest, which was the semifinal contest in Cancun.

WVU’s second round game in Sioux Falls is slated to be against either Memphis or St. Mary’s on Thursday, Nov. 26 with a noon tip for the first-round winners and a 5 p.m. start for the losers. Creighton, South Dakota State, Wichita State and Utah State will play on the other side of the Crossover Classic bracket, which will conclude with championship and consolation games played on Friday, Nov. 27.

Originally West Virginia was supposed to be part of the Battle 4 Atlantis tournament, but that event was cancelled because of the pandemic. Most of the Atlantis field, minus Duke, initially agreed to re-comprise the tourney in Sioux Falls, but then a number of them began dropping out – Utah, Dayton, Ohio State and then Texas A&M. Replacements were found for each, and at this point the eight-team field appears set, though until they all make it to South Dakota, history shows us nothing is definite.

Home Page forums New Opening Crossover Classic Foe For WVU Reportedly Set

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    Less than 24 hours after the Mountaineers’ original opening round opponent for the Bad Boy Mowers Crossover Classic announced it was pulling out of th
    [See the full post at: New Opening Crossover Classic Foe For WVU Reportedly Set]


    Oh, no!

    If you hear a panther, don’t anther!   Ogden Nash


    Looks like a pretty good sub, competition-wise!



    Actually, on paper, UNI is much better than A&M. The Panthers aren’t in the top 25 in either the AP or coaches preseason polls, but they did get votes in each. A&M did not receive any votes.


    UNI has been pretty good historically. NCAA team 2014-16, including a 31-4 year and a Top Ten ranking in 2014-15.

    Then had three .500 years, but was 25-6 last year and would have likely made the NCAAs again.


    We probably should not have won last year, did not play well as a team.  But Deuce almost single handily beat them if I remember correctly.  And mostly in the 2nd half if I remember that correctly as well.  I am sure they will be out for revenge.


    This is a good matchup for us.  aTm although a p5 team isn’t very good.  The Bad Boy promoters have done a good job of keeping this tourney together.


    It’s a mid major smorgasbord! Probably the best lineup of teams of any of WVU’s pre-season tournaments in recent memory.

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Home Page forums New Opening Crossover Classic Foe For WVU Reportedly Set

Home Page forums New Opening Crossover Classic Foe For WVU Confirmed