WVU Men’s Hoops Headed To Myrtle Beach Next Season
Plenty of West Virginians vacation at Myrtle Beach. Now the Mountaineer basketball team will spend a few days on the Grand Strand as well, participating in the inaugural Myrtle Beach Invitational next fall. WVU’s men’s basketball squad was the last Big 12 team without a November holiday tournament home for 2018, but that changed with the announcement.
The tournament will be played at the HTC Center on the campus of Coastal Carolina and will take place Nov. 15, 16 and 18, which is the week before Thanksgiving. The event, owned and operated by ESPN, grew out of last year’s Puerto Rico Tip-Off, which was moved to the CCU campus after Hurricane Maria swept across the island.
Besides WVU, other teams at Myrtle Beach will be Cal State Fullerton, St. Joseph’s, UCF, Valparaiso, Wake Forest and Western Kentucky. An eighth team will be announced at a later date.
“We are excited to launch the Myrtle Beach Invitational,” said Pete Derzis, ESPN senior vice president of college sports programming and ESPN Events. “After collaborating with Visit Myrtle Beach and the city of Myrtle Beach to move last year’s Puerto Rico Tip-Off to the area due to the effects of Hurricane Maria, we saw first-hand the community’s outstanding facilities and passion for college basketball. Based on that experience, we determined that Myrtle Beach would be an ideal location for college basketball teams and their fans to visit each November.”
Several of the teams in next year’s Myrtle Beach Invitational saw postseason success this past season, with Cal State Fullerton and West Virginia playing the NCAA Tournament, where the Mountaineers advanced to the Sweet 16. And Western Kentucky appeared in the NIT semifinals.
WVU has never played a basketball game in the Myrtle Beach area. In fact, it’s only played one game in the state of South Carolina in the last 45 years, as the Mountaineers lost to UNC-Charlotte (110-103) at Winthrop Coliseum in Rock Hill, S.C. in 1990.
“We are excited to host ESPN and eight Division I men’s college basketball programs in November for the inaugural Myrtle Beach Invitational,” said Carla Schuessler, Myrtle Beach Area Chamber of Commerce Chair of the Board. “We are also looking forward to welcoming all the fans to our destination; in addition to the exciting action on the court, the Myrtle Beach area has so much to offer fans from the beautiful beach, to dining and attractions.”