Established in 1995, the 2K Sports Classic -- originally called the Atlantic City Shootout -- is a college basketball tournament played in November of every season. The event semifinals and finals games have been held at Madison Square Garden in New York City, “The World’s Most Famous Arena”, since 1998. The event was at one point also known as the Coaches vs. Cancer Classic, before the name was changed to the 2K Sports Classic in 2012. The tournament’s beneficiary is the Wounded Warrior Project, an organization that honors and empowers injured service men and women. Since 2014, the tournament has consisted of eight teams from eight different conferences. Two games are held at four different regional sites and then the top four teams travel to New York to compete in semifinals and finals at Madison Square Garden.
Participating teams are typically chosen based on past success, with Syracuse and Texas the two teams that have appeared most with five tournament invitations each. Michigan is the current reigning champion, winning the tournament last year with a resounding 76-54 final victory over SMU in last year’s final. The Wolverines put on an impressive offensive display throughout the 22-point victory, as Derrick Walton Jr. posted a game-high 23 points, including a career-high seven three pointers, to lead three players who scored in double figures. Zak Irvin was named the 2K Classic Championship Round MVP after scoring 16 points in both the semifinal and championship games, with Walton and Muhammad-Ali Abdur-Rahkman receiving all-tournament honors.
For the 2017 2K Sports Classic, fans can look forward to Providence, Virginia Tech, Washington and Saint Louis as headliners. The other four teams that will be competing are Belmont, Detroit Mercy, Houston Baptist, and Seattle.