USF men’s basketball announced Friday that it will be participating in the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame’s Air Force Reserve Tip-Off Tournament on Nov. 28-29. The tournament will take place at Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Connecticut.
Adding the tournament brings much-needed clarity to the Bulls’ schedule and will replace the 2020 Rocket Mortgage by Quicken Loans Fort Myers Tip-Off, in which USF was slated to begin its season. The Bulls pulled out of the tournament after the other teams in the field did the same.
Other teams competing in the tournament include Albany, Drexel, Long Island, Quinnipiac, Rhode Island, AAC rival Temple, and Virginia Tech. USF is set to face Rhode Island on Nov. 28 and will play Virginia Tech the following day. It will be the first time the Bulls play the Rams since 2007 and the Hokies since 1995.
There will be two separate brackets for the tournament, Springfield and Naismith. USF will compete in the Springfield tournament along with Rhode Island, Temple and Virginia tech. The Naismith bracket is composed of the other four teams and will take place Dec. 3-4.
The Hall of Fame Tip-Off tournament is an annual NCAA men’s exempt tournament, meaning that teams participating in it will be allowed to play a few extra games without taking away from the total number of games that teams are allowed to play during a season.
For example, if the NCAA says that teams are only allowed to play a 27-game regular season, and they play in a four-game exemption tournament, programs will be able to play 31 games without penalty. It was recently reported that the NCAA will allow teams to participate in two multi-team events if they don’t exceed the 27-game maximum.
When it comes to COVID-19, those running the tournament are confident that the safeguards that they have put in place will make for a safe environment for all those participating.
“The Hall of Fame Tip-Off Tournament has been held at Mohegan Sun Arena for many years with great success,” John L. Doleva, President and CEO of the Basketball Hall of Fame, said in a statement. “COVID-19 and the uncharted college basketball restart has undoubtedly brought many challenges, but we’re proud to have a partner and venue that provides us the opportunity to host this annual event under a new set of safety protocols. We look forward to hosting this year’s field of teams in a bubble-like atmosphere at beautiful Mohegan Sun.”