Norfolk State, Texas Southern Headline Atlanta HBCU Basketball Tourney

Rashid Gaston and the Norfolk State Spartans will participate in the Inagural HBCU Tip-Off in Atlanta this November. (Tulsa World photo) 

Big news about an HBCU basketball tournament in Atlanta. No, not that tournament. The Inaugural HBCU Tip-Off Championship announced the eight-team field for the November tournament on Thursday, featuring four schools from NCAA Division II and Division II. The games will be played over a four day period (Nov. 8-11) at Atlanta’s Phillips Arena.

“We are very excited to announce the field of teams for the inaugural HBCU Tip-Off,” organizer Kevin Clayton told the Atlanta-Journal Constitution. “We anticipate great excitement and fierce competition.” 

Headlining the list of Division I teams is Norfolk State. The Spartans are coming off a 21-12 season, a perfect MEAC regular season and a NIT appearance. The tournament will also feature the SWAC regular season champion, Texas Southern. TSU went 17-14 last season under former Indiana head coach Mike Davis, but missed out on a chance to take home the postseason title due to academic restrictions. Also joining from the SWAC will be Arkansas-Pine Bluff, who went 16-14 in 2012. The Horizon League’s Wisconsin-Green Bay is the only non-HBCU in the field.

Both of the Division II HBCU conferences, the SIAC and the CIAA will send two schools each. Morehouse will serve as the tournament’s de facto home team. The Maroon Tigers were one of the better SIAC teams last year, going 18-7. Joining them will be Tuskegee University, last season’s SIAC West champions. The CIAA will be represented by Johnson C. Smith and three-time national champion Virginia Union.

The tournament will mark the first time that HBCU basketball teams have taken the court at Phillips Arena, home of the NBA’s Atlanta Hawks.

The Tip-Off will be more than a basketball tournament, though. Seminars on health and economic empowerment will be held as well and internships are available for students.

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