- ESPN has announced the bracket for the 11th annual Puerto Rico Tip-Off, Nov. 16, 17 and 19 at Coliseo Municipal Tomás Dones in Fajardo. As part of their travel down to the Tip-Off, the Western Michigan men's basketball team will stop and play at 2017 Final Four participant South Carolina in a non-bracketed game on Nov. 13.
South Carolina will also be in the Puerto Rico Tip-Off field and will start on the same half of the bracket as Illinois State, Boise State and UTEP. Western Michigan opens its bracket play against Tulsa on Nov. 16 at 8 p.m. ET and will go on to face either Iowa State or Appalachian State the next day.
Overall, the bracket-format tournament features 12 games over three days. The teams compete once per day, advancing with a victory. The two teams that remain undefeated will face off in the championship game on Nov. 19. All games will be broadcast on either ESPN2, ESPNU, ESPNEWS or ESPN3.
"We are excited for another ESPN Tournament, as we have had a great relationship with ESPN," said WMU head coach Steve Hawkins
. "We are still the only Division I school to play in every ESPN-owned tournament. This year's Puerto Rico field is loaded and will present us an early challenge consistent with my philosophy of playing a difficult, but balanced, non-conference schedule to prepare us for Mid-American Conference play."
South Carolina and Iowa State both competed in the NCAA Men's Basketball Championship, where the Gamecocks reached the Final Four before losing to Gonzaga 77-73 in the semifinals. After capturing the Big 12 post-season title, Iowa State defeated Nevada in the first round of the championship, and fell to Purdue in the second round. Both Boise State and Illinois State advanced to the second round of the NIT. WMU finished its season winning 10 of its last 12 games, including nine in a row for the second longest MAC winning streak in school history. The Broncos also captured a piece of the MAC West Division crown.
Western Michigan is the only Division I program to participate in all five of the ESPN owned college basketball tournaments, traveling to Anaheim, Charleston, Orlando, Puerto Rico and Hawaii under Coach Hawkins. The Broncos played against No. 3 ranked Villanova, UTEP and Boise State last year in the Charleston Classic. The Broncos previously played in the Puerto Rico Tip-Off in 2011.
2017 Puerto-Rico Tip-Off Schedule
Thursday, November 16 at Tomás Dones Coliseum in Fajardo
• Game 1 - Illinois State vs. South Carolina, 12:30 p.m. (11:30 a.m. ET, 10:30 a.m. CT, 9:30 a.m. MT), ESPN2
• Game 2 - Boise State vs. UTEP, 3 p.m. (2 p.m. ET, 1 p.m. CT, 12 p.m. MT), ESPNU
• Game 3 - Iowa State vs. Appalachian State, 6:30 p.m. (5:30 p.m. ET, 4:30 p.m. CT, 3:30 p.m. MT), ESPNU
• Game 4 - Tulsa vs. Western Michigan, 9 p.m. (8 p.m. ET, 7 p.m. CT, 6 p.m. MT), ESPNEWS
Friday, November 17 at Tomás Dones Coliseum in Fajardo
• Game 5 - Illinois State/South Carolina loser vs. Boise State/UTEP loser, 11:30 p.m. (10:30 a.m. ET, 9:30 a.m. CT, 9:30 a.m. MT), ESPNU
• Game 6 - Illinois State/South Carolina winner vs. Boise State/UTEP winner, 2 p.m. (1 p.m. ET, 12 p.m. CT, 11 a.m. MT), ESPN2
• Game 7 - Iowa State/Appalachian State loser vs. Tulsa/Western Michigan loser, 6 p.m. (5 p.m. ET, 4 p.m. CT, 3 p.m. MT), ESPNU
• Game 8 - Iowa State/Appalachian State winner vs. Tulsa/Western Michigan winner 8 p.m. (7 p.m. ET, 6 p.m. CT, 5 p.m. MT), ESPNU
Sunday, November 19 at Tomás Dones Coliseum in Fajardo
• Game 9 - Game 5 and Game 7 losers, 12:30 p.m. (11:30 a.m. ET, 10:30 a.m. CT, 9:30 a.m. MT), ESPN3
• Game 10 - Game 5 and Game 7 winners, 3 p.m. (2 p.m. ET, 1 p.m. CT, 12 p.m. MT), ESPNU
• Game 11 - Game 6 and Game 8 losers, 6 p.m. (5 p.m. ET, 4 p.m. CT, 3 p.m. MT), ESPNU
• Game 12, Championship - Game 6 and Game 8 winners, 8:30 p.m. (7:30 p.m. ET, 6:30 p.m. CT, 5:30 p.m. MT), ESPN2
Non-bracketed games - Bridgewater at Appalachian State, November 12; Western Michigan at South Carolina, November 13.
In addition to tickets, travel packages and discounted hotel accommodations are also available to fans through Anthony Travel, the official travel provider of the Puerto Rico Tip-Off. Packages include hotel accommodations, game-day transportation, an all-session pass to the games and access to an exclusive banquet reception with the players and coaches (limited availability). For more information or to book your travel to the tournament, please visit www.anthonytravel.com/espn/puerto-rico-tipoff or call (888) 632-6951.
Puerto Rico, a family-friendly tournament and resort destination, hosts the teams to three days of games, practices and immersion in Puerto Rican culture. For additional information, please visit www.puertoricotipoff.com.