Vols to play in prestigious Old Spice Classic in November

ESPN Regional Television, Inc. (ERT), a subsidiary of ESPN, announced today the field for the 2008 Old Spice Classic, to be held on Thanksgiving weekend at the Milk House at Disney’s Wide World of Sports® Complex near Orlando, Fla.

The field for the third annual Old Spice Classic is loaded with current and traditional college basketball powerhouses. The teams will include Georgetown, Gonzaga, Maryland, Michigan State, Oklahoma State, Siena, Tennessee and Wichita State.

Seven of those eight teams qualified for postseason play in 2007-08, including five in the NCAA Tournament and two in the Sweet 16. Michigan State and Tennessee advanced to the Sweet 16, Siena and Georgetown advanced to the second round and Gonzaga also made the NCAA Tournament. Maryland and Oklahoma State played in the National Invitational Tournament (NIT).

During this decade, half of the 2008 Old Spice Classic field has reached the NCAA Final Four. Michigan State won the national championship in 1999-2000, and Maryland claimed the title in 2001-02. The other recent Final Four teams are Oklahoma State (2003-04) and Georgetown (2006-07).

The Old Spice Classic will feature 12 games in three days. Sponsors include Old Spice, ESPNU and Disney’s Wide World of Sports.

"This year’s event certainly captures the very best of college basketball,” said Pete Derzis, senior vice president and general manager of ESPN Regional Television. “To host this caliber of teams at a location like Disney World is a terrific combination.

“We at ESPN are certainly pleased with the tradition we have built here at the Wide World of Sports with our partners the MAAC and Disney. The previous two events have been fantastic and we feel this year’s installment is another giant step in right direction."

Each team will compete in one game per day, advancing through a bracket-tournament format. The two teams that remain undefeated throughout will face off in a championship match at 6:30 p.m. ET Sunday, Nov. 30.

The Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference (MAAC) is serving as the event’s sponsoring conference for the third straight year. MAAC teams have gone 3-3 in the first two years, and this year’s entrant is Siena, which returns all five starters from a team that went 23-11 and upset Vanderbilt in the first round of the NCAA Tournament.

“The Old Spice Classic has become the premier exempt event in the east over the last two years,” said Richard Ensor, event host and Commissioner of the MAAC. “Arguably, the 2008 field is the toughest of any eight-team event being hosted this coming season. Siena will represent the MAAC well in Orlando this coming November. The MAAC remains excited to be partnered with ESPN and Walt Disney World and looks forward to hosting a great event at Thanksgiving.”

The tournament is a weekend-long affair at the Walt Disney World Resort and participating teams are invited to the Walt Disney World Resort Theme Parks and other event functions.

“The quality and depth of the Old Spice Classic field continues to get better and better each year, and this year includes some of the NCAA’s most respected programs,” said Mike Millay, Director of Sports Programs and Events for Disney’s Wide World of Sports. “Having such a stellar field competing at the No. 1 family vacation destination in the world makes this event the most attractive preseason tournament in men’s college basketball.”

Last year, North Carolina State edged Villanova in the championship game of the Old Spice Classic at the Milk House. Of the 12 games played, 10 were decided by 10 or fewer points.

The inaugural Old Spice Classic was played in 2006, with Arkansas defeating West Virginia for the championship.

Additional information, including travel packages, can be found on the Old Spice Classic Web site at www.oldspiceclassic.com. For more information on Disney’s Wide World of Sports, visit www.disneysports.com.

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