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Virginia basketball to compete in 2016 Emerald Coast Classic tournament

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Hooooos going to Niceville, Florida?!

Virginia will look to win its fourth consecutive early-season title at the Emerald Coast Classic.
Virginia will look to win its fourth consecutive early-season title at the Emerald Coast Classic.
Joshua S. Kelly-USA TODAY Sports

The Virginia Cavaliers will compete in the Emerald Coast Classic on November 25th and 26th (the Friday and Saturday after Thanksgiving) in 2016, the team announced today:

Iowa, Memphis, and Providence will join the Hoos in the early-season tournament held at Northwest Florida State College in Niceville, Florida, on the Florida panhandle. The event has been televised in the past by CBS Sports Network.

While the tournament isn't a flashy one, and the field lacks a "big-name" team, the event will likely give UVA two opportunities for top-100 (and maybe top-50) wins. And the team will probably be favored to win its fourth consecutive early-season tournament title.  Destinations are determined by the conference offices on a rotating basis.

St. Francis Brooklyn, Savannah State, and UT - Rio Grande Valley will participate in "early round"  games. The three teams (all of whom are worse than 250th in KenPom's current rankings, with the latter two in the bottom 20) will matchup in two games against the four "major" teams in the weeks before the event. A fourth such participant will be added.

The inclusion of Memphis and Virginia together in this event has already caused a stir last summer, when Memphis tried to block Austin Nichols's transfer to UVA because of a potential matchup between the teams in Florida. (That hubbub also led to the leak of next year's participants.)

Iowa State is the defending champion of the Emerald Coast Classic, winning in a 2015 field that included Illinois, Virginia Tech, and UAB.

Here's the full release from the event organizers.