ORLANDO – The University of Dayton will join five other teams who reached the postseason last year in the eight-team field for the 2021 ESPN Events Invitational, it was announced today.
The ESPN Events Invitational will be held Thursday, Nov. 25 through Sunday, Nov. 28 at HP Field House at ESPN Wide World of Sports near Orlando, Fla. The Flyers join Alabama, Belmont, Drake, Iona, Kansas, Miami (Fla.) and North Texas in the field.
The tournament has a new name and logo for its 14th year, and was formerly known as the Orlando Invitational. ESPN Events owns and operates a portfolio of more than 30 collegiate sports events, including 11 college basketball events.
This will be UD’s third trip to the Orlando event (2011 and 2015). Dayton won the championship in 2011, and is one of two former champions in this year’s field. Kansas won it in 2014. As it turns out, the Flyers and Jayhawks met in the championship game of the 2019 Maui Jim Maui Invitational -the last exempt tournament Dayton played in.
The ESPN Events Invitational will mark the 14th consecutive exempt tournament in a full season schedule for UD, giving the Flyers another opportunity to enhance their non-conference schedule and increase national attention to the University.
Maryland won the most recent invitational in 2019. Previous winners include Villanova in 2018, West Virginia in 2017, Gonzaga in 2016, 2012 and 2008, Xavier in 2015, Kansas in 2014, Memphis in 2013, Dayton in 2011, Notre Dame in 2010, Florida State in 2009, NC State in 2007 and Arkansas in 2006.
Dayton was 14-10 in 2020-21, reaching the NIT. UD has qualified for the postseason in the last three seasons since Anthony Grant took over as coach at his alma mater in 2017. The Flyers reached the NIT in 2019, were granted the A-10’s automatic qualifier to the NCAA tournament when the A-10 championship was cancelled last year, and the NIT in 2021. UD has also reached post-season play six of the last seven years.
The Flyers return eight letterwinners, and add three immediately-eligible Division I transfers and a nationally-ranked recruiting class for the 2021-22 season.