DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) – The University of Dayton’s third appearance in the ESPN Events Invitational will begin with a first-round game against the University of Miami on Thursday, Nov. 25. The game between the Flyers and the Hurricanes will open the tournament and will be played at 12 noon ET, and will be televised on either ESPN or ESPN2.
The winner of the invitational’s first game will play the winner between North Texas and Kansas. The other side of the bracket will open with Alabama and Iona, and Belmont facing Drake.
The tournament will continue on Nov. 26 and 27, with all of the games being played in HP Field House at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex near Orlando. Every game will be televised on ESPN, ESPN2 or ESPNU, and available online at ESPN+.
The tournament has a new name for its 14th year, and was most recently 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. Dayton won the championship in 2011 (when it was known as the Old Spice Invitational), 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.
UD also placed second in Orlando in 2015, when the event was called the AdvoCare Invitational.
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 and Miami have met eight times, with UD holding a 7-1 advantage in the series. The last meeting was on Dec. 6, 1989. The ‘Canes won that game 87-82 in Miami.
UD is one of five teams in the 2021 ESPN Events Invitational to play in the post season last year. Alabama, Drake, Iona, Kansas and North Texas State are the others.
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.