(Dartmouth, MA) – The New England Division III collegiate basketball season will kick off this weekend with a newly rechristened season-opening basketball tournament – the UMass Dartmouth Basketball Classic. Sponsored by Lafrance Hospitality, the tournament continues the 14-year history of the Hampton Inn sponsoring the men's teams in tournament play, while 2012 debuts the Fairfield inn and Suites of New Bedford as the sponsor for the women's teams.
Together, four men's teams and four women's teams, including the hosts from UMass Dartmouth, will combine for an exciting two-day event featuring eight games at the Tripp Athletic Center, beginning Friday afternoon November 16 and concluding the following afternoon and evening.
Trinity College, Worcester State and Wheaton College join the Corsair men in the two-day season-opening tournament, while Southern Maine, UMaine Farmington and Rivier University round out the women's field along with the Corsairs. The men's tournament will be a tournament format with the winners of Friday night's games facing each other in Saturday's championship game at either 4 or 6 pm. The two losing men's teams will play in the consolation round game at either 4 or 6. UMass Dartmouth will play the 6 p.m. game Saturday.
On the women's side the event will follow a classic format with predetermined games for both days. Since UMass Dartmouth and Southern Maine are both members of the Little East Conference and will face each other at least twice during the regular season, this format allow for both teams to face different opponents to open the season.
"The UMass Dartmouth Athletic Department is very grateful to the Hampton Inn and Lafrance Hospitality for their 14 years of supporting college basketball tournaments on our campus," said UMass Dartmouth Athletic Director Ian Day. "Lafrance Hospitality along with support from the Hampton Inn and our newest sponsor Fairfield Inn & Suites allows us to support us to bring six quality Division III college basketball teams from throughout New England to our campus to kick off the 2012-13 collegiate basketball season for both our men's and our women's teams.
The tournament will open on Friday afternoon Nov. 16 with a pair of women's games featuring UMass Dartmouth and Rivier University at 1 pm, while Southern Maine and UMaine Farmington will follow at 3 pm. In the nightcap, Trinity College kicks off the men's tournament with Worcester State at 5:30 pm. The Corsair men will take on Wheaton College in the final game of the day at 7:30 pm.
On Saturday afternoon, the UMass Dartmouth women will open the day's action playing at 12 noon against UMaine Farmington. Southern Maine will wrap up the women's event against Rivier University at 2 pm. In the men's tournament, the two losing teams from Friday night will play in the consolation round game with the two winners facing off for the men's championship game. Start time for the men's games on Saturday will be determined by Friday's outcomes. Regardless of what happens on Friday night, UMass Dartmouth will play in the second game on Saturday at 6 pm.
"It's always a pleasure to work with the Athletic Department at UMass Dartmouth, especially on the 14th anniversary of Lafrance Hospitality's corporate sponsorship of college basketball in our region. We love hosting the teams and wish everyone the best of luck," said Merideth Millner, Marketing Director for Lafrance Hospitality. "We always look forward to the arrival of the athletes for the tournament and it will be even more exciting with the men's teams staying at the Hampton Inn in Westport and the women at the Fairfield Inn & Suites in New Bedford."
Following both tournaments, a UMass Dartmouth Basketball Classic All-Tournament Team will be presented along with the tournament Most Valuable Player Award. Championship and runner-up trophies will also be presented to the men's teams.