The Diamond Head Classic announced on Friday afternoon that the Akron Zips would be the eighth and final team in the 2013 field. Akron joins Boise State, George Mason, Iowa State, Oregon State, Saint Mary’s and South Carolina in the field.
Keith Dambrot’s Zips won 26 games and reached the NCAA tournament for the second time in the last three seasons in 2012-13, managing to do so despite the late-season loss of point guard Alex Abreu.
Heading into the 2013-14 season Akron will need to account for the graduation of center Zeke Marshall, but with key contributors such as Nick Harney and Demetrius Treadwell returning the Zips should not be ruled out in the MAC.
“We are very excited to be invited by ESPN to play in one of its tournaments for a second-consecutive season,” Dambrot said in a release from the school. “The Diamond Head Classic is a great tournament and once again consists of a very strong field.
“Like the Puerto Rico Tip-Off last season, playing in the Diamond Head Classic will allow our fans to travel to a beautiful location and see the Zips play against high-quality competition.”
Akron, Boise State, Iowa State and Saint Mary’s all reached the 2013 NCAA tournament, and with the exception of the Broncos each team has key departures to account for entering the 2013-14 season.
As for the teams in the event who did not reach the Big Dance last season South Carolina will have a much different look due to the arrival of eight newcomers including highly-touted wing Sindarius Thornwell. George Mason reached the championship series of the CBI, losing to Santa Clara, while Oregon State failed to qualify for postseason play.
Raphielle can be followed on Twitter at @raphiellej.