The Michigan Wolverines will be among the headliners in another big-time non-conference basketball tournament for the 2020-21 season. After reports had surfaced in early May, Michigan was officially announced for the 2020 Empire Classic in New York at Madison Square Garden on Wednesday, set for Nov. 19-20.
The field includes the Wolverines, Villanova, Baylor and North Carolina State. Pairings have not been announced as of Wednesday’s press release, but each team will play two games in New York and also host a pair of games each on campus leading up to the event.
The Wolverines were last in this event in 2016 where they walked out winners of the tournament.
Michigan and Villanova, who is currently ranked as the No. 9 team in college basketball, are no strangers to each other having met for the 2018 National Title, which was won by the Wildcats in dominant fashion. The Wolverines returned the favor a few short months later in a blowout win at Villanova during non-conference play. Villanova played in the Empire Classic in 2002 and 2012.
Baylor is currently ranked as the No. 1 team in college basketball for the second time in school history. Scott Drew and the Bears will be making their first appearance in this tournament. NC State will be making its first appearance in this tournament since the 1997 season.
The Empire Classic is an event considered to be one of college basketball’s premier non-conference tournaments and benefits the Wounded Warrior Project.
The release reads:
With the mission to honor and empower Wounded Warriors, WWP is the hand extended to encourage warriors as they adjust to their new normal and achieve new triumphs. Offering a variety of programs and services, WWP is equipped to serve warriors with every type of injury - from the physical to the invisible wounds of war.
Michigan’s non-conference slate for 2020 projects to be a fun one with a game against Kentucky in London also scheduled for December. The exact date has yet to be revealed.
The Wolverines are set to bring in a near-historic recruiting class to Ann Arbor ahead of next season and they will have multiple big stages to showcase their talent. It should be a blast ahead of the conference slate of games in 2020-21.