BERKELEY – For the third-straight year, California and Syracuse will clash on the basketball court.
After facing off in the third round of the NCAA Tournament in San Jose, Calif. in March of 2013 and in the semifinal round of the Maui Invitational in Maui, Hawaii in November of 2013, the Golden Bears and Orange will meet in the Championship Round of the 20th annual 2K Classic benefiting Wounded Warrior Project at Madison Square Garden in New York, N.Y. this November. The contest will be the nightcap of an exciting doubleheader on Thursday, Nov. 20 in the ‘World’s Most Famous Arena’ in New York City. The first game features Iowa and Texas at 4 p.m. (PT), with the Cal-Syracuse contest following the conclusion of that game.
Both games will air in front of a nationally-televised audience on ESPN2.
The winners of Thursday’s Cal-Syracuse and Iowa-Texas games will meet in the tournament’s championship game on Friday, Nov. 21 at 4 p.m. (PT) at Madison Square Garden on ESPN2. The contest is preceded by a consolation game at 2 p.m. (PT) on either ESPN2 or ESPNU.
Tickets for Championship Round games of the 2K Classic benefiting Wounded Warrior Project at Madison Square Garden are on sale and may be purchased by calling Ticketmaster at 866-448-7849 or through Ticketmaster.com.
Syracuse has won all three previous meetings between the two teams, which also squared off in 2009.
California ushers in the Cuonzo Martin era in early November with Regional Round games in the 2K Classic benefiting Wounded Warrior Project on Nov. 14 and Nov. 16 at Haas Pavilion in Berkeley, Calif. The complete bracket and opponent information will be announced at a later date.
Martin, who led Tennessee to the Sweet 16 last season before being introduced as Cal’s head coach in April, inherits an experienced unit that includes three returning starters from last season’s 21-win team. Leading the way is senior forward David Kravish, Cal’s top returning scorer (11.4 ppg.) and rebounder (7.7 rpg.). Kravish has started Cal’s last 88 games and enters the 2014-15 season just 30 blocks shy of Cal’s all-time record of 207 and just 107 points shy of 1,000 for his career. He is joined by returning starting guards Tyrone Wallace (11.3 ppg.) and Jabari Bird (8.5 ppg.). Cal’s deep backcourt also features 2014 Pac-12 All-Freshman Team selection Jordan Mathews (8.5 ppg.).
The four teams participating in the Championship Rounds of the 2K Classic combine for 109 NCAA Tournament appearances. Syracuse returns three starters from a team that posted a 28-6 record and advanced to the third round of the NCAA Tournament last season.
Of the four teams in the Championship Round of this year’s tournament, Martin has faced only Iowa previously as a head coach when his Tennessee squad posted a 78-65 overtime victory over the Hawkeyes in the NCAA Tournament First Four last season in Dayton, Ohio.
This will be Cal’s third appearance in the 2K Classic. The Golden Bears also played Syracuse in the 2009 Championship Round of the tournament in Madison Square Garden, dropping a 95-73 decision to the Orange on Nov. 19. In the 2009 consolation game, Ohio State defeated Cal, 76-70, on Nov. 20. During the Regional Round of the 2009 tournament, California earned victories over Murray State (75-70) on Nov. 9 and Detroit (95-61) on Nov. 11 at Haas Pavilion in Berkeley, Calif. The Bears also appeared in the Regional Round of the 2004 tournament, posting a 78-61 victory over UC Riverside on Nov. 11 and dropping a 62-51 decision to Saint Mary’s on Nov. 12 at Haas Pavilion in Berkeley, Calif.
For more information on the 2K Classic benefiting Wounded Warrior Project, visit www.gazellegroup.com/events/wwp.