Two area men’s college basketball teams are heading to the islands this season.
The Appalachian State men’s basketball team will be one of eight teams playing in the Puerto Rico Tip-Off in Fajardo, Puerto Rico, from Nov. 16-19 – marking the second time the Mountaineers will make a regular-season trip to Puerto Rico.
A month later, Davidson will join seven other schools in Honolulu for the Diamond Head Classic from Dec. 22-25.
The Diamond Head Classic field will feature five NCAA tournament teams from last season, and the Puerto Rico Tip-Off boasts two. One of those is Iowa State, which opens with Appalachian State on Nov. 16.
Davidson will tip off Dec. 22 against New Mexico State, another 2017 tournament team.
The Wildcats (17-15) and Mountaineers (9-21) both missed the NCAA tournament last season. Appalachian State is looking for its first winning season since 2010-11 and its first NCAA tournament appearance since 2000.
If the Mountaineers advance past Iowa State, they could face Final Four participant South Carolina.
Davidson’s biggest challengers in December are Miami, Middle Tennessee and Southern Cal, which won the inaugural Diamond Head Classic in 2009.
Davidson and Appalachian State opened the 2016-17 season at Davidson, where the Wildcats won 86-74. The teams aren’t scheduled to meet this season.
C Jackson Cowart on Twitter: @CJacksonCowart