NORMAL — Puerto Vallarta might not have worked out. Going to San Francisco during Thanksgiving break isn’t too bad of a consolation prize, though.
Illinois State basketball coach Dan Muller announced Wednesday the Redbirds will participate in the four-team University of San Francisco Golden Gate Challenge round-robin event on Nov. 27, 29 and 30 at USF’s War Memorial Gym. ISU will face the host Dons, Vermont and a team to be named later. Game times also will be announced later.
The Redbirds were slated to participate in the Hoops for Hope Classic in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico. That would have included two games at Redbird Arena and two in Puerto Vallarta. However, the promoter could not work out scheduling difficulties and ISU decided to go another way.
“After a long and frustrating process, I am thrilled about our games in San Francisco,” Muller said. “The opportunity to play three quality teams in four days will be very valuable for my team. Trips and experiences like these can help bring teams together, and we certainly hope the Battle in the Bay can do that for us.”
Vermont is coming off a 21-12 season and finished second in the America East Conference while losing in the league tournament championship game. The Catamounts played in the College Basketball Invitational and fell to Santa Clara, 77-67, in the first round.
San Francisco went 15-16 and tied for fifth in the West Coast Conference.
This will be ISU’s first trip to San Francisco in program history. The Redbirds’ only game against the Dons came in 1985 when ISU earned a 68-52 victory in the Cowboy Shootout at Laramie, Wyo.
ISU has not yet announced its complete nonconference schedule, although games are set against Virginia Commonwealth, DePaul, Northwestern, Dayton, Drexel, Oakland (Mich.) and Manhattan.
The Missouri Valley Conference schedule is expected to be released next week.
EDITOR'S NOTE: The name of the tournament has been changed from "Battle in the Bay" to "Golden Gate Challenge." This story has been edited to reflect the change.