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Eagles To Play in 2020 Empire Classic Tournament

This week, the Boston College Men’s Basketball team accepted an invitation to join the 2020 Empire Classic at the Mohegan Sun Arena in Connecticut, according to CBS Sports’ Jon Rothstein. They will be replacing NC State in the final spot.

The tournament will take place on November 25th and 26th, and will feature the Arizona State Sun Devils, the Baylor Bears, and the Villanova Wildcats. 

The Eagles were previously scheduled to play in the Junkanoo Jam Tournament in Bimini in the Bahamas from November 17th - November 21st against BYU, George Mason, and Tulsa.

While the destination and name of the Empire Classic do not rival that of the Junkanoo Jam Tournament, the Eagles will be playing against the absolute best of College Basketball in this new tournament. 

According to Yahoo Sports, the Villanova Wildcats are ranked preseason No. 1 in all of college basketball, retaining a majority of their players back from last season. Saddiq Bey was the only player to leave, declaring for the draft after the season.

The Wildcats feature a star-studded group, including returning point-guard and potential Player of the Year, Collin Gillespie, rebounding machine Jeremiah Robinson-Earl, and two highly skilled guards, Justin Moore and Bryan Antoine.

If you thought playing against Villanova was bad, well the Eagles will face off against another behemoth, Baylor. Yahoo Sports has ranked them preseason No. 2. Yikes.

Baylor was one of the best teams in the shortened college basketball season last year with a record of 26-4 in a tough Big 12 Conference. Baylor is also returning with some impressive talent, including Jared Butler who led the team in scoring last season, elite playmakers MaCio Teague and Davion Mitchell, and a stable bench. 

Arizona State, while not as impressive as the other two teams, is still a formidable opponent. It is coming in as a top-25 team after some incredible recruiting from its head coach Bobby Hurley.

The Sun Devils feature some blue-chip prospects on their roster including Marcus Bagley and Josh Christopher, the No. 12 overall prospect in the class of 2020. Also returning is Remy Martin, who, like Gillespie, is another candidate for the prestigious Player of the Year award.

Over the summer, we took a look back at the Eagle’s projected starting lineup and depth chart, which can be viewed here

Bottom line, the Eagles will be thrown into the fire right away, as this tournament will open out BC’s 2020-2021 season, should it occur on schedule. 

To be placed in a tournament of this caliber says a lot about the work Jim Christian is trying to do in what could be his last season on the Heights. If the Eagles somehow make it out victorious in this tournament, then there might be some cause to keep him around in the future.

As for the rest of the schedule, it is still to be determined. 

The Eagles will likely play a 25 game season with 20 ACC games and five out of conference games. In addition to the two games played in the Empire Classic, the Eagles will have to schedule three more non-conference games.

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Matt DeMerlis