You know the DII men's basketball season is upon us when the Small College Basketball Hall of Fame Classic inches closer. The two-day tournament — which has begun the DII basketball season since 2016 — heads to Florida for the first time in its history. The first game tips-off at 11 a.m. ET on Nov. 5 from the campus of Florida Southern.
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Small College Basketball, headed by former DII men's basketball coach and athletic director John McCarthy, is the organization which hands out the Bevo Francis Award to the best player in small college basketball each year. Along with the Hall of Fame Classic, SCB has added the Champions Classic tournament to be played for the first time in 2022 on Nov. 18-19 at the legendary Wachs Arena at Northern State.
With the 2022 SCB Hall of Fame class set to be inducted on the evening of Friday, Nov. 4, Saturday and Sunday will see 10 teams compete at George W. Jenkins Field House at Florida Southern. The 10-game tournament features high-caliber DII men's basketball programs from all over the country, including the three-time defending national champions, Northwest Missouri State. Seven of the 10 teams participating in the 2022 tournament hosted by Florida Southern College, appeared in the 2021-22 NCAA Division II Tournament, with a pair of regional winners: Northwest Missouri State (Central) and Nova Southeastern (South).
It is the Bearcats fourth-straight trip to the tournament. They are 6-0 all-time heading into the 2022-23 rendition.
"We are so excited about the 2022 Small College Basketball Hall of Fame Classic," McCarthy said. "We've expanded to 10 teams, and we have some of the finest NCAA Division II programs in the country that will be competing in this year's event. We're excited to bring this event — along with the SCB Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony — to Lakeland. We are so grateful to the NCAA DII Conference Commissioners for providing the exemption for the SCB Hall of Fame Classic, and we're so pleased to have the support from Visit Central Florida, Polk County Tourism & Sports Marketing and Florida Southern College. It's going to be a wonderful celebration of college basketball at the small college levels."
SCB Hall of Fame Classic Schedule
The Small College Basketball Hall of Fame induction kicks off the weekend, with 12 new members joining the ranks. One of the legendary Detroit Pistons "Bad Boys" and national champion Rick Mahorn, Earl Lloyd, and iconic coaches Jim Phelan and Harry Statham highlight the 2022 class. The first night of the tournament concludes with Northwest Missouri State and West Texas A&M going head-to-head in a rematch of the 2021 national championship game.
The complete schedule and participants are listed below (all times Eastern).
Friday, Nov. 4 – Polk Theatre
3:00 p.m. – SCB HoF Classic Press Conference
6:30 p.m. – SCB HoF Inductee & Participating Team Panel Discussion
7:30 p.m. – SCB HoF Induction Ceremony
Saturday, Nov. 5 – Florida Southern College, George W. Jenkins Field House
11:00 a.m. – Hillsdale vs. DBU
1:15 p.m. – Nova Southeastern vs. Alabama-Huntsville
3:30 p.m. – Lincoln Memorial vs. Valdosta State
5:45 p.m. – Florida Southern vs. Flagler
8:00 p.m. – West Texas A&M vs. Northwest Missouri State
Sunday, Nov. 6 – Florida Southern College, George W. Jenkins Field House
11:00 a.m. – Alabama-Huntsville vs. Lincoln Memorial
1:15 p.m. – DBU vs. Nova Southeastern
3:30 p.m. – Valdosta State vs. Hillsdale
5:45 p.m. – Florida Southern vs. West Texas A&M
8:00 p.m. – Northwest Missouri State vs. Flagler
A brief history of the SCB Hall of Fame Classic
The Hall of Fame Classic's MVPs are a who's-who of DII men's basketball superstars. Trevor Hudgins, who is a three-time DII national champion, is currently on the Houston Rockets roster while Ryan Hawkins went on to stardom for the Creighton Bluejays, earning All-Big East honors after winning a pair of championships at Northwest. Last year, Elijah Jenkins set his program's single-game scoring record, pouring home 44 points in the closing game to take home the honors.
Hall of Fame Classic Most Valuable Players:
- 2016 - Jeril Taylor, Southern Indiana
- 2017 - Justin Reyes, St. Thomas Aquinas
- 2018 - Trevor Hudgins, Northwest Missouri State
- 2019 - Ryan Hawkins, Northwest Missouri State
- 2020 - Canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic
- 2021 - Elijah Jenkins, Embry-Riddle
As far as the schools, SCB does a terrific job of getting tournament and nationally ranked teams to tip things off. The field is always stacked and a strong test for many participants to start the season. Here are the teams that have participated in the Small College Basketball Hall of Fame Classic from 2016-2021 in alphabetical order:
- Alabama-Huntsville (2016, 2021)
- Augustana, SD (2017)
- Bellarmine (2016)
- Daemen (2019)
- Davenport (2019)
- Embry-Riddle (2021)
- Fairmont State (2018)
- Ferris State (2017, 2018)
- Findlay (2017)
- Florida Southern (2016)
- Kentucky Wesleyan (2016, 2017)
- Indiana (PA) (2017)
- Lincoln Memorial (2016, 2019)
- Missouri Western (2018-19, 2021)
- Montevallo (2017)
- Northern State (2018, 2021)
- Northwest Missouri State (2018-19, 2021)
- Queens (2018)
- Rockhurst (2021)
- Seattle Pacific (2021)
- Southern Indiana (2016, 2017)
- Southern Nazarene (2019)
- St. Thomas Aquinas (2017 & 2021)
- Tarleton State (2018)
- USC Aiken (2019)
- West Texas A&M (2019)
- William Jewell (2018)
For more information on ticket prices, directions, live stats and video links for game day, and team breakdowns, visit Tournament Central at the Florida Southern website.