Longwood men’s basketball will headline Paradise Jam this fall

Published 10:02 am Tuesday, July 9, 2024

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The Longwood men’s basketball team is headed to the Virgin Islands this fall. The Lancers will headline this year’s Paradise Jam tournament, one of several teams from last year’s NCAA Tournament to make the field. Tournament officials announced the group on Tuesday, July 9, including start times for the opening round games. 

Longwood will tip off this year’s tournament on Friday, Nov. 22, facing off against UAB at 1:30 p.m. That’ll be followed up by Illinois State and McNeese State at 4 p.m. In the evening doubleheader, Louisiana will take on Liberty at 6:30 p.m., while George Washington and Kansas

State will tangle at 9 p.m.

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Longwood, UAB and McNeese State all made the NCAA Tournament last season, while Kansas State made it to the NIT. That means 50% of the field for this year’s Paradise Jam played in a postseason tournament last year. 

“We are thrilled to be invited to join the Paradise Jam – one of the premier non conference tournaments in the country,” said Longwood head coach Griff Aldrich. “This tournament will not only offer our guys the opportunity to compete against top tier competition but further strengthens the Longwood Basketball brand as a nationally recognized mid-major program.” 

This past year marked Longwood’s third straight winning season under Aldrich. The last time that happened was in the Ron Carr era from 1992 to 1995, when Longwood was in NCAA Division II, so it’s been a minute. Longwood’s NCAA Tournament bid this past season, which they secured after running the table in the Big South Tournament, was their second in three years. To put that in perspective, Longwood is one of just 20 mid-major schools to do that within the last five years. 

Beyond Longwood men’s basketball 

The Paradise Jam has been going on since 2001, held in St. Thomas at the Sports and Fitness Center on the campus of the University of the Virgin Islands. This year’s event will run from Nov. 22 to Nov. 25. 

“On behalf of the U.S. Virgin Islands we are proud to welcome Paradise Jam tournament back to St Thomas for the 25th edition,” shares Commissioner Joseph Boschulte of the USVI Department of Tourism. “Our islands offer a unique setting unmatched anywhere else in the world, and we invite players, coaches and fans alike to be ‘Naturally in Rhythm’ while immersing themselves in thrilling games, discovering the island’s captivating attractions, and unwinding on our pristine beaches for a rejuvenating pre-season retreat.”

The tournament will be streamed throughout the weekend on ESPN. Last season, the Lancers made a pair of appearances on ESPNU during the regular season last year on the way to the Big South Tournament title.