Pitt to Face Kansas State in Rocket Mortgage Fort Myers Tip-Off



Pitt Panther (Photo Credit : Vince Butts -UMT Sports ) 

Pitt to Face Kansas State in Rocket Mortgage Fort Myers Tip-Off Nov. 25Link:

Semifinal Matchups for Fort Myers Tip-Off Announced

PITTSBURGH – Pitt will face Kansas State, while Northwestern takes on Bradley, in the 2019 Rocket Mortgage by Quicken Loans Fort Myers Tip-off, as announced Wednesday by event organizer Intersport. The second-annual event will be held November 25 and 27 at Suncoast Credit Union Arena in Fort Myers, Fla.


“The Rocket Mortgage Fort Myers Tip-Off is an exciting event with a terrific field,” said head coach Jeff Capel. “Early-season tournaments with high-caliber participants provide a great opportunity to build a foundation for the season. Coach Weber has an outstanding program at Kansas State and we look forward to the challenge of competing against them as we continue to build our culture here at Pitt.”


Each semifinal matchup will feature an NCAA Tournament participant from this past March, with Bradley claiming the Missouri Valley Tournament title and K-State securing the Big 12 Championship. Additionally, Northwestern and Pitt bring back significant contributors from last season’s squads with the aim of returning to postseason play in 2020.


All four games of the Rocket Mortgage Fort Myers Tip-Off will be televised live on FS1. Game times will be announced at a later date.


Pitt and K-State have faced only once, with the Panthers defeating the Wildcats 70-47 in Maui in 2014. The reigning Big 12 Champions, K-State has put together consecutive 25-win seasons for the first time in program history, and will face a Pitt squad led by sophomore Xavier Johnson, who was named to the 2019 ACC All-Freshman Team in a conference loaded with Top 100 recruits.


Pitt returns four starters from last season, including double-figure scorers Xavier Johnson (15.5 ppg., 4.5 apg.) and Trey McGowens (11.6 ppg., 64 steals).

Johnson earned All-ACC Freshman Team honors, while setting Pitt freshman records for scoring, double-figure scoring games, games with 15 or more points scored, 20+ point scoring games, free throws made, free throw attempts and field goal attempts. He was the only player in the ACC to average at least 15.5 points and 4.5 assists per game during the 2018-19 season.

McGowens scored in double figures 17 times and set a Pitt freshman record with 33 points on 12-of-19 shooting in a Jan. 9 overtime win against Louisville. The Pendleton, S.C., native also had 30 points, while going 18-of-19 from the foul line, in a 75-62 win over then 11th-ranked Florida State Jan. 14.

The Panthers also return Au’Diese Toney (7.5 ppg., 5.6 rpg.), Terrell Brown (5.7 ppg., 4.5 rpg., 60 blocks) and Kene Chukwuka (3.9 ppg., .534 fg pct.), who each started 16 or more games last season.


Pitt’s 2019 recruiting class features grad transfer forward Eric Hamilton, sharp shooting JUCO guard Ryan Murphy, versatile wings Justin Champagnie and Gerald Drumgoole and prep standout Karim Coulibaly, who recently led Mali to a second-place finish at the FIBA U19 World Cup this summer, the country’s best ever finish in the tournament.


The Rocket Mortgage Fort Myers Tip-Off has quickly become a staple of the Southwest Florida sports calendar, and this year’s programs will only add to that excitement. Overall, the teams of the 2019 Rocket Mortgage Fort Myers Tip-Off boast a combined 111 postseason tournament appearances, including 67 NCAA Tournament bids, seven Final Four berths and 48 conference championships.


The programs are led by coaches with winning pedigrees. Pitt’s Jeff Capel (Duke), K-State’s Bruce Weber (Illinois) and Northwestern’s Collins (Duke) have all helped guide teams to National Championship games during their coaching careers, and Bradley’s Brian Wardle enters the 2019-20 campaign ranked second among Division I coaches younger than 40 with 153 career victories.


Travel packages are now available for fans looking to join their favorite team in beautiful Southwest Florida this November. Packages include tickets to each tournament game, hotel accommodations and parking at Suncoast Credit Union Arena. For complete travel package information, log on to www.fortmyerstipoff.com/travel. Ticket-only packages, based on availability, will become available in September.


To receive the latest email alerts regarding tournament news, ticket information and more, visit our website atwww.fortmyerstipoff.com/contact. Fans can also follow the tournament on Twitter at @FTMyersTipOff.


Semifinal Matchups

Pitt vs. K-State

  • Series Record: Pitt leads, 1-0
  • Last Matchup: Nov. 26, 2014 (Pitt 70, K-State 47)
  • Notable: The only prior meeting between the teams came during the 2014 Maui Invitational … K-State Coach Bruce Weber led Team USA to the FIBA U19 World Cup this summer, defeating the team from Mali, which featured Pitt freshman Karim Coulibaly, in the championship game.


Northwestern vs. Bradley

  • Series Record: Northwestern leads, 8-1
  • Last Matchup: Nov. 30, 1985 (Bradley 76, Northwestern 72)
  • Notable: This will be the first matchup in the series in nearly 34 years between the two programs, and fourth since 1938 … This will be the first neutral-site contest in the series history.


About Intersport

Since 1985, Intersport has been an award-winning innovator and leader in the creation of sports, lifestyle, culinary and entertainment-based marketing platforms. With expertise in Sponsorship Consulting, Experiential Marketing, Hospitality, Retail Engagement, Content Marketing, Productions and Property Creation, this Chicago-based Marketing & Media Solutions Company helps its clients engage consumers with compelling ideas, content and experiences.  To learn more about Intersport, visit www.intersport.global, like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter and Instagram.


About the Rocket Mortgage by Quicken Loans Fort Myers Tip-Off

Launched in 2018, the Rocket Mortgage Fort Myers Tip-Off brings the nation’s top college basketball programs together for two days of incredible competition to see which team and their fans will #OwnTheFort during Thanksgiving Week. Contested at Suncoast Credit Union Arena, the $28 million home of Florida SouthWestern State College, the four-team tournament has quickly become a staple of the Southwest Florida sports calendar. For more information on the Rocket Mortgage Fort Myers Tip-Off, please visit www.fortmyerstipoff.com.


(Story and pictures  courtesy of Pitt Athletics)