GREENVILLE, N.C. – East Carolina will open its 2020-21 season against Indiana State on Nov. 25 in the first round of the eighth-annual Gulf Coast Showcase at Hertz Arena in Fort Myers, Fla., as a part of bdG Sports’ #BeachBubble tournament officials announced Wednesday. It’ll be the first matchup between the Pirates and Sycamores since 1978 and just second overall.
After opening against the Sycamores, ECU will face either Austin Peay or Omaha on Thanksgiving Day before closing out the tournament against one of the other four teams on the opposite side of the bracket: Abilene Christian, Akron, ETSU and Middle Tennessee State.
The first round game between Pirates and Sycamores will tip-off Wednesday night at 8 p.m. Semifinal games will be played at 5 p.m. and 8 p.m. on Thanksgiving night and Friday’s championship game will tip at 8 p.m. All 12 games will be streamed live and available on-demand on FloHoops.com.
“We have built [the tournament] with the health and safety of our teams first and foremost in mind,” said Brooks Downing, President of bdG Sports. “We have instituted a comprehensive safety plan with the focus on our three pillars of the host resort, game venue and ground transportation. Our partners at Hertz Arena, FGCU, Hyatt Regency Coconut Point, Naples Tours and Transportation, Summit One Source, which provides our testing, and Loop Insights, which provides contact tracing, have all bought in from day one how important it is that we do this right and, in a manner, which protects the players and coaches as best we can.”
ETSU, the defending champions of the Southern Conference, was one of only four teams in the country with 30 wins despite the season being cut short due to the pandemic. Akron won the Mid-American Conference regular season title while Abilene Christian (Southland), Austin Peay (OVC) and Indiana State (Missouri Valley) all finished in the top-four of their respective regular-season league standings.
The Pirates finished fifth at the Gulf Coast Showcase in 2014.
There will be no general fan access for the Gulf Coast Showcase games and tickets will not be available to the general public. A limited number of “Spectator Credentials” will be supplied to each team. A requirement to receiving these team-issued credentials, all individuals will receive a COVID-19 rapid antigen test at the event’s medical center at Hyatt Regency Coconut Point.
Complete #BeachBubble event information can be found at www.GulfCoastShowcase.com and on social media at @GCShowcase.
Wednesday, Nov. 25
11 a.m. – ETSU vs. Abilene Christian
2 p.m. – Akron vs. Middle Tennessee State
5 p.m. – Austin Peay vs. Omaha
8 p.m. – Indiana State vs. East Carolina
Thursday, Nov. 26 (Thanksgiving Day)
11 a.m. – Consolation Semifinal No. 1
2 p.m. – Consolation Semifinal No. 2
5 p.m. – Semifinal No. 1
8 p.m. – Semifinal No. 2
Friday, Nov. 27
11 a.m. – Seventh-Place Game
2 p.m. – Fifth-Place Game
5 p.m. – Third-Place Game
8 p.m. – Championship Game