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Auburn, Davidson, East Carolina headline 2019 Veteran’s Classic at Naval Academy

The sixth annual Veteran’s Classic will feature a Final Four team and tough Bob McKillop-coached team.

NCAA Basketball: Final Four-Semifinals-Virginia vs Auburn Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

For one night in Annapolis in November, the Naval Academy will host three other college basketball teams for the sixth annual Veteran’s Classic.

In addition to Navy, the teams in this year’s event include a Final Four team from this past season, an A-10 power and a team Navy is used to playing in football, East Carolina of the AAC.

Auburn and Davidson will face off at 6 p.m. ET on Nov. 8, and then Navy will take on ECU at 8:30 p.m. ET. Both games will be broadcast on the CBS Sports Network.

“On the court, both Auburn and Davidson could be nationally ranked at the time of the game, and East Carolina will provide a great challenge for us as they are a program on the rise in the very competitive American Athletic Conference,” Navy head coach Ed DeChellis said in a statement. “The games always help to showcase our continuing efforts to pay tribute to our nation’s veterans.”

The Veterans Classic has typically been held around Veteran’s Day at the Naval Academy. The day before the games, each visiting team gets a chance to tour the historic campus with guides. A CBS camera crew will follow those teams around as they immerse themselves in the atmosphere in Annapolis, and CBS Sports Network will air a 30-minute long feature, “Hoops Confidential: Veteran’s Classic” chronicling those tours. This is the second year of a four-year agreement between Navy and CBS Sports to broadcast the event.

Here’s a quick look at each team...


Coach: Bruce Pearl (6th season)
18-19 finish: 30-10, SEC Champs, Final Four appearance
Leading returning scorer: Samir Doughty (Junior - 7.3 ppg)


Coach: Bob McKillop (30th season)
18-19 finish: 24-10, NIT appearance
Leading returning scorer: Kellan Grady (Junior, 17.3 ppg)

East Carolina

Coach: Joe Dooley (2nd season)
18-19 finish: 10-21
Leading returning scorer: Jayden Gardner (Sophomore, 16.3 ppg)


Coach: Ed DeChellis (9th season)
18-19 finish: 12-19, Patriot League tourney semifinals
Leading returning scorer: Cam Davis (Sophomore, 9.8 ppg)

This will mark just the second time in history that Auburn and Davidson have met on a basketball court. The first came in 1951 in Charlotte, with the Tigers winning 66-59.

Auburn’s Bruce Pearl becomes the seventh Final Four coach to appear in the Veteran’s Classic. Auburn is also the fifth SEC team to participate in the event.

“From an education standpoint, when our country was going through the situation of standing for the flag or not, it became evident to me that our student-athletes have never lived through a war,” Pearl said in a statement. “They’re too young to be involved in the draft age and really didn’t have much exposure to the services, military and some of that history. To give our guys the opportunity to play in the Veterans Classic and a chance to see first-hand our great service academies was a great opportunity.”

And on facing Davidson, who won’t be an easy out, Pearl said: “People in the world of college basketball know that you don’t schedule Bob McKillop and Davidson because he’s too good of a coach and they’re too good of a program. We built this program on the belief that we want our players to play against the best.”

Tickets for the double-header, beginning at just $15, are on sale now.