College basketball is best known for March Madness, which consists of conference championship tournaments and of course the 68 team National Championship Tournament. But every season needs a beginning, and in college basketball, that’s done through non-conference regular season tournaments & showcases. Temple basketball announced on Wednesday, that they will play 2019 National Champion Virginia in the inaugural Basketball Hall of Fame Shootout.
Although on the surface, these early season match-ups feel like mere exhibitions, they actually serve as a sharp tune up to prepare for the upcoming conference schedule that makes or breaks seasons. And for the Owls, they’ll have no better test, than the last team to win an NCAA Championship, the Virginia Cavaliers. It would feel odd to call Virginia the defending champs, considering the 2020 season was unfinished, but since there was no champion crowned in 2020, by default they’re still the champs. And it would be remiss to mention that Virginia had a strong outing in 2019-20 on their quest to defend the title, going 23-7 (15-5) as they were poised to be a top 3 seed in the NCAA Tournament.
The game will be apart of a triple header that will also see Virginia Tech vs Davidson & ECU vs Liberty. The Shootout event, which is taking place in Charlotte, NC is the newest in a series of Basketball Hall of Fame collegiate events. These events include: Hoophall West 2020 in Phoenix, Arizona, the Jerry Colangelo Classic 2020 also in Phoenix, and the Basketball Hall of Fame Invitational 2020 in Brooklyn. John L. Doleva, the President & CEO of the Basketball Hall of Fame, is excited at the prospect of a new Hall of Fame event, “we’re very excited to be launching a new collegiate event in North Carolina, a state known for its tremendous basketball history. Spectrum Center is a fantastic NBA venue in a terrific basketball community, and we’re excited to provide this unique opportunity to six collegiate teams and their fans this fall.”
Owls coach Aaron Mckie also gave his statement on being scheduled to play one of the nation’s top teams next season, “we look forward to taking part in the Hall of Fame Shootout this year and playing a high-level opponent in Virginia. Being part of this college basketball triple header in Charlotte is one of the highlights of our non-conference season.” The Owls finished 14-17 in the regular season under coach Mckie in his first season. The Owls were set to play SMU in the first round of the AAC Championship Tournament before the season was prematurely ended.
Of course, due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, game times, ticket information, & television broadcast details are yet to be released as of now. The Basketball Hall of Fame will continue to monitor the ongoing situation, and will provide updates as needed.