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Louisville, North Carolina to play at Mohegan Sun this weekend

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Big-time college basketball is coming to Connecticut this weekend, and guess what? UConn isn't involved. The 2013 Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame Tip-Off Tournament will take place on Saturday and Sunday at the Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville. Among the teams participating in this year's tournament are defending national champion Louisville, ranked No. 2 in the most recent ESPN/USA Today poll, and perennial national power North Carolina, currently one spot behind UConn at No. 19.

Springfield—home of the Naismith Hall of Fame museum and recognized as the birthplace of the sport truly born and bred in America—will serve as a second site for the tournament. But there's no question—the Mohegan Sun got the best of the deal. The Springfield games will be played at the MassMutual Center.

“Once again this year’s Tip-Off Tournament showcases some of the nation’s best college basketball programs,” said John L. Doleva, President and CEO of the Basketball Hall of Fame. “We are excited to host the tournament again at the Mohegan Sun, and we are looking forward to seeing the great match-ups in November.”

While this is true, those “best” teams will be in Connecticut.

At the Mohegan Sun, host site of the Naismith Bracket, University of Richmond will take on North Carolina at noon, That game will be followed by Fairfield playing the national champs. Both games will be streamed on Watch ESPN.

“We are happy to play in a prestigious tournament like the Hall of Fame Tip Off,” says Fairfield head coach Sydney Johnson. “Our current players, recruits and coaches are excited to continue playing a challenging non-conference schedule every season. We are proud to a be part of this tournament and welcome the opportunity to compete against some of the top teams in the nation.”

Fairfield's conference—the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference (MAAC)—will once again serve as the host conference for the annual event. In addition, the MAAC will host the men’s and women’s basketball championships at the MassMutual Center this March, and has developed a strong partnership with the Basketball Hall of Fame—including the opening of a MAAC exhibit in the Hall of Fame museum.

Saturday's winners will advance to the championship game on Sunday. Tip-off is slated for 1 p.m., and that game will be televised nationally on ESPN. It will be followed by a consolation game played between Saturday's losing teams. That game will be streamed on Watch ESPN.

The Springfield bracket—which consists of Belmont University, Hofstra University Holy Cross, and the University of Hartford—will play its preliminary rounds starting at 5:30 p.m. On Saturday, and its consolation and finals on Sunday at 6 p.m. and 8 p.m. respectively. For a complete schedule, click HERE.

Preliminary play to determine seeding took place on campus sites between Nov. 11 and Nov. 20.

“We are excited to play in this impressive tournament which features such a highly competitive field,” said Louisville head coach Rick Pitino—the only coach in NCAA history to lead three schools into the Final Four (Providence, Kentucky, Louisville). “I’m sure that this prestigious event, which brings attention to our sport’s history and iconic figures, will give our team a significant early test against quality competition.”

Pitino, a Hall of Famer, has also coached the New York Knicks and Boston Celtics in the NBA.

“We are excited to be playing in the tournament as it allows us to play four games, including two here in Chapel Hill and two more in Connecticut,” added Roy Williams, also a Hall of Famer, who took Kansas to the national championship game in 2003 before before leaving that post to take the job at North Carolina, his alma mater, which he to two national titles.”

Tickets for all sessions are available by clicking HERE.

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