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March 31, 2009Kansas State was one of seven teams selected to participate in the third annual O'Reilly Auto Parts Puerto Rico Tip-Off in an announcement by ESPN Regional Television, Inc. and event organizers on Tuesday.
The event, which annual pits the best in men's college basketball, will take place on Nov. 19-22 at the Coliseo de Puerto Rico in the cosmopolitan Hato Rey district of San Juan. The star-studded field includes UAB (22-12), Dayton (27-8), George Mason (22-11), Georgia Tech (12-19), Indiana (6-25) and 2009 Final Four participant Villanova (30-7). The eighth team will be announced at a later date.
Five of the seven teams in the tournament reached the postseason and recorded 20-win seasons in 2008-09. Villanova and Dayton played in the NCAA Tournament, with the Flyers advancing to the second round. The Wildcats, who are in the Final Four for the first time since 1985, will face North Carolina in the national semifinals on Saturday, April 4 in Detroit. Like Kansas State, UAB and George Mason played in the National Invitational Tournament.
The bracket-format tournament will feature 12 games in three days. Each team will compete in one game per day, advancing through a bracket-tournament format. The two teams that remain undefeated throughout will face off in the championship game on Sunday, Nov. 22.
Kansas State has never played on the island of Puerto Rico. However, it will be a homecoming for two Wildcat players, as rising seniors Denis Clemente (Bayamon) and Luis Colon (Carolina) are both natives of Puerto Rico. Clemente, the 2009 Phillips 66 Big 12 Newcomer of the Year and a second team All-Big 12 selection, led the squad in six categories, including scoring (15.0 ppg.) and assists (3.3 apg.). Colon, one of only two players to start all 34 games in 2008-09, posted career highs for both points (4.4 ppg.) and rebounds (4.7 rpg.) as a junior.
K-State will return four starters and 10 lettermen from a squad that produced a 22-12 overall record and finished in a tie for fourth place in the Big 12 in 2008-09. The Wildcats advanced to the second round of the NIT, where they lost to top-seeded San Diego State.
In 2007, Miami won the inaugural O'Reilly Auto Parts Puerto Rico Tip-Off, while Xavier took home the second annual event in November with a 63-58 victory over Memphis
Additional information, including travel packages, can be found on the O'Reilly Auto Parts Puerto Rico Tip-Off website at www.PuertoRicoTipoff.com.
The balance of Kansas State's schedule will be released at a later date.