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Hall of Fame Showcase Tips Off 2009-10 College Basketball Season With Nationally Televised Doubleheader

Arkansas, Kansas, Louisville and Memphis Set to do Battle in St. Louis Tomorrow

Four of the nation’s premier programs will tip-off the 2009-10 college basketball season at the Basketball Hall of Fame Showcase in a nationally televised doubleheader on Tuesday, Nov. 17 in St. Louis. The Scottrade Center, home of the St. Louis Blues, will play host to the annual doubleheader featuring Arkansas versus Louisville and Kansas taking on Memphis. The event, managed by BEST (Blue Entertainment Sports Television), is an annual benefit for the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in Springfield, Massachusetts.


The doubleheader will be aired on the ESPN family of networks with the Louisville-Arkansas game will tip at 6:30 p.m. CT on ESPN2 followed by the Kansas-Memphis contest at 9 p.m. CT on ESPN.


In a rematch of the 2008 NCAA Championship game, Kansas will battle Memphis in what promises to be another classic tilt. Kansas, predicted by most analysts to be preseason No. 1 next season, rallied to win the 2008 crown in overtime against the Tigers in one of the most competitive championship games ever played. The Jayhawks, who have more than 6,000 alums in the St. Louis area, finished last season by winning the Big 12 regular-season title and earning a No. 3 seed in the NCAA Tournament.


Memphis finished the 2009 regular season as the No. 2-ranked team in the USA Today/ESPN Coaches Poll and received a No. 2 seed in the 2009 NCAA Tournament.  Led by then-head coach John Calipari, the Tigers became the first NCAA Division I program to win 30 games in four consecutive seasons and hold the NCAA record for most wins over a four-year span. But with Calipari now coaching at Kentucky, Josh Pastner, a former assistant for Calipari, will now make his national coaching debut against the Jayhawks.


Louisville swept the Big East regular season and tournament titles in 2009 and finished the 2008-09 regular season as the No. 1-ranked team in both the USA Today/ESPN Coaches Poll and the AP Top 25. Rick Pitino’s Cardinals also earned the No. 1 overall seed in the 2009 NCAA Tournament. Pitino will match coaching acumen with one of his former players, John Pelphrey, who will be entering his third year at the helm of the Razorbacks’ program. Pelphrey was a member of the famed “Unforgettables” team at Kentucky which lost to Duke in the classic 1992 NCAA Tournament East Regional Final.


“We are thrilled to feature four of the absolute best college basketball programs in the 2009 Basketball Hall of Fame Showcase,” said Brooks Downing, Executive Vice President, BEST Collegiate Sports. “This doubleheader has become one of the premier events in all of college basketball, and with this lineup, it will rank as the very best in the sport next season.”


The annual event was launched in Dec. 2006 in Phoenix and last year served as the first basketball event at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis. It has become an “all-star game” for college sports, as numerous Hall of Famers are in attendance each year, such as Rick Barry, Calvin Murphy, George Gervin, Meadowlark Lemon and more.


In 2007, the games were held at TD Banknorth Garden in Boston, and the Greater Boston Convention and Visitor’s Bureau estimated the event’s effect on its local economy reached nearly $10 million. As a companion to the games, there are numerous outreach activities throughout the city as well as a youth clinic, all of which feature the legendary Hall of Famers and the participating teams and coaches.


“From the level of talent on the floor to the national media exposure that follows, the Hall of Fame Showcase is a tremendous platform for our teams, our sponsors and the city of St. Louis,” said BEST Managing Director Michael Principe. “This is BEST doing what we do best; creating amazing experiences for our fans, driving enhanced value to our sponsors and creating truly memorable events at that dynamic intersection.”


Tickets are $200, $125, $75, $55, $40 and $25 and may be purchased at the Scottrade Center Box Office, all Ticketmaster Ticket Centers, by phone at 800-745-3000, or online at ticketmaster.com. For disabled seating, call 314-622-5420. A per ticket facility fee will be added to all tickets purchased at all locations, including at the Scottrade Center Box Office. Additional Ticketmaster service charges and handling fees apply to all tickets purchased through Ticketmaster outlets, by phone or online.