UAA Athletics

Division I men’s basketball to return to Anchorage — for one game

Division I college basketball will return to Anchorage in November.

For one day, at least.

The eighth annual Armed Forces Classic is coming to town for a Nov. 9 doubleheader that will include the Washington Huskies, the Baylor Bears, UAA and the Coast Guard Academy.

The Classic, owned and operated by ESPN, started in 2012 with a game between UConn and Michigan State at Ramstein Air Base in Germany. The game was played inside a C-5 transport airplane hangar.

Since then, the Classic has brought men’s college basketball games to U.S. military bases around the world — among them, Camp Humphreys in South Korea, Air Station Borinquen in Puerto Rico and Marine Corps Base Smedley D. Butler in Okinawa, Japan.

The 2019 Classic will be hosted by the Air Force. According to an ESPN Events press release, games will be played at JBER, marking the third time a base in the United States has hosted the games. The 2016 event was in Hawaii near Pearl Harbor, and the 2018 event was at Fort Bliss, Texas.

One game of the doubleheader will pit Washington of the Pac-12 against Baylor of the Big 12. The Huskies are 24-7 and the top seed in this week’s Pac-12 tournament, and Baylor is 19-12. It’ll be the first Division I basketball game in Anchorage since the final Great Alaska Shootout was played in 2017.

The other will match the Division II Seawolves against the Coast Guard Academy, a Division III program in New London, Connecticut. The Bears are 16-8 this season; UAA finished the season with a 14-14 record.

UAA will be the first Division II team and the Coast Guard Academy will be the first military team to participate in the Classic.

The 2020 event will be held at Camp Lejeune in North Carolina, according to the ESPN press release.

More details about the Anchorage event are expected to be announced next week.