EVANSTON, Ill. - Northwestern treks to South Padre, Texas, to participate in the 2012 South Padre Invitational Nov. 23 and 24 at the South Padre Convention Center. Also in the field are Illinois State, UAB and TCU.
The complete field also includes Prairie View, Fairleigh Dickinson, Delaware State and the United States Naval Academy. Each team will play four games, the first two at campus sites and the final two rounds in South Padre. The Wildcats, Illinois State, UAB and TCU will be grouped together in South Padre regardless of the results on campus sites earlier in the week. Opening-round pairings for the games in Texas are slated to be released in July.
Northwestern returns seven letterwinners--including four starters--and a trio of redshirts from last year's team which went 19-14 overall and 8-10 in Big Ten play. The Wildcats advanced to postseason play for a school-record fourth-consecutive season a year ago before falling to Washington in the second round of the NIT. Senior guard/forward Drew Crawford headlines the list of returners for head coach Bill Carmody, who is in his 13th season at the helm in Evanston. Crawford was a third-team All-Big Ten pick last season after ranking sixth in the conference with an average of 16.1 points per game. Sophomore point guard Dave Sobolewski also returns after being selected to the Big Ten All-Freshman Team in 2012. He led the Big Ten as well as all nation's freshmen with a 2.63 assist-to-turnover ratio to go along with norms of 8.3 points and 3.7 assists per game.
NU captured an in-season tournament title a year ago, defeating LSU, Tulsa and Seton Hall to win the Charleston Classic. The Wildcats also won the Chicago Invitational Challenge in 2009.
Illinois State returns four starters and nine letterwinners from a team that finished 21-14 overall and advanced to the NIT. Down the stretch, the Redbirds suffered an overtime loss to nationally ranked Creighton in the Missouri Valley Tournament championship game, just missing the automatic NCAA tournament berth. ISU endured another overtime defeat in the second round of the NIT at Stanford, the eventual champions of the postseason event. Dan Muller will be in the first season as the head coach at his alma mater.
TCU enters a new era in 2012 that features not only a new head coach in Trent Johnson, but also a new league in the Big 12 Conference. Last year's Horned Frog squad posted an 18-15 overall record and advanced to the quarterfinals of the CBI tournament for the program's first postseason berth since 2005. Highlighting next season's roster are three Frogs who averaged at least 8.3 points per game last season. Senior guard/forward Garlon Green is the team's top returning scorer (9.9 ppg), while junior forward Amric Fields (9.6 ppg) and sophomore guard Kyan Anderson (8.3 ppg) also are back. Fields was named the Mountain West Conference Sixth Man of the Year last season, while Anderson, who is the top returning Frog in terms of assists, was the MWC Freshman of the Year. Senior forward Adrick McKinney is TCU's leading returning rebounder (3.8 rpg).
UAB welcomes back eight letterwinners and four starters off last season's squad. The Blazers finished the 2011-12 campaign with wins in eight of their final 11 contests to close the year 15-16 overall and 9-7 in league play. With its late-season surge, UAB claimed fifth place in the Conference USA regular season standings. On March 27, 2012, Jerod Haase was named the program's fifth head coach, replacing former head coach Mike Davis. Haase came to UAB after spending the past nine seasons at North Carolina as an assistant coach under Roy Williams. While there, Haase helped lead the Tar Heels to a pair of national championships. Prior to that, he was with Williams for four seasons at Kansas.
Tournament passes are limited and can be purchased through the participating schools ticket offices or through the South Padre Island Convention Center Box Office 888-774-8587 888-774-8587.