FORT MYERS, Fla. – The Rocket Mortgage Fort Myers 2023 Beach Division four-team field was announced today, featuring four power conference programs that will compete for early-season bragging rights next November.
SMU, Virginia, West Virginia and Wisconsin make up the four-team Beach Division of the 2023 Rocket Mortgage Fort Myers sweepstakes, which will be held 20-22. november All games will be played at Suncoast Credit Union Arena on the campus of Florida SouthWestern State College in Fort Myers, Florida. Matches, game times and television designations will be announced at a later date.
The only way to guarantee tickets to the Tournament, which sold out last year, is to purchase the Official Fan Pack. Travel packages for the 2023 tournament will go on sale this spring, but fans can register immediately to receive information and email alerts from the tournament regarding travel package availability. For details and registration information, visit www.fortmyerstipoff.com/travel. Ticket-only packages will go on sale next fall, subject to availability.
“The four teams participating in the 2023 Rocket Mortgage Fort Myers Tip-Off are historically strong programs that reinforce the event’s premier status in the eyes of the college basketball community,” said Mark Starsiak, tournament director and vice president of Intersport. “Between national championship contenders, recent Final Four participants, veteran coaches and passionate fans, these teams will create a very special environment. We can’t wait to host these programs in Lee County and Southwest Florida.”
The four 2023 Beach Division programs have combined for 82 regular-season or tournament conference championships and 92 NCAA tournament appearances. Wisconsin and Virginia have appeared in the Final Four in the past decade, and the Cavaliers claimed the 2019 NCAA Championship.
The four head coaches who will bring their teams to Southwest Florida in 2023 boast incredible resumes that make them among the most respected and successful in college basketball. Bob Huggins, now in his 16th season as the head coach at West Virginia and 41st overall, is a newly minted Naismith Hall of Famer and ranks among the NCAA’s all-time coaches. Tony Bennett led Virginia to the 2019 national title and is in his 14th season leading the Cavaliers. Greg Gard, the reigning Big Ten Coach of the Year and a 2022 Naismith National Coach of the Year finalist, has led Wisconsin to Big Ten regular season titles in two of the past three seasons. Finally, Rob Lanier is in his first year at the helm of SMU after three years as the head coach at Georgia State and comes to Dallas with more than 30 years of college coaching experience at Tennessee, Florida, Texas and Virginia, among others.
Now in its fifth year, the Rocket Mortgage Fort Myers Tip-Off has become one of the top early season events in the country and a fixture on the Southwest Florida sports calendar. The tournament, which has hosted several Final Four-caliber programs in its first four seasons, including Gonzaga, Kansas, Auburn, Loyola (Chicago), Florida and Ohio State, will welcome four conference power programs to the Beach Division for the third year in a row ( Georgia Tech , Marquette, Mississippi State and Utah in 2022; Florida, Ohio State, Cal and Seton Hall in 2021).
The 2023 Rocket Mortgage Fort Myers Tip-Off will once again feature a second field of four Palms Division teams. The four participating programs will be announced in the coming months.
About the 2023 Rocket Mortgage Fort Myers Tip-Off Beach Division Teams:
The SMU Mustangs
- Head coach Rob Lanier is in his first year at the SMU helm
- Lanier comes to Dallas with more than 30 years of college coaching experience, including the past three years as the head coach at Georgia State
- Overall, Lanier’s teams made 12 NCAA Tournament appearances, winning five conference titles, three regular season championships and two conference tournament crowns.
- 2021-22: 24-9 overall record and 13-4 mark in conference play; was one of the top four seeds in the 2022 NIT
- Head coach Tony Bennett enters his 14th season in charge of the Cavaliers and his 17th overall; is on the verge of winning his 400th game in the 2022-23 season
- Bennett has led Virginia to 10 consecutive postseason appearances, including the 2019 national championship, five ACC regular season titles and two ACC tournament championships.
- He’s off to a 4-0 start this year and beat a pair of top 20 programs last Sunday to win his early-season tournament
- 2021-22: 21-14 overall record and 12-8 mark in conference play, reached third round of NIT
West Virginia Mountaineers
- Head Coach Bob Hugginsentering his 16th season leading the Mountaineers and 41st overall, was inducted into the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame as part of the Class of 2022
- Huggins recently moved into third place on the Division I all-time coaching wins list, recently tying Jim Calhoun with 920 career victories; is second all-time among active Division I coaches
- The Mountaineers have made 10 NCAA Tournament appearances since Huggins’ arrival in 2007-08.
- 2021-22: 16-17 overall record and 4-14 mark in conference play
- Head coach Greg Gard, the reigning Big Ten Coach of the Year and Naismith National Coach of the Year finalist, enters his eighth season at the helm of the Badgers
- Gard has led the Badgers to Big Ten regular season titles in two of the past three seasons
- Since Gard took over the program in 2015, the Badgers have made five NCAA Tournament appearances, missing the postseason just once (not including the canceled 2020 postseason).
- 2021-22: 25-8 overall record and 15-5 mark in conference play; Big Ten Champions; reached the second round of the NCAA Tournament
About the Fort Myers tip
The Fort Myers Tip-Off, the annual celebration of men’s and women’s college basketball, welcomes the top 12 programs from across the country for six days of incredible competition to see which teams and their fans will #OwnTheFort during Thanksgiving week. Competed at Suncoast Credit Union Arena, home of Florida SouthWestern State College, the Fort Myers Tip-Off has quickly become a staple of the Southwest Florida sports calendar. For more information and updates on participating teams, follow us on Twitter and Instagram or visit www.fortmyerstipoff.com or www.womensfortmyerstipoff.com.
Since 1985, Intersport has been an award-winning innovator and leader in creating marketing platforms based on sports, lifestyle, culinary and entertainment. With expertise in sponsorship consulting, experiential marketing, hospitality, customer engagement, content marketing, production and sports real estate, this Chicago-based marketing and media solutions company helps clients create ideas, content and experiences that attract and engage passionate audience. To learn more about Intersport, visit www.intersport.global, like us on Facebook or follow us Twitter and Instagram.