Monarchs Open South Padre Tournament Against Missouri

November 25, 2009
By ODU Athletics
ODU Sports

Nov. 25, 2009

Game Notes 

The ODU Monarchs (4-0) travel to South Padre Island, TX. to play Missouri Friday at 8:30 p.m.(ET) in the South Padre Island Invitational. The Monarchs will either play Richmond or Mississippi State Saturday.

ODU (seven votes) is receiving just one less vote in the Associated Press Top 25 poll than the Tigers (eight votes).

Game times and pairings have been announced for the Seventh Annual South Padre Island Invitational Basketball Tournament, scheduled for Nov. 27 and 28 at the Convention Centre.

On Friday, Nov. 27, the first game starts at noon featuring Longwood College of Virginia vs. Bethune-Cookman. The next game, at 3:30 p.m., features the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga vs. hometown favorite University of Texas-Pan American.

The Broncs enter the 2009-10 season with high hopes under new head coach Ryan Marks, who joins UTPA after five record-setting years at St. Edwards University in Austin. Marks compiled a 91-54 won-loss record at St. Ed's, including three appearances in the NCAA Division II Tournament. His four straight winning seasons were the first time for the school in 50 years.

In the third game, at 6 p.m., it will be Mississippi State of the Southeastern Conference vs. the University of Richmond from the Atlantic 10. In Friday's nightcap at 8:30 p.m., the University of Missouri of the Big 12 Conference will tangle with dangerous Old Dominion University of the Colonial Athletic Conference. Some experts have picked ODU to be this year's surprise team nationally.

There are four more games on Saturday, Nov. 28 at 12:30 a.m., 3 p.m., 5:30 p.m. and 8 p.m. Saturday's final two games promise to be fast and exciting. The loser of Miss State and Richmond plays the loser of Missouri and ODU at 4:30 p.m. for third place, with the two winners playing at 8 p.m. for the Invitational Championship.

The team that wins this year's title will be following in some very prestigious footsteps. Previous tournament winners include Illinois of the Big 10 (last year and 2005), Vanderbilt of the SEC (2007), Oklahoma State of the Big 12 (2006), and SMU (2004) and Tulsa (2003) of Conference USA.

Due to the high quality of teams each year, the SPI Invitational is regarded as one of the nation's premier early season Division I tournaments. This year's event also features numerous marquee players: center Jarvis Varnado and guard Dee Bost of Mississippi State, guard J.T. Tiller of Mizzou, guards Kevin Anderson and David Gonzalvez of Richmond, forwards Gerald Lee and Frank Hassell of Old Dominion, guard C.J. Reed of Bethune-Cookman, and guard Keegan Bell of Chattanooga. Guard Nick Weiermiller returns for his senior season to lead UTPA under new coach Marks.

Tournament tickets are priced at $55 for all eight games and represent one of the best deals in college basketball. Children under 12 are admitted free with a paying adult. Tickets are available by calling the SPI Convention Centre at 1-888-774-8587, or online at