The four-team Beach Division field of the 2023 Rocket Mortgage Fort Myers Tip-Off was announced Wednesday, with SMU, Virginia, West Virginia and Wisconsin forming the bracket.
Next year’s event returns to the Suncoast Credit Union Arena and takes place on November 20-22. Matchups, game times and TV will be announced at a later date.
First day 2022:Utah, Mississippi, wins opening round of Fort Myers Tip-Off
Second day 2022:South Dakota meets Sam Houston in the Fort Myers Tip-Off Palms Division Finals
“The four teams participating in the 2023 Rocket Mortgage Fort Myers Tip-Off are historically strong programs that reinforce the leading status of this event in the eyes of the college basketball community,” said Mark Starsiak, tournament director and vice president at Intersport in a publication. “Between national championship contenders, recent Final Four contenders, veteran coaches and passionate fan bases, these teams will create a very special environment. We can’t wait to host these programs in Lee County and Southwest Florida.”
The four Beach Division 2023 programs have collectively produced 82 regular conference season or tournament championships and 92 NCAA tournament appearances. Wisconsin and Virginia have each appeared in the Final Four for the past decade, and the Cavaliers won the 2019 NCAA championship.
The four head coaches boast incredible CVs. Bob Huggins, in his 16th season as West Virginia head coach and 41st overall, is an inductee Naismith Hall of Famer and ranks among the NCAA coaching leaders of all time. Tony Bennett led Virginia to a national title in 2019 and is leading the Cavaliers into his 14th season.
Greg Gard, the reigning Big Ten Coach of the Year and Naismith National Coach of the Year finalist in 2022, has led Wisconsin to Big Ten regular-season titles in two of the last three seasons. Finally, Rob Lanier is his freshman year at the helm of SMU after three years as Georgia State head coach and comes to Dallas with over 30 years of college coaching experience in places including Tennessee, Florida, Texas and Virginia.
The 2023 Rocket Mortgage Fort Myers Tip-Off will again feature a second four-team Palms Division field. These four participating programs will be announced in the coming months.
About the 2023 Fort Myers Tip-Off Beach Division teams:
- Head Coach Rob Lanier is in his freshman year at the helm of SMU.
- Overall, Lanier’s teams have played in 12 NCAA tournaments, winning five conference titles, three regular-season championships, and two conference tournament crowns
- Head Coach Tony Bennett enters his 14th season with the Cavaliers and 17th season overall; is close to winning his 400th game of 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
Mountaineers from West Virginia
- Huggins recently moved up to third place in the all-time Division I coaches list, recently tying Jim Calhoun with 920 career wins. He is second all-time among active Division I coaches
- The Mountaineers have made ten NCAA tournament appearances since Huggins’ arrival for the 2007-08 season
- Gard has led the Badgers to Big Ten regular-season titles in two of the last three seasons
- Since Gard took over the program in 2015, the Badgers have completed five NCAA tournaments and only missed the postseason once (excluding the canceled 2020 postseason).