Ocean Center hosting basketball tournament

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SPECIAL TO THE DAYTONA TIMES

After sitting out 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the College Basketball Invitational (CBI) is back in action for 2021. The Division 1 men’s college basketball tournament is customarily played on home courts, but is breaking from tradition this year, hosting the entire tournament at the Ocean Center in Daytona Beach.

“After an unpredictable 12 months, we’re thrilled to be able to host a 2021 tournament, and even more excited to bring that competition to the Ocean Center in Daytona Beach,” said Rick Giles, president of the Gazelle Group, which organizes the event.

“While much of the world transitioned to a more virtual lifestyle, you can’t play basketball through a screen. We’re impressed with the National College Athletic Associations commitment to ensuring athletes were able to safely compete this year, which in turn makes events like ours possible.”

Hatters among teams

Spectators will watch Army West Point, Coastal Carolina, Bowling Green, Bryant, Longwood, Pepperdine, Bellarmine and DeLand’s own Stetson Hatters compete for the 2021 title. This year’s tournament takes place March 22-24 and consists of an eight-team bracket, with single-elimination to determine the 2021 champion.

“We’re working with the Ocean Center for an event in November—our first event at the facility—and when it became apparent we’d need a location for the 2021 CBI tournament, it only made sense to see if the facility could accommodate the tournament as well,” said Giles.

Tickets are available for purchase at the Ocean Center box office on game days. Safety measures implemented at the Ocean Center include the mandatory wearing of face masks for both employees and guests, enhanced sanitation, and social distancing protocols.

To learn more about the tournament, visit www.collegebasketballinvitational.com.

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