College Basketball Invitationals

In college basketball, an invitational is an early-season or postseason tournament that certain colleges are invited to play among other schools. These tournaments give teams a chance to show their skills before entering conference play or to compete for a title in the postseason.


Early-Season Invitationals

There are about 35 early-season events per year, with participants ranging from three to sixteen teams. They are often hosted at attractive locations to attract fans. These tournament games do count toward a team's overall record, but they are not usually held to the same standard of importance as conference games unless they feature top basketball programs.

While these tournaments typically aren't always as competitive as regular-season games, they give coaches, fans, and analysts a chance to see their team perform and make any necessary changes before the more meaningful conference games begin. The competition pool is usually a mix of major and mid-major programs, but a few more prestigious tournaments strive to include perennial blue-bloods.

List of Early Season Invitationals

Some of the top early-season invitationals in college basketball are:

  • Empire Classic
  • NIT Season Tip-Off
  • Jimmy V Classic
  • ESPN Events Invitational
  • Hall of Fame Tip-Off
  • Battle 4 Atlantis
  • CBS Sports Classic
  • Champions Classic
  • Wooden Legacy
  • Maui Invitational
  • Hall of Fame Classic
  • Jerry Colangelo Classic
  • Roman Main Event
  • Bahamas Championship
  • Fort Myers Tip-Off
  • Holiday Hoopsgiving
  • Charleston Classic
  • Myrtle Beach Invitational
  • Diamond Head Classic
  • Orange Bowl Classic

Postseason Invitationals

Postseason invitationals are tournaments that take place at the conclusion of NCAA conference play. The most prestigious NCAA postseason invitational is the NCAA Tournament, which features the top 68 teams in the nation competing for the title of national champion.

There are four total postseason tournaments for Division I college basketball: