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Acrisure Arena welcomes 21 college basketball teams over Thanksgiving

The first edition of college basketball to take over Acrisure Arena the week of Thanksgiving featured six teams playing five games over three days in 2023. The 2024 edition will officially feature 21 teams playing 19 games over four days, as the event, now known as the Acrisure Series, has been greatly expanded and its field is officially set.

The event will run from Tuesday, November 26th to Friday, November 29th and will feature seven women's teams and 14 men's teams. TNT Sports has signed on as a television partner, but it has not yet been determined which games will be broadcast on which channels (including TNT, TBS and TruTV).

It will be the largest college basketball tournament in the United States, with both men's and women's teams playing at one venue.

“We are excited to have creatively planned four full days of high-quality men's and women's college basketball at Acrisure Arena,” said Co-Tournament Director Dan Shell. “We are very grateful to our partners at Acrisure and Visit Greater Palm Springs for making this event possible, and to TNT Sports for joining us in the years to come to take this event to the next level. We believe the Acrisure series of college basketball events will be among the best holiday events in the country.”

This year's roster includes 10 teams that participated in the men's or women's NCAA tournament last year and one of the most famous college players, USC's JuJu Watkins. In fact, both the Trojans' men's and women's teams will play two games each at the event.

A Trojans fan could watch the USC women's football game on Wednesday, the USC men's football game on Thursday and the USC women's and men's football games on Friday “and still get home in time for the football game on Saturday against Notre Dame,” Shell said.

The format

The event consists of four mini-tournaments of four teams each (one for women and three for men) and three one-off exhibition games (two for women and one for men). There are five games on Tuesday, five games on Wednesday, four games on Thanksgiving Thursday and five games on Friday.

One ticket allows you to see all of the games that day. Tickets go on sale June 7 at 10:00 a.m. PST and are available at the Acrisure Arena box office, as well as online at acrisurearena.com and Ticketmaster.com.

Groups of four teams each take part in the four mini-tournaments and are divided as follows:

The Acrisure Classic for women: Michigan State vs. Cal and Vanderbilt vs. Arizona on Tuesday; championship and third-place game on Wednesday.

The Men’s Acrisure Holiday Invitational: SMU vs. Cal Baptist and Fresno State vs. Washington State on Tuesday; championship and third place game on Wednesday

The Men’s Acrisure Invitational: TCU vs. Santa Clara and Washington vs. Colorado State on Thursday; championship and third place game on Friday

The Acrisure Classic for men: USC vs. Saint Mary's and New Mexico vs. Arizona State on Thursday; championship and third-place game on Friday.

And the three “single games” are a men's game between Stanford and Grand Canyon on Tuesday and then two games featuring the sure-to-be top-5 ranked and explosive USC women's basketball team. USC plays Seton Hall on Wednesday and Saint Louis on Friday.

All games will be played at Acrisure Arena, a new arena that opened in December 2022. It can accommodate around 11,000 fans for basketball games and is located in Palm Desert, California, near Palm Springs and part of the Coachella Valley.

“Sponsoring the Acrisure Series is a testament to our commitment to excellence and community involvement,” said Greg Williams, Chairman and CEO of Acrisure. “We are thrilled to see the tournament expand in 2024 and bring fans from across the country to Acrisure Arena for an unforgettable celebration of top-tier college basketball. We are proud to be part of the creation and growth of this premier event on the basketball calendar.”

Last year's college basketball series at Acrisure Arena was capped by a game between perennial powerhouses Arizona and Michigan State (Arizona won 74-68) that drew record-breaking ratings, and was accompanied by a four-team tournament on Friday and Saturday that featured Arkansas State, Hawaii, UT Rio Grand Valley and San Diego (Hawaii won).

Shell said it will continue to be an annual event, adding that eight teams have already signed up for the 2025 edition, which has only been made possible by the consistency of the three main sponsors, Acrisure, Visit Greater Palm Springs and Spotlight 29 Casino.

“This is definitely an annual event,” Shell said. “The number of teams and the format may change from year to year, but there will still be college basketball at Acrisure Arena during Thanksgiving week. Putting it on every year is like a Rubik's Cube, but it's something we're excited about and proud of.”

The schedule

TUESDAY, NOV 26 GAMES

  • 10:30 am: Cal vs. Michigan State (Women)
  • 13 o'clock: Vanderbilt vs. Arizona (Women)
  • 3:30 p.m.: SMU vs. Cal Baptist (Men)
  • 6pm: Fresno State vs. Washington State (Men)
  • 8:30 p.m.: Grand Canyon vs. Stanford (Men)

WEDNESDAY, NOV 27 GAMES

  • 10:30 am: Loser Cal/Michigan State vs. Loser Vanderbilt/Arizona (Women – third place)
  • 13 o'clock: Winner Cal/Michigan State vs. Winner Vanderbilt/Arizona (Women – Championship)
  • 3:30 p.m.: USC vs. Seton Hall (Women)
  • 6pm: Loser SMU/Cal Baptist vs. Loser Fresno St./Washington St. (Men – third place)
  • 8:30 p.m.: Winner SMU/Cal Baptist vs. Winner Fresno St./Washington St. (Men – Championship)

THURSDAY, NOV 28 GAMES

  • 13 o'clock: TCU vs. Santa Clara (Men)
  • 3:30 p.m.: Washington vs. Colorado State (Men)
  • 6pm: USC vs. Saint Mary's (Men)
  • 8:30 p.m.: New Mexico vs. Arizona State (Men)

FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 29 GAMES

  • 10:30 am: TCU/Santa Clara Loser vs. Washington/Colorado St. Loser (Men – Third Place)
  • 13 o'clock: Winner TCU/Santa Clara vs. Winner Washington/Colorado State (Men – Championship)
  • 3:30 p.m.: USC vs. Saint Louis (Women)
  • 6pm: Loser USC/Saint Mary's vs. Loser New Mexico/Arizona St. (Men – third place)
  • 8:30 p.m.: Winner USC/Saint Mary's vs. Winner New Mexico/Arizona State (Men – Championship)