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Ole Miss basketball joins Cincinnati, Baylor in headlining 2018 Emerald Coast Classic

Ole Miss will join some of college basketball’s premier programs to headline the fifth annual Emerald Coast Classic in November.

Cincinnati, Baylor and Georgia Mason among others will also participate in the eight-team tournament, which will be played Nov. 23-24 on the campus of Northwest Florida State College in Niceville. It’s the second time playing in the tournament for the Rebels, who beat Cincinnati to win the inaugural tournament in 2014.

The rest of the tournament field as well as matchups and game times will be released at a later date.

Cincinnati, which is coming off back-to-back 30-win seasons, swept the American Athletic Conference regular-season and tournament championships this season on its way to a No. 2 seed in the NCAA Tournament. Baylor went 19-15 and advanced to the second round of the National Invitation Tournament, its seventh straight postseason appearance. George Mason (16-17) is set to return 12 letterwinners from a team that finished fifth in the Atlantic 10 Conference, its best finish in its five years as a league member.

The tournament is part of a non-conference slate that’s in the infant stages of being put together for the Rebels’ first season under Kermit Davis, who was hired last month to replace Andy Kennedy following Ole Miss’ last-place finish in the SEC as part of its first losing season in 12 years.

Ole Miss will play Davis’ former team, Middle Tennessee State, in Oxford as part of a four-year series that’s entering its third season while Ole Miss is working to schedule a home-and-home series with Butler beginning next season. The Rebels are also exploring the possibility of playing a game in Jackson next season, according to a source.