Playing in the Riviera Division will be Maryland, Illinois State, Rhode Island and TCU. The Mayan Division will feature Cleveland State, Houston Baptist, Rider and South Dakota State. The tournament, which was ranked by Sports Illustrated as one of the top holiday tournaments on the college basketball menu, will feature games in both the United States and Mexico. Maryland reached the third round of the 2015 NCAA Tournament and is expected to be ranked highly going into next season.
“Our staff is thrilled to announce the men’s teams for the 2015 Cancun Challenge. This year’s field from top to bottom will be one of the strongest we have seen in the event,” said tournament director Brent Amick. “That includes the years our Riviera Division champion, Wichita State in 2012 and Wisconsin in 2013, went on to reach the NCAA Final Four. Fans and boosters will have the chance to see their favorite team compete against quality competition at a beautiful oceanfront resort and in an intimate, close-up game setting.”
Four teams are making their second trip to Cancun – Illinois State (2011); Rider (2009), Cleveland State (2009) and South Dakota State (2008). Illinois State is 3-1 overall at the event, with its only loss coming to Illinois in the 2011 Riviera Division championship game, 63-59. In Cleveland State’s other trip, Norris Cole (now playing for the NBA’s New Orleans Pelicans) set a single-game scoring record with 38 points versus Florida A&M.
Three teams in the field – Rhode Island, South Dakota State and Illinois State – played in the 2015 postseason NIT. Cleveland State played in the CIT, and Rider made the CBI field.
All Riviera Division games in Mexico (Nov. 24-25) will be televised by CBS Sports Network; all other games will be broadcast via livestream by YouTube Live. Here’s the entire men’s schedule:
Nov. 19 – Houston Baptist at TCU; South Dakota State at Illinois State
Nov. 20 – Rider at Maryland
Nov. 21 – Cleveland State at Rhode Island
Nov. 24 – Mayan Division: South Dakota State vs. Houston Baptist; Rider vs. Cleveland State
Nov. 24 – Riviera Division: TCU vs. Rhode Island; Illinois State vs. Maryland
Nov. 25 – Mayan Division: Third-place and Championship games
Nov. 25 – Riviera Division: Third-place and Championship games
Nov. 28 – Cleveland State at Maryland
Nov. 29 – Rider at Rhode Island
The Cancun Challenge is one of the most unique basketball events held each year. Teams stay and play at the all-inclusive Hard Rock Hotel Riviera Maya; the resort's convention center ballroom is converted into a basketball arena, providing fans a special close-up view of the games. Upon arrival, teams and fans are treated to a spectacular all-inclusive rock star vacation with games, practices, unlimited dining and drinks, world class entertainment, and fun all in one location. Previous champions include Vanderbilt (2008), Kentucky (2009), Missouri (2010), Illinois (2011), Wichita State (2012), Wisconsin (2013) and Northern Iowa (2014).
“Proving to be a smashing success last year, we are thrilled to once again host the Cancun Challenge at Hard Rock Hotel Riviera Maya,” said Frank Maduro, Vice President of Marketing for All Inclusive Collection. “This one-of-a-kind basketball event offers the players and fans an authentic experience that rocks, both on and off the court.”
Located just off the azure waters of the Caribbean Sea, Hard Rock Hotel Riviera Maya offers the ultimate vacation for guests of all ages with both the adults-only and family friendly resort experiences. With a combined 1,264 ultra-posh and lavishly appointed guestrooms boasting balcony, terrace views or new, expansive sky terrace options with picturesque views, hydro tubs in each room, world-class shopping and endless style, Hard Rock Hotel Riviera Maya is nothing short of the ultimate crowd-pleaser. Complete with expansive outdoor pools and private beach, this all-inclusive escape offers nine world-class restaurants, eight bars and lounges, in addition to 88,915 square feet of state-of-the-art meeting and event space ideal for elegant banquets, themed parties, weddings, concerts, and more.
Seating is limited for this exclusive event, and all fans should book land travel packages through Triple Crown Sports for admission into games in Mexico. Travel packages are the only way to guarantee admission to games at this time. For travel package information, contact Sarah Sullivan at
970-672-0533 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.