Tuesday morning it was announced that the Minnesota Gophers men’s basketball team will participate in the 2022 So Cal Challenge this season. The Multi-Team Event will take place November 21st and 23rd in San Juan Capistrano, California. The Gophers will participate in the Surf Division along with UNLV, Cal Baptist, and Southern Illinois.
The Gophers will play in a MTE for the second time in Ben Johnson’s two seasons at the helm of the Gophers. Minnesota won the Ashville Championship in 2021 defeating Western Kentucky and Princeton to take home the trophy.
The So Cal Challenge is in it’s second year. Two divisions of four teams each will compete to bring home the title at the Pavillion at JSerra in San Juan Capistrano. Along with Minnesota, UNLV, Cal Baptist and Southern Illinois in the Surf Division, Cal State Northridge, Central Michigan, High Point, and Tennessee State will face off in the Sand Division. All primetime games in the tournament will air on national TV with last years tournament games airing on CBS Sports Network.
“We’re looking forward to playing in the SoCal Challenge and facing some great competition Thanksgiving week,” Gophers head coach Ben Johnson said. “We know our student-athletes will have a first-class experience at such a well-run national tournament. I’m excited for our Gophers fans to experience a fun, warm destination that they can travel to and enjoy.”
Exact matchups and times will be announced at a later date, but it would be expected that Minnesota will most likely draw either Cal Baptist or Southern Illinois in the opening round with the attempt to set up a Minnesota/UNLV Championship game. The Tournament takes place the Monday and Wednesday prior to Thanksgiving.
Cal Baptist went 18-16 last season and went 7-11 in the WAC. They did defeat NCAA Tournament team San Francisco to open their season. Southern Illinois was 16015 a year ago going 9-9 in the Missouri Valley. UNLV went 18-14 a season ago going 10-8 in the Mountain West and knocked off NCAA Tournament team Colorado State twice a season ago.
More information on the event can be found at https://www.socalchallenge.co/ including information on when tickets will go on sale.