NEWARK, NJ - Following the success of the inaugural 2016 event, Prudential Center has announced that it will host the second annual Never Forget Tribute Classic on Saturday, December 9. The NCAA men’s basketball doubleheader will feature a pair of games between high-profile universities: The Florida Gators will take on the Cincinnati Bearcats and the hometown Seton Hall Pirates will host the VCU (Virginia Commonwealth) Rams. Tickets for the 2017 Never Forget Tribute Classic will go on sale on Friday, September 15 at 12 p.m. ET and can be purchased at prucenter.com/nftc2017.
The Never Forget Tribute Classic will again partner with the Families of Freedom Scholarship Fund in support of the education of children of the victims of the September 11 terrorist attacks. Established within one week of September 11, 2001, the Families of Freedom Scholarship Fund provides education assistance for postsecondary study to financially needy dependents of the people killed or permanently disabled in the terrorist attacks. The Fund has already delivered millions of dollars in scholarship support, and will continue to offer education assistance through the year 2030, ultimately delivering more than $100 million to affected family members. For more information, visit FamiliesofFreedom.org.
“We are proud to bring the Never Forget Tribute Classic back to Prudential Center for a second consecutive year and partner with such an impactful organization as Families of Freedom,” President of Prudential Center Hugh Weber said. “We look forward to leveraging the incredible platform of college basketball to help our fellow community members and neighbors who were impacted by the tragic events of September 11, 2001. We are excited to host these four top college basketball programs at ‘The Rock’ for such a worthwhile cause.”
A season ago, the Gators, led by head coach Mike White, finished second in the Southeastern Conference with a 27-9 record, earning a No. 4 seed in the 2017 NCAA Tournament. Florida reached the Elite Eight, before being eliminated by South Carolina. Overall, the Gators have reached the “Big Dance” in six of the past eight seasons. In 2016-17, head coach Mick Cronin led Cincinnati to the school’s second-ever 30-win season as the Bearcats posted a 30-6 regular-season record, finishing second in the American Athletic Conference. The team went on to defeat Kansas State in the opening round of the 2017 NCAA Tournament before losing in the second round. Cincinnati has reached the Tournament in seven straight seasons.
Seton Hall, which plays its home games at Prudential Center, will make its Never Forget Classic Tribute debut. Under the leadership of head coach Kevin Willard, the Pirates have posted a 46-21 record over the past two seasons and reached the NCAA Tournament each year. A season ago, the VCU Rams compiled a 26-9 record, finishing second in the Atlantic 10 and reaching the NCAA Tournament for the seventh straight season in head coach Will Wade’s second year at the helm.
The early-season tournament featured four marquee schools a season ago in Notre Dame, Villanova, Penn State and Pittsburgh and this December will take the next step in growing the Never Forget Tribute Classic name.
For more information and updates about the 2017 Never Forget Tribute Classic, visit prucenter.com/nftc2017 and follow @PruCenter.