ANCHORAGE – The University of Alaska Anchorage announced the men’s field for the 2017 GCI Great Alaska Shootout on Wednesday, unveiling the seven visiting teams for the nation’s oldest regular-season college basketball tournament.

Joining host Alaska Anchorage for the 40th anniversary tournament on Thanksgiving Week will be Cal Poly, CSU Bakersfield, Central Michigan, College of Charleston, Idaho, Sam Houston State and Santa Clara. Combined, next year’s Shootout field has won at nearly a 60 percent clip this season, with three teams – Bakersfield, Charleston and Idaho – qualifying for postseason play.

Charleston will return to Anchorage for the third time and the first since its thrilling 2002 Shootout title-game victory over Villanova, while Santa Clara and Idaho are back for the first time since 1991. Central Michigan, which featured national scoring leader Marcus Keene as a junior this season, will make its second appearance this decade, but its first since the tournament moved to the Alaska Airlines Center in 2014.

Among the three first-time visiting programs, Bakersfield is this season’s Western Athletic Conference regular-season champion and remains alive in the NIT quarterfinals after recent road upsets of California and Colorado State. Idaho also plays tonight in the second round of the CollegeInsider.com Tournament.

“I’m confident we’ve assembled some of the nation’s top mid-major programs for our 40th anniversary tournament,” said UAA Athletic Director Keith Hackett. “Our recent fields have proven that the GCI Great Alaska Shootout still features some of the most exciting basketball in the nation and is a catalyst to future success.”

The 2016 Shootout field featured three teams – champion Iona, runner-up Nevada and sixth-place finisher UC Davis – that qualified for the 2017 NCAA Tournament, along with Horizon League regular-season champion and NIT qualifier Oakland, while Middle Tennessee won the 2015 Shootout title with the bulk of its squad that has earned three NCAA wins in the last two ‘Big Dances.’

Hackett said the four-team women’s Shootout field is close to being finalized and will be unveiled in a separate announcement. Dates, times and pairings for both the men’s and women’s tournaments will be announced this summer.

2017 GCI Great Alaska Shootout
Men’s Field Quick Facts

ALASKA ANCHORAGE
Nickname: Seawolves
Location: Anchorage, Alaska
Website: GoSeawolves.com
Conference: Great Northwest Athletic Conference
2016-17 Overall/Conf. Record (Place): 21-8/15-5 (2nd)
2017 Postseason: None
Head Coach: Rusty Osborne, 13 seasons (250-138)
Previous Shootout Appearances: All (38-79)
Top Returners: Ashton Pomrehn, Sr., G (2.6 ppg, 1.9 rpg), Augustus Simmers, Sr., F (2.4 ppg, 2.1 rpg), Damien Fulp (2.3 ppg, 1.5 rpg, 1.6 apg, .458 FG)
Notes: The Seawolves have claimed wins over Drexel and Drake in the last two Shootouts but must replace the bulk of a lineup that won 21 games each of the last two campaigns.

CAL POLY
Nickname: Mustangs
Location: San Luis Obispo, California
Website: gopoly.com
Conference: Big West
2016-17 Overall/Conf. Record (Place): 11-20/6-10 (7th)
2017 Postseason: None
Head Coach: Joe Callero, 8 seasons (111-139)
Previous Shootout Appearances: None
Top Returners: Victor Joseph, Sr., G, 6-0/170 (12.0 ppg, 1.8 rpg, .357 3FG, .817 FT), Donovan Fields, Jr., 5-10/160 (11.3 ppg, 2.1 rpg, 1.9 apg, 1.1 spg, .356 3FG, .867 FT), Luke Meikle, Sr., F, 6-9/209 (8.4 ppg, 4.4 rpg).
Notes: The Mustangs are set to return their top two scorers from 2016-17 and will get a boost with the return of athletic 6-8 forward Josh Martin, who nearly averaged a double-double before being injured last fall.
    
CSU BAKERSFIELD
Nickname: Roadrunners
Location: Bakersfield, California
Website: gorunners.com
Conference: Western Athletic Conference
2016-17 Overall/Conf. Record (Place): 25-9/12-2 (1st)
2017 Postseason: NIT
Head Coach: Rod Barnes, 6 seasons (105-87)
Previous Shootout Appearances: None
Top Returners: Damiyne Durham, Jr., G, 6-4/175 (12.6 ppg, 2.9 rpg, 1.3 spg, .331 3FG), Shon Briggs, Sr., G/F, 6-6/200 (6.8 ppg, 4.8 rpg, .491 FG), Brent Wrapp, Sr., G, 6-3/175 (4.9 ppg, 3.7 rpg, 3.7 apg, .413 FG)
Notes: The Roadrunners are in the midst of their best stretch since becoming a Div. I program, making the NCAA Tournament in 2016 and winning the WAC regular-season title this season … CSUB earned its first Div. I postseason victory with an upset of California in the NIT last week.

CENTRAL MICHIGAN
Nickname: Chippewas
Location: Mount Pleasant, Michigan
Website: cmuchippewas.com
Conference: Mid-American Conference
2016-17 Overall/Conf. Record (Place): 16-16/6-12 (6th-West Div.)
2017 Postseason: None
Head Coach: Keno Davis, 5 seasons (77-82)
Previous Shootout Appearances: 2011 (4th)
Top Returners: Marcus Keene, Sr., G, 5-9/175 (30.0 ppg, 4.5 rpg, 4.9 apg, .447 FG, .368 3FG, .819 FT, First Team All-MAC), David DiLeo, So., F, 6-8/205 (8.5 ppg, 5.0 rpg, .376 3FG, .848 FT), Cecil Williams, Sr., F, 6-6/210 (8.0 ppg, 6.0 rpg, .478 FG, .791 FT)
Notes: CMU guard Marcus Keene led the nation with 30 points per game in 2016-17, topping the 30-point mark 16 times, including a 50-point performance … the Chippewas will give the Shootout a MAC representative for the third straight year, following Toledo in 2015 and Buffalo in 2016.

COLLEGE OF CHARLESTON
Nickname: Cougars
Location: Charleston, South Carolina
Website: cofcsports.com
Conference: Colonial Athletic Association
2016-17 Overall/Conf. Record (Place): 25-10/14-4 (2nd)
2017 Postseason: NIT 1st Rd
Head Coach: Earl Grant, 3 seasons (52-48)
Previous Shootout Appearances: 1996 runner-up, 2002 champion
Top Returners: Joe Chealey, Sr., G, 6-4/195 (17.8 ppg, 3.5 rpg, 3.2 apg, 1.0 spg, .392 3FG, .822 FT, First Team All-CAA), Jarrell Brantley, Jr., F, 6-7/250 (14.2 ppg, 8.4 rpg, 1.1 spg, .369 3FG, Second Team All-CAA; CAA All-Defensive Team), Grant Riller, So., G, 6-3/185 (13.1 ppg, 2.1 rpg, 1.2 apg, .486 FG, .798 FT, CAA All-Rookie Team).
Notes: The Cougars are set to return the top six scorers from a team that finished runner-up in the CAA regular season and its postseason tournament in 2016-17 … CofC owns the most storied Shootout tradition of any mid-major program, owning victories over Oklahoma State, Villanova and Stanford, and suffering its lone loss against Kentucky in the 1996 title game.

IDAHO
Nickname: Vandals
Location: Moscow, Idaho
Website: govandals.com
Conference: Big Sky Conference
2016-17 Overall/Conf. Record (Place): 19-14/12-6 (t-3rd)
2017 Postseason: CIT 2nd Rd.
Head Coach: Don Verlin, 9 seasons (150-137)
Previous Shootout Appearances: 1991 (6th)
Top Returners: Victor Sanders, Sr., G, 6-5/195 (21.1 ppg, 3.3 rpg, 3.3 apg, 1.6 spg, .441 3FG, .793 FT, First Team All-Big Sky), Brayon Blake, Sr., F, 6-7/220 (10.3 ppg, 6.1 rpg, .435 FG, .705 FT), Arkadiy Mkrtychyan, Sr., F, 6-7/235 (8.1 ppg, 4.3 rpg, .521 FG)
Notes: The Vandals are set to return their top seven scorers from 2016-17, including two-time All-Big Sky guard Victor Sanders … Idaho has made postseason appearances each of the past two seasons, averaging 20 victories per campaign.

SAM HOUSTON STATE
Nickname: Bearkats
Location: Huntsville, Texas
Website: gobearkats.com
Conference: Southland Conference
2016-17 Overall/Conf. Record (Place): 21-13/10-8 (t-4th)
2017 Postseason: None
Head Coach: Jason Hooten, 7 seasons (138-98)
Previous Shootout Appearances: None
Top Returners: Chris Galbreath, Sr., F, 6-7/210 (10.1 ppg, 6.3 rpg, .484 FG), John Dewey III, Jr., G, 6-0/170 (10.0 ppg, 3.5 rpg, 4.9 apg, 1.4 spg, .353 3FG, .739 FT), Josh Delaney, Jr., G, 6-0/173 (4.2 ppg, 0.9 rpg, .367 3FG)
Notes: The Bearkats have made the postseason three of the last four seasons and averaged 22.3 wins per campaign in that span.

SANTA CLARA
Nickname: Broncos
Location: Santa Clara, California
Website: santaclarabroncos.com
Conference: West Coast Conference
2016-17 Overall/Conf. Record (Place): 17-16/10-8 (t-4th)
2017 Postseason: None
Head Coach: Herb Sendek, 1 season
Previous Shootout Appearances: 1983 (5th), 1991 (7th)
Top Returners: KJ Feagin, Jr., G, 6-1/175 (14.6 ppg, 3.8 rpg, 4.4 apg, .463 FG, .490 3FG, .879 FT, Second Team All-WCC), Matt Hauser, Jr., G, 6-2/170 (10.3 ppg, 2.0 rpg, 5.2 apg, .360 3FG, .743 FT), Jarvis Pugh, Sr., F, 6-6/210 (8.6 ppg, 4.6 rpg, .448 FG, .702 FT)
Notes: Broncos coach Herb Sendek will be making his second trip to the Shootout after leading Arizona State to a runner-up finish in 2010.