photo - Air Force's Lavelle Scottie shoots as Colorado State's Braden Koelliker defends during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game in the Mountain West Conference tournament Thursday, March 9, 2017, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/Isaac Brekken)
Air Force's Lavelle Scottie shoots as Colorado State's Braden Koelliker defends during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game in the Mountain West Conference tournament Thursday, March 9, 2017, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/Isaac Brekken) 

Colorado Springs will attempt to leverage its status as “Olympic City USA” to launch a college basketball tournament here beginning in 2018.

The Rocky Mountain Challenge will be held in late November and feature three-day, eight-team tournaments for women, followed by the same format for the men. The makeup of the event aims to be similar to the Maui Invitational.

The unique element to this tournament is that the games will be held at the Olympic Training Center and the participating teams will be housed on site along with Olympic and Paralympic athletes.

The Mountain West – which will be guaranteed a team in the field – is serving as a co-host of the event with the OTC and the city’s Olympic City USA venture.

“Our U.S. Olympic and Paralympic presence is simply unparalleled, and we are thrilled to add another exciting sporting event to our growing schedule,” Mayor John Suthers said in a press release. “We thank the Mountain West Conference for choosing Olympic City USA, and we look forward to a successful tournament.”

The inaugural event will begin with the women’s tournament from Nov. 15-17, 2018, with the men’s event running from Nov. 19-21.

Another event is scheduled for 2019.

Mountain West assistant commissioner Judy Wilson said the tournament fields are “wide open,” but contact has been made with conferences around the nation to secure participants.

This will be an exempt event, which gives teams an opportunity to play beyond the limit of 29 games.

“The Rocky Mountain Challenge is an exciting new tournament, which we are honored to host at the U.S. Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs,” said Aron McGuire, USOC senior director of Olympic Training Centers. “We look forward to showcasing amazing talent from the Mountain West Conference and across the United States at the home of Team USA. We are confident the athletes, coaches and fans will experience world-class facilities and outstanding hospitality throughout their time in Olympic City USA.”

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