WVU Basketball: Vegas Baby!

As earlier reported by BlueGoldNews.com, West Virginia's men's basketball team will be one of eight participants in the Continental Tire Las Vegas Invitational. The November tournament will include two games at campus sites and two games for each team in Las Vegas.

The full field for the tournament includes West Virginia, Richmond, San Diego State, California, Hawaii, Sam Houston State, Bethune-Cookman University and Liberty. After hosting a pair of games at their home arenas, the first four teams will play in the Las Vegas portion of the tournament on November 26-27, 2015 at the Orleans Arena. Match-ups for those games have not yet been released.

The Las Vegas portion of the tournament will be televised on FOX Sports 1. FOX Sports has taken control of the tournament, and will handle all operations of the event. West Virginia will play two of the other four teams in games at the WVU Coliseum.

West Virginia, coming off a 25-win season and an NCAA Sweet 16 appearance, returns seven players with starting experience, including three regulars. Junior forward Devin Williams started 34 games and led the Mountaineers in rebounding at 8.1 per game, while finishing second in scoring at 11.6 points per game. Senior forward Jonathan Holton (7.5 ppg, 5.9 rpg) and sophomore guard Daxter Miles Jr. (7.3 ppg, 2.3 rpg) started all 35 games in 2014-15. Other returnees with starting experience, include senior Jaysean Paige (35 3s, 10 starts), sophomore Jevon Carter (team-leading 67 steals and 48 3s, 4 starts), junior Nathan Adrian (15.4 minutes per game, 4 start) and sophomore Elijah Macon (13.1 minutes per game, 1 start). The Mountaineers also return junior Tarik Phillip (34 games played) and junior Brandon Watkins (23 games played). Coach Bob Huggins will be entering his ninth season at WVU and 34th overall with 765 career wins, ranking 12th all-time in NCAA history.

San Diego State will enter the upcoming campaign as the back-to-back Mountain West regular-season champions and fresh off its sixth straight NCAA tournament berth. The Aztecs are one of eight schools nationally to have reached the NCAAs six years in a row and one of nine programs in America to reach the Round of 32 three straight seasons. Overall, San Diego State finished 2014-15 with a 27-9 record (14-4 Mountain West), its 10th consecutive 20-win campaign and seventh straight season with at least 23 victories.

The Aztecs return three of their top five scorers from last season, including leading scorer senior forward Winston Shepard (11.1 ppg, 5.3 rpg). San Diego State also returns a pair of sophomores coming off sensational campaigns as true freshmen. Sophomore guard Trey Kell is a returning starter (5.6 ppg, 2.8 rpg, 1.6 apg) who was named to the Maui Invitational all-tournament team, while sophomore forward Malik Pope (5.1 ppg, 2.7 rpg, 40.8 3FG pct.) overcame an off-season injury to explode on to the landscape last season.

The 2015-16 California men's basketball team returns three starters, including First Team All-Pac-12 selection and Bob Cousy Award Finalist Tyrone Wallace. The Golden Bears bring back four of their top five scorers overall, along with their top rebounder and assist leader from an 18-win team in 2014-15. Wallace heads into his senior season as one of the Pac-12’s active leaders in career scoring with nearly 1,200 points. The point guard was the lone individual in the conference to finish in the top-five in the league in points (17.1 ppg.), rebounds (7.1 rpg.) and assists (4.0). He is joined by returning veterans in junior guards Jabari Bird (10.5 ppg. last season), Jordan Mathews (13.6 ppg. last season). The Bears, under second-year head coach Cuonzo Martin, return an experienced lineup overall as they usher in a new-look Haas Pavilion that underwent extensive renovations in the off-season.

Richmond (21-14) returns four starters and all but two significant player from this year's squad which advanced to the NIT Quarterfinals. Forwards Terry Allen, and T.J. Cline. Allen led the squad with 6.7 rebounds per game while averaging 13.0 points per contest. Cline scored 11.8 points per game and was second on the time in three-point percentage with 38.8 pct from deep. Atlantic 10 Sixth Man of the Year ShawnDre' Jones returns for his junior season. The guard averaged 10.3 points and dished a team-high 90 assists against just 40 turnovers. He also led the squad with 64 three-pointers.

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