The Continental Tire Las Vegas Invitational is pleased to announce the tournament field for this year’s event, to be held November 23-24, 2017 at the beautiful Orleans Arena in Las Vegas.
This season's stellar field includes: Xavier, Kansas State, Arizona State, George Washington, California Irvine, Hampton, Rider and Northern Arizona.
Xavier is a consensus preseason Top 25 team again for the 2017-18 season. Chris Mack, who just completed his eighth season as the Xavier head coach, has six returning letter winners, including four returning starters, from last year’s squad which reached the 2017 NCAA Tournament Elite Eight. Xavier also adds a star-studded recruiting class that is ranked by most experts in the top 10 in the country. Xavier has won regular season events each of the last two seasons, both in Florida, including the 2016 Tire Pros Invitational and the 2015 Advocare Invitational.
Xavier has now made it to at least the Sweet 16 six times in the last 10 years, one of only nine schools that have been to at least six since 2008. Xavier played in its fourth straight NCAA Tournament and its 11th in the last 12 years; only eight schools have been to at least 11 of the last 12 tournaments.
Led by sixth-year head coach Bruce Weber, Kansas State returns nine lettermen, including four players with starting experience, from a team that won 21 games and advanced to the NCAA Tournament for the third time in five seasons. The Wildcats will be led in 2017-18 by juniors Barry Brown (11.7 ppg., 3.2 rpg.), Kamau Stokes (11.7 ppg., 4.1 apg.) and Dean Wade (9.3 ppg., 4.5 rpg.), who each started all 35 games as sophomores in 2016-17. The trio averaged better than 9 points per game and connected on 39 or more 3-pointers each.
The Arizona State Sun Devils under third-year head coach Bobby Hurley will be led by a pair of a 1,000-point career scorers, as guards Tra Holder (16.2 ppg) and Shannon Evans (15.0 ppg) return along with fellow senior Kodi Justice (140 career three-pointers). ASU will welcome seven newcomers to a team that was one of the best free throw shooting squads in school history (.749) last season as well as the best scoring Sun Devil squad in 20 seasons, averaging 78.6 points per game.
In 2016-17, GW reached the 20-win plateau for the fourth consecutive season, advancing to the second round of the CBI. Though leading scorer Tyler Cavanaugh (18.3 ppg) will have to be replaced, GW is set to return five players who started 10 or more games last season, led by senior guard Yuta Watanabe, who was second on the team in scoring (12.2 ppg) and rebounding (4.8 rpg) while earning Atlantic 10 All-Defensive Team honors. Also returning will be graduate student forward Patrick Steeves (10.4 ppg over last 10 games), and three sophomores in center Collin Smith (5.3 ppg, 4.4 rpg), forward Arnaldo Toro (team-best 11.0 rebounds/40 minutes) and guard Jair Bolden (started final 16 games).
FS1 presents coverage of four 2017 Continental Tire Las Vegas Invitational games played at Orleans Arena, televising two opening-round games on Thursday, Nov. 23, and the championship and consolation games on Friday, Nov. 24. FS1 runs all aspects of the Continental Tire Las Vegas Invitational and Las Vegas Classic, ranging from ticket sales, sponsorships, and television production.
Always one of the top early season tournaments of the college basketball season, the past champions of the Continental Tire Las Vegas Invitational reads like a “Who’s Who” of college basketball: Illinois (2005), Kansas (2006 and 2010), North Carolina (2007), Kentucky (2008) and Oklahoma State (2009). In the 2011 title game, UNLV upset #1 North Carolina 90-80. Creighton (2012), UCLA (2013), Illinois (2014), West Virginia (2015) and last year’s champion Butler University (2016).
Each team will play four games in the Invitational – the first two at on-campus sites and the final two rounds at the Orleans Arena November 23-24. Hosting more than 200 events each year, the Orleans Arena is located just west of the Las Vegas strip and was recently named the #1 mid-size arena in the USA by Venues Today magazine. Tickets for the final rounds in Las Vegas are available at the Orleans Arena box office via the internet at www.orleansarena.com.