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The 19th annual Continental Tire Las Vegas Invitational announced the tournament field for this year’s event, to be held November 28 & 29, at the Orleans Arena in Las Vegas.
The 2019-20 season’s stellar field is one of the finest fields ever assembled and includes: University of Iowa, Texas Tech University, Creighton University, and San Diego State University. Iowa will be making its second appearance in the tournament, returning to Las Vegas for the first time since 2008.
Texas Tech advanced to the NCAA National Championship final in 2019 where it finished as the national runner-up after an overtime loss to Virginia in the title game. The Red Raiders finished the season with a 31-7 overall record, including going 14-4 in conference play to win the program’s first Big 12 Conference regular-season championship. Tech advanced to its first Final Four after earning tournament wins over Northern Kentucky, Buffalo, Michigan, Gonzaga and Michigan State. The Red Raiders are now 58-17 over the past two seasons, including reaching the Elite Eight in 2018 before making their run to the title game this year. Tech will be led next season by returner Davide Moretti who averaged 11.5 points and 2.4 assists per game in his sophomore season. Moretti led the nation by shooting 92.4 percent from the free-throw line where he was 97-for-105 and also shot 49.8 percent from the field and 45.9 percent on 3-pointers in a season where he earned All-Big 12 Conference Third Team honors.
The University of Iowa won 23 games this past season and earned the program’s 26th NCAA Tournament appearance under head coach Fran McCaffery. The 23 wins are its second highest total in 13 years and most under McCaffery for an NCAA Tournament team. Iowa, who was nationally-ranked for 16 straight weeks this past season, graduates one senior from its roster. Iowa returns All-Big Ten performers Jordan Bohannon and Luka Garza in 2019-20, while also returning shooting guard Joe Wieskamp, who was voted to the five-player All-Big Ten Freshman Team.
On the heels of its 19th season of 20+ wins in the last 21 seasons, Creighton men’s basketball is slated to return 92 percent of its scoring, 89 percent of its rebounding and 98 percent of its starts to the floor in 2019-20. Rising seniors Martin Krampelj (13.5 ppg, 6.9 rpg) and Davion Mintz (9.7 ppg) join junior sharpshooters Ty-Shon Alexander (15.7 pp.) and Mitch Ballock (11.1 ppg) as part of the Bluejay core that returns. Playing in Sin City has been kind to the Bluejays in recent seasons, as the program has won tournaments in Las Vegas in 2008, 2012, and 2015.
San Diego State returns six of its top nine scorers off a team that went 21-13 and advanced to the championship game of the Mountain West Conference tournament in 2019. The Aztecs will blend returning leading scorers in junior forward Matt Mitchell and junior guard Jordan Schakel with impact transfers Malachi Flynn and KJ Feagin next season. San Diego State is one of just nine schools nationally that has won at least 19 games each of the last 14 seasons and is one of 29 schools to play in seven of the last 10 NCAA tournaments.
FS1 will present coverage of four 2019 Continental Tire Las Vegas Invitational games played at Orleans Arena, televising two opening-round games on Thursday, Nov. 28, and the championship and consolation games on Friday, Nov. 29.
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 No. 1 North Carolina 90-80. Creighton (2012), UCLA (2013), Illinois (2014), West Virginia (2015) Butler (2016) Arizona State (2017) and 2018 Champion Michigan State.
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 28-29. Hosting more than 200 events each year, Orleans Arena is located just west of the Las Vegas strip and was recently named the No. 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 or online at orleansarena.com.