The action-packed NCAA basketball tournament, Continental Tire Las Vegas Invitational, will return for its 13th year to the Orleans Arena on Nov. 22-23.
The college basketball teams participating in this year’s early season tournaments include The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Michigan State University, University of California, Los Angeles and the University of Texas at Austin.
The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (UNC), which claimed its sixth NCAA national championship title in 2017, will make its third appearance in the Continental Tire Las Vegas Invitational, entering both the 2007 and 2011 events ranked No. 1 in the nation. The UNC Tar Heels won its only Las Vegas Invitational title in 2007 and is 7-1 in the Las Vegas Invitational. Over the course of its storied 107 years of basketball, the UNC has a 12-4 record against Michigan State University, an 8-3 record against UCLA and a 3-7 record against the University of Texas.
The University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) will enter its 100th men’s basketball season in 2018-2019. The UCLA Bruins, having claimed 11 NCAA national titles, are no stranger to playing in the entertainment capital of the world with the Pac-12 Tournament taking place in Las Vegas for the past six seasons. This will mark UCLA’s second appearance in the Continental Tire Las Vegas Invitational. Back in 2013, UCLA captured the title at the Las Vegas Invitational with wins over the University of Nevada, Reno and Northwestern University. Looking ahead to next season’s tournament, the Bruins have a 5-2 all-time record against Michigan State University, and have gone 3-3 versus University of Texas and 3-8 against UNC.
Michigan State University will make its first-ever appearance in the Continental Tire Las Vegas Invitational, but has had success in Thanksgiving weekend basketball tournaments. In November 2017, the Michigan State Spartans defeated UNC by 63-45 in the PK80 Phil Knight Invitational finale in Portland, Ore. The win at the PK80 was Michigan State University’s third preseason tournament title in the last five years. The Spartans previously won the 2013 Coaches vs. Cancer Classic in Brooklyn, N.Y. and the 2015 Wooden Legacy. Michigan State University has an all-time record of 4-12 against UNC and has a 2-5 all-time record against UCLA and a 5-4 record against University of Texas, meeting last in 2014.
The University of Texas at Austin (UT) is also making its first appearance in the tournament and first trip to Las Vegas since 2001. The Texas Longhorns are the only team in the Las Vegas Invitational to have a winning record against UNC, having won seven of its last eight meetings for a 7-3 all-time series record. The last win came in December 2015 at Texas. UT is an even 3-3 against UCLA and 4-5 against Michigan State University.
FOX Broadcast network and FS1 will present coverage of four 2018 Continental Tire Las Vegas Invitational games played at Orleans Arena, televising two opening-round games on Thursday, Nov. 22, and the championship and consolation games on Friday, Nov. 23. FOX Sports runs all aspects of the Continental Tire Las Vegas Invitational, Las Vegas Holiday 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 No. 1 UNC 90-80. Creighton (2012), UCLA (2013), Illinois (2014), West Virginia (2015) Butler University (2016) and 2017 Champion Arizona State University.
Each team will play four games – the first two at campus sites and the final two at the Orleans Arena. The tournament schedule is as follows:
- Thursday, Nov. 22 at 5 p.m.
- Thursday, Nov. 22 at 7:30 p.m.
- Friday, Nov. 23 at 1 p.m.
- Friday, Nov. 23 at 3:30 p.m.
Single event tickets are available from $60 to $85 and full event packages are available from $135 to $185, plus taxes and fees, and can be purchased by calling Ticketmaster at 800-745-3000; online at www.orleansarena.com; or in-person at the gift shops inside The Orleans, Suncoast, Gold Coast and Sam’s Town. Tickets may also be purchased the day of the game (depending on availability) at the venue box office.