2013 CONTINENTAL TIRE LAS VEGAS INVITATIONAL
Anticipation for the 2013-14 season is running high in Los Angeles. UCLA returns a strong nucleus in 2013-13, including senior forwards Travis Wear (10.9 ppg, 5.2 rpg) and David Wear (7.1 ppg, 5.0 rpg), junior guard Norman Powell (6.1 ppg, 2.2 rpg) and sophomore guards Jordan Adams (15.3 ppg, 3.8 rpg) and Kyle Anderson (9.7 ppg, 8.6 rpg). UCLA finished last year with a 25-10 overall record, going 13-5 with a first-place finish in the Pac-12. The Bruins advanced to the second round of the NCAA Tournament.
Missouri was 23-11 last season (17-0 at home) and lost to Colorado State in the second round of the NCAA Tournament. This marked Mizzou’s fifth consecutive trip to the NCAA’s, the longest active streak in the SEC. Junior guard Jabari Brown (13.7 ppg) and senior wing Earnest Ross (10.2 ppg, 5.0 rpg) return to lead Coach Frank Haith’s Tigers in 2013-14. Joining Brown in the backcourt will be 6-5 transfer Jordan Clarkson, who earned first team All-Conference USA honors at Tulsa in 2011-12 while averaging 14.2 ppg during his two seasons with the Golden Hurricane.
Four starters return for Northwestern in 2013-14, under the direction of new head coach Chris Collins. Collins spent 13 seasons on the coaching staff at Duke, including the last five as associate head coach. Redshirt senior Drew Crawford, who earned third team All-Big Ten honors in 2011-12 while averaging 16.1 ppg, heads the list of 13 returning players. Junior point guard Dave Sobolewski, a 2011-12 selection to the Big Ten’s All Freshman Team, also returns after averaging 9.8 ppg and 4.0 assists last season. Tre Demps (7.8 ppg), Alex Olah (6.1 ppg, 4.1 rpg) and Kale Abrahamson (4.9 ppg) lead a talented sophomore class for the Wildcats.
The University of Nevada will add a home state flavor to the 2013 Invitational. After a 28-7 season in 2011-12, Nevada slipped to 12-19 last year, their first in the Mountain West Conference. Senior point guard Deonte Burton, the team’s co-MVP, returns to lead the Wolf Pack. The 6-1 Burton, who has started all 98 games in his career, averaged 16.3 ppg and 3.6 assists in 2012-13. He will be joined in the backcourt by senior Jerry Evans Jr. (7.5 ppg, 5.4 rpg). Fifth-year coach Dave Carter has also signed 6-6 guard D.J. Fenner, the state of Washington’s player of the year who averaged 27 points a game as a senior.
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. The 2012 tourney was won by 21st-ranked Creighton, who defeated Arizona State 87-73 in the championship game.
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, 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 (1.888.234.2334 or 702.284.7777) and via the internet at www.orleansarena.com.