OMAHA, Neb. -- The Creighton men's basketball team will spend Thanksgiving in Las Vegas, where it will compete in the 12th Annual Continental Tire Las Vegas Invitational on Nov. 23 & 24. The Bluejays will headline a strong field in Sin City that also includes BCS rivals Wisconsin, Arkansas and Arizona State.
Each team will play four games in the event, the first two at campus sites, and the final two rounds at the Orleans Arena in Las Vegas on November 23rd & 24th. Creighton's first two games of the tournament will be played at CenturyLink Center Omaha and both will be included as part of the 2012-13 season ticket package.
All-session tickets for the two days/eight games in Las Vegas (four games on each day, Creighton will play once each day) are as low as $90 each or up to $138 each depending on location. All-session tickets can be purchased directly from the tournament by visiting http://www.orleansarena.com or by calling The Orleans Arena Box Office at 702-284-7777 or 888-234-2334. Fans should know that single-session tickets for the tournament, if available due to a non-sellout of all-session tickets, can only be purchased at The Orleans Arena Box Office no earlier than Wednesday, Nov. 21st.
The Bluejays will be staying at Planet Hollywood for the duration of their stay in Las Vegas and the property is offering a $99 per night rate to Bluejay fans. To take advantage of the offer, fans should call Planet Hollywood directly at 866-317-1829 and reference the "Creighton Fan Block" when making reservations. Fans can also take advantage of the "Creighton Fan Block" $99 per night rate by making reservations online by clicking on this link: http://www.totalrewards.com/hotel-reservations?propCode=PHV&groupCode=AZFAN2.
Another lodging option Bluejay fans may want to consider for the tournament in Las Vegas is Michael Gaughan's South Point Hotel, Casino & Spa. Gaughan, a 1965 Creighton graduate and a 2004 recipient of Creighton's College of Business Administration Alumni Merit Award, is offering complimentary three-night stays between November 22-26 to Creighton alums, fans and friends at his property. To take advantage of this offer, call the South Point Hotel, Casino and Spa directly at 1-866-791-7626 and provide the code "CRE1122" when making the reservation. Please note that the deadline to take advantage of the CRE1122 offer is November 16th. For more information on the hotel's amenities, go to its website at http://www.southpointcasino.com.
This year's field includes:
Creighton finished the 2011-12 campaign ranked 21st in the Associated
Press poll after tying a school-record for wins in a 29-6 season. The
Bluejays will return nine of their top 10 scorers from that squad,
losing only point guard Antoine Young, and figure to be a preseason
top-25 squad in the fall. First-team All-American and Naismith Player of
the Year finalist Doug McDermott (22.9 ppg., 8.2 rpg.) ranked third
nationally in scoring and became the first sophomore ever named Larry
Bird Missouri Valley Conference Player of the Year. Center Gregory
Echenique was named MVC Defensive Player of the Year after averaging 9.7
points, 7.3 rebounds and 1.6 blocked shots per game, while fellow
senior-to-be Grant Gibbs led the team with 5.0 assists and 1.1 steals
per game from the wing position. Creighton ranked among the nation’s
best offensive teams, ranking second in assists per game (17.6) and
field goal percentage (.504), third in three-point field goal percentage
(.424), fifth in assist/turnover ratio (1.46) and ninth in scoring
offense (79.2 ppg.). The Bluejays are coached by Greg McDermott, who
will enter his third year on The Hilltop with a 52-22 record.
Wisconsin is coming off a 26-win season and its third Sweet 16 appearance in the last five years. The Badgers will look to replace All-American Jordan Taylor in 2012-13, but return four of five starters from last year’s squad and over 70 percent of the team’s scoring. Forwards Ryan Evans (11.0 ppg, 6.8 rpg) and Jared Berggren (10.5 ppg, 4.9 rpg) each earned All-Big Ten honorable mention a year ago and anchored a Badgers defense that allowed an NCAA-best 53.2 points per game last season. The all-time wins leader at Wisconsin, Bo Ryan will enter his 12th season with the Badgers owning a record of 268-101 (.726).
The University of Arkansas is in its second season under Head Coach Mike Anderson and is coming off a successful 2011-12 campaign. The Razorbacks were 18-14 last year with signature wins over three ranked teams including SEC Tournament Champion Vanderbilt, Mississippi State and Big 10 co-champion Michigan. The Razorbacks return 77 percent of their scoring and 73 percent of their rebounding from a year ago as well as second-team All-SEC guard BJ Young, the SEC’s three-point percentage leader in Mardracus Wade and Hunter Mickelson who set an Arkansas school record for blocks in season by a freshman. The Razorbacks also get the services of preseason All-SEC forward Marshawn Powell who missed most of the 2012 season to injury.
Arizona State returns three players in 7-2 junior Jordan Bachynski, 6-7 sophomore Jon Gilling and 6-2 guard Chris Colvin who made dramatic improvements over the course of last season. Bachynski averaged in double digits in the final 13 games, Gilling added a career-high 21 points vs. Arizona in early March and averaged nine points per game in the final 22 contests and Colvin averaged 8.7 points in the final 15 games. Also returning is 6-6 senior wing Carrick Felix (10.5 points per game), as 2009-10 Pac-10 Coach of the Year Herb Sendek will look to add to his three 20-win seasons at Arizona State, with highly-touted recruit Jahii Carson set to join the team at the point guard position.