Got some basketball scheduling news for you: MSU has announced that its men’s team will participate in the Continental Tire Las Vegas Classic next season, on Dec. 22-23. The Bulldogs will be joined at the Orleans Arena by Santa Clara, South Florida and UNLV. The bracket will be announced at a later date.
All four teams will also play two games on campus as part of this event, sort of like MSU did with the 2K Classic a couple of years ago. One of those opponents is Florida Gulf Coast, which will visit Starkville on Dec. 19. The Eagles became NCAA tournament darlings this past season, becoming the first No. 15 seed to reach the Sweet 16. FGCU is now coached by Joe Dooley, who was hired after Andy Enfield took the Southern Cal job.
According to the FGCU website, it will play games in Las Vegas against a field of Florida A&M, Radford and Sacred Heart. That’s a different bracket from the one MSU is in, but those games will also be played in Orleans Arena on Dec. 22-23.
“I am excited about the opportunity to go out and compete in the Las Vegas Classic,” coach Rick Ray said in a statement. “Santa Clara, South Florida and UNLV are quality teams that will provide our players tough out-of-conference competition. Our guys look forward to the opportunity in Las Vegas.”
MSU is 3-0 all time against Santa Clara and 2-0 versus South Florida. The Bulldogs have never played UNLV. The last time State played at Orleans Arena, it lost 94-72 to St. Mary’s in December of 2010.
Last season, Ray’s first at the helm, MSU went 10-22 overall, 4-14 in SEC play.