Las Vegas will continue to be a hub for quite a few college hoops games going forward. It's already host to plenty of league tournaments come March, and now we're seeing more teams commit to trekking to Sin City for the early part of the sport's calendar.
Specifically, the MGM Grand hotel and casino is playing host to two major events, one of them new. The 2014-15 season will see the "MGM Grand Main Event" and "MGM Grand Showcase" at the establishment's MGM Grand Garden Arena.
The initial Main Event will be played from Nov. 24-26 -- which runs the Monday through Wednesday of Thanksgiving week/parallel to the Maui Invitational.
The Grand Showcase is a doubleheader that will be played Dec. 20 and will benefit Coaches vs. Cancer. UNLV will play Utah and Oklahoma goes up against Washington in that single-day event. Those games will tip at 9 and approximately 11:30 p.m. ET time.
The Main Event will feature Oklahoma State, Oregon State, Auburn and Tulsa in a "heavyweight" bracket, and a "middleweight" bracket will pit Louisiana, Milwaukee, Oral Roberts and one more TBD club. Specific pairings for the mini tournament will be announced on Aug. 5, and similar to how the Maui Invitational has games among teams in its bigger field played prior to the ones on the island, these teams will do the same.
"Our goal is to brand MGM Grand as the 'college basketball capital of Las Vegas' and with both the Main Event and Showcase we have set the foundation for bigger and better things to come in the next few years," Brooks Downing, president of bd Global said.
The Showcase debuted last season; this is the Main Event's first go-around, and it's the latest exempt event that has populated the college hoops calendar throughout November. With so many major-conference schools unwilling to schedule road games or play against fellow big-conference opponents, these tournaments have become the way for the sport to get some quality matchups -- albeit on a neutral court.