Field Announced for 2017 Continental Tire Las Vegas Classic
Aug. 21, 2017
LAS VEGAS - The Continental Tire Las Vegas Classic has announced the participating teams for this year’s event, to be held December 22-23, 2017 at Orleans Arena in Las Vegas. The University of Nevada, Duquesne University, University of San Francisco and University of Southern Illinois are among eight teams participating in this year's tournament.
Each team will play four games in the Classic – the first two at on-campus sites and the final two rounds at the Orleans Arena December 22-23. The Dukes will welcome North Carolina A&T and Lamar to the Palumbo Center on Dec. 17 & 19 as part of the event.
The future is now. After helping the program to its third 20-win season in the last 30 years, a seasoned – but youthful – squad returns to the Hilltop for the second installation in the Kyle Smith era. Charles Minlend and Jordan Ratinho, who combined to make 41 starts during the year, occupied two of the five spots on last year’s WCC All-Freshmen team. Minlend’s 329 points on the year ranked seventh all-time among USF freshmen and third among first-year players in the league. Ratinho led the team in minutes played, underscoring Smith's confidence in USF’s underclassmen. Last season’s perimeter shooting was one for the Dons’ record books, with 299 three-pointers made. Lone senior Chase Foster (.400) along with Ratinho (.423) and Minlend (.370) each swished 50 or more attempts from distance on the year. Juniors Matt McCarthy (5.5 rpg) and Nate Renfro (4.8 rpg) led the squad in rebounds per game, and Renfro (2.0 apg) and Mladen Djordjevic (2.2 apg) paced USF’s assist efforts.
The Southern Illinois men’s basketball team returns three starters from last year’s team that finished 17-16 and tied for third place in the Missouri Valley Conference with a 9-9 league mark. Armon Fletcher (11.1), Thik Bol (9.1) and Sean Lloyd (7.6) are the top returning scorers. Five more lettermen return, including guard Tyler Smithpeters, who started two years ago but missed all but one game last year due to injury. Transfers Marcus Bartley, Eric McGill and Kavion Pippen are expected to provide an immediate impact on the playing rotation. Head coach Barry Hinson enters his sixth season at the helm of SIU with a 79-83 overall record, including a 39-51 record in MVC games. Having coached 14 years in the MVC, he is the winningest active coach with 248 overall wins and 134 MVC victories.
Past champions of the Continental Tire Las Vegas Classic include Kansas State (2008), Alabama (2009), New Mexico (2010), Baylor (2011), Colorado State (2012), UNLV (2013), Loyola, IL (2014), SMU (2015) and Southern California (2016) last season's Champion.
Tickets for the final rounds in Las Vegas are available through the Duquesne Ticket Office at 412-232-DUKE (3853).