LARAMIE, Wyo. - The Continental Tire Las Vegas Classic announced four of the event's eight participating teams for the 2016 tournament on Thursday. The University of Wyoming men's basketball team will be joined by Southern Cal, DePaul and Missouri State on Dec. 22-23 at the Orleans Arena in Las Vegas.
The Cowboys will be a bit of old with a new twist in 2016-17. After six seasons at the helm, head coach Larry Shyatt stepped aside on March 21, as assistant coach Allen Edwards was promoted to take his place. Shyatt returned the Pokes to national prominence with renewed success on the court with Edwards by his side the last five seasons. Edwards has earned 12 postseason tournament berths and 14 conference championships during his 14 seasons as an assistant coach and four-year playing career at Kentucky. Edwards will continue many pillars Shyatt established in the program, but has said the Cowboys may play more aggressive in the future to take advantage of the highest NCAA Division I court in the nation.
Similarly, on the floor, the Pokes lose Associated Press All-American Josh Adams to graduation, but return four starters from a squad that was the fourth-youngest in the nation in 2015-16. They will be led by Jason McManamen, who will be one of just two seniors for Wyoming in 2016-17. He looks to be up to the task after a junior season that saw him emerge as one of the top three-point shooters in the Mountain West and the NCAA. His team-high 45 percent beyond the arc ranked first in the conference and 10th in the NCAA, while his 3.0 triples per game were second and 25th, respectively. Teamwise, the Pokes made 10.1 threes per game last season for ninth in the nation. Edwards, McManamen and company will look to build on a 14-18 overall record last season, especially in close games, as 17 of their contests in 2015-16 were decided by single digits.
The 2016-17 Trojans are coming off a 21-13 season and their first NCAA Tournament appearance since 2011. USC returns all five starters and six of its top seven scorers from the team that finished 19th in the country by averaging 80.5 points per game. DePaul returns three of its top four scorers from this past season led by senior guard Billy Garrett Jr. Garrett who averaged 12.6 points and 3.5 assists per game during his junior campaign. Missouri State head coach Paul Lusk returns four starters for his sixth season at the helm of the Bears, including two of the top four returning scorers in the Missouri Valley Conference.
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) and SMU (2015) last season's champion.
FOX Sports 1 televises the Continental Tire Las Vegas Classic third-place and championship games on Wednesday, Dec. 23. FOX Sports runs all aspects of the Continental Tire Las Vegas Classic and Las Vegas Invitational ranging from ticket sales, sponsorships and television production.
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. Hosting more than 200 events each year, the Orleans Arena is located just west of the Las Vegas strip and was recently named the No. 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 beginning on Friday, April 29 (888-234-2334 or 702-284-7777) and via the internet at Orleansarena.com.
About Continental Tire
Based in Fort Mill, S.C., Continental Tire the Americas, LLC manufactures and distributes a complete premium line of passenger, light truck and commercial tires for original equipment and replacement markets. Our ultra-high, performance tires include award-winning technologies that focus on safety, help save money, and reduce CO2 emissions. Continental’s premium products are available at leading independent tire dealers, car dealers, and mass retail companies across North America. Continental Tire is a proud supporter of IMSA, Major League Soccer (MLS), West Coast Customs, World Racing, Lingenfelter Performance Engineering, and Petty’s Garage.