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Knowing about everything in Vegas is part work and part obsession with me. I currently have about 5,000 headlines about Vegas and gambling that I read over every week to make sure nothing gets by me. A lot of the news is redundant or news based off of old news so browsing the info is slightly less daunting than it sounds. That said it still takes time but that’s time where I can work in a casino or at the pool so it’s not so bad. Most of the things I find interesting are shared on social media or re-purposed for ideas to be used at a later date.
That brings me to a handful of college basketball tournaments coming to Vegas for the holidays in November and December. Most people aren’t thinking about the college hoops season yet since we haven’t even started college football season. However, these tournaments need teams and venues so information is bound to trickle out.
A great way to save money on hotel rooms in Vegas is to book before events are officially announced. Remember the chaos the day after Mayweather vs. Pacquiao was announced? Smart people already had rooms reserved since the first Saturday in May is always a big boxing match. This just happened to be the biggest ever. If you’re thinking about a Vegas vacation around the holidays it’s good to be thinking about it already.
Last week UNLV released their non-conference game schedule. The official schedule was delayed as UNLV was negotiating to play an off-campus game against Oregon at the MGM Grand Garden Arena on December 4. As of right now this is listed as both a neutral site game (last year’s off campus game for UNLV at MGM Grand against Utah drew a 50/50 crowd to make it feel like a real neutral crowd and not just an off campus home game) for UNLV and a tournament called the MGM Grand Showcase. In the end it may just be this one game. We’ll see.
This game is happening when the National Final Rodeo is in Vegas so you may want to get a jump on hotel rooms, show tickets or restaurant reservations. Believe it or not the rodeo sells out almost every night and this is the second most expensive weekend of the month for hotel rooms. Show tickets and dining reservations will also be tight as we get closer to the NFR which takes place December 3-12.
Teams have been announced but a schedule hasn’t officially been made availavle for more holiday hoops action at the MGM Grand. The MGM Grand Main Event on November 23 and 25 will reportedly feature Rutgers v. Creighton and Clemson v. UMass on the 23rd with winners playing on the 25th. The website for the tournament also lists Central Arkansas, Howard, Texas Southern and UTSA as taking part in the tournament. Once again tickets for the games aren’t on sale yet and this will be a busy week in Vegas since Thanksgiving falls on November 26.
The South Point Holiday Hoops Classic takes place December 22-23. Teams rumored to be playing in this event include colleges from all over the country like the Akron Zips (MAC), Iona Gaels (MAAC), Tulane Green Wave (American) and UCSB Gauchos (Big West). Tickets for the games aren’t available yet and the matchups haven’t been announced but here are a few things to know. This is probably the least busy week of the year in Vegas. You should be able to get cheap hotel rates and access to show tickets, nightclubs and restaurant reservations you may normally not be able to get. If you stay at the South Point you’ll have easy access to one of the best race and sports book combinations anywhere in Vegas.
The 15th annual Continental Tire Las Vegas Invitational finals will take place at the Orleans Arena on November 26-27. This year’s field includes: West Virginia, Richmond, San Diego State, California, Sam Houston State, Bethune-Cookman, University of Arkansas-Little Rock, Stetson and East Carolina. The first two rounds take place at on-campus sites and the final two rounds at the Orleans Arena. Two-day ticket packages are available to the finals on the Orleans Arena website. This tournament final lands on Thanksgiving so you might want to get ahead of the masses and make reservations now.
Most of the attention for college hoops in Vegas surrounds the first weekend of March Madness and the end of the season college conference tournaments. Holiday tournaments in Vegas aren’t exactly a new thing but it’s a great excuse to visit Vegas – especially if you’re an alumnus of one of the the schools playing.