LAS VEGAS – Four 20-win teams highlight the fields for the third-annual MGM Grand Main Event tournament, which consists of two four-team brackets to be played November 21-23 at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas. The Heavyweight Bracket includes Alabama, BYU, Saint Louis and Valparaiso while the Middleweight Bracket will feature Ball State, Coastal Carolina, Coppin State and Southern Utah. Tickets for the event, starting at $25 per session, are scheduled to go on sale Wednesday, Aug. 17 at noon PT.
“Year over year we continue to grow the MGM Grand Main Event with top quality programs,” said Brooks Downing, president of bd Global (www.bdglobalsports.com), the event promoter. “This year there’s so many storylines, all of which adds an extra layer of intrigue to our event: from BYU’s first appearance in the tournament and its strong fan base, to Saint Louis coach Travis Ford whom has never lost at the MGM Grand Garden Arena, to the return of Coach Todd Simon with his new squad at Southern Utah.”
The full schedule for the tournament games at MGM Grand is as follows:
Monday, Nov. 21
12:30 p.m. – Ball State vs. Coppin State
3 p.m. – Coastal Carolina vs. Southern Utah
Wednesday, Nov. 23
12:30 p.m. – Ball State vs. Southern Utah
Monday, Nov. 21
6:30 p.m. – Saint Louis vs. BYU
9:00 p.m. – Alabama vs. Valparaiso
Wednesday, Nov. 23
6:30 p.m. – Consolation Game
9:00 p.m. – Championship Game (ESPN2)
The championship belt, one of the most unique trophies in college basketball, will be hotly contested among the Heavyweight teams. BYU won 26 games last season and will be the local favorite given its strong alumni base in the region. Second-year coach Avery Johnson is leading the resurgence at Alabama and has immediately upgraded the talent for the Crimson Tide. A pair of new coaches will lead Saint Louis and Valparaiso. Ford, the former Oklahoma State coach, is unbeaten at MGM Grand after leading OSU to the Heavyweight championship in the inaugural Main Event in 2014 and to an MGM Grand Showcase victory over Colorado in 2013. Matt Lottich takes over a Valpo team that won a school-record 30 games last season.
Alabama’s Avery Johnson said, “We wanted to find a tournament that will challenge us in the non-conference portion of our schedule and the MGM Grand Main Event in Las Vegas will do just that. We open against a very good Valparaiso team and then we will play either BYU or Saint Louis, so this is going to be a good test for us. We are looking forward to being a part of this event.”
BYU coach Dave Rose echoed those sentiments as he looks to lead his Cougars to the NCAA Tournament for the ninth time in 12 seasons in Provo. “We are very excited to have our team participate in the MGM Grand Main Event in Las Vegas this fall. It will be a great opportunity for our young team to play some high quality competition and get ready for our league schedule.”
The Middleweight division features a modified schedule in Vegas headlined by two teams that won 21 games a year ago in Coastal Carolina and Ball State. Former UNLV Associate Head Coach Todd Simon also returns to the Valley as the new head coach of Southern Utah.
Prior to the games in Vegas, a slate of “Undercard Games” will be played at home sites:
- Friday, Nov. 11 – Ball State @ Saint Louis
- Friday, Nov. 11 – Coastal Carolina @ Alabama
- Friday, Nov. 11 – Southern Utah @ Valparaiso
- Monday, Nov. 14 – Coppin State @ Valparaiso
- Monday, Nov. 14 – Southern Utah @ Saint Louis
- Wednesday, Nov. 16 – Coppin State @ Coastal Carolina*
- Thursday, Nov. 17 – Coppin State @ BYU
- Friday, Nov. 18 – Ball State @ Alabama
- Saturday, Nov. 19 – Coastal Carolina @ BYU
*Due to a late scheduling conflict, this game was originally to have been played in Las Vegas but now will be played at Coastal Carolina.
Ticket and Hotel Information
Tickets go on sale Wednesday, Aug. 17 at noon PT and can be purchased at the MGM Grand box office, MGMGrand.com, AXS.com, MGMGrandMainEvent.com or by calling 888-9AXS-TIX. Hotel rooms at MGM Grand are also available for fans at the tournament rate with booking info available at MGMGrandMainEvent.com.
For complete information, visit www.mgmgrandmainevent.com or follow on Twitter at @NeonHoops.