LAS VEGAS – NCAA Tournament finalist San Diego State will make its first appearance at T-Mobile Arena next season when it tips off in the Continental Tire Main Event. The Aztecs will be joined by Xavier, Washington and Saint Mary’s in the four-team tournament which will be played Friday, Nov. 17 and Sunday, Nov. 19, during one of the grandest weekends in Las Vegas history when Formula 1 also comes to The Strip.
Since launching in 2014, the Continental Tire Main Event has blossomed into one of the premier early season tournaments in all of college basketball. Virginia won last season’s tournament, beating Illinois and catapulting the Cavaliers to a national top-five ranking. The event benefits Coaches vs. Cancer, an initiative spearheaded by the National Association of Basketball Coaches (www.nabc.com) and the American Cancer Society (www.cancer.org) and is managed by veteran Las Vegas promoter bdG Sports.
Xavier advanced to the Sweet 16 in last year’s tournament and finished No. 13 in the AP Top 25. St. Mary’s lost in the round of 32 to eventual national champ UConn, and finished #19 in the nation. But it’s the Aztecs who burst on the national scene, finishing the season 32-7 after making its magical run to the national championship game. SDSU is projected to return four of the top six scorers from last year’s team and add the reigning Pac-12 Sixth Player of the Year in USC transfer Reese Dixon-Waters.
“With such a strong field, we are excited to compete in the Continental Tires Main Event,” said San Diego State head coach Brian Dutcher. “The tournament will give us a good barometer as to where our team stands early in the season. We’ve had a lot of success playing in Las Vegas over the years, know our fans will be there to support us and look forward to our first games in T-Mobile Arena.”
Xavier welcomed back head coach Sean Miller a year ago and the hire immediately paid dividends. The Musketeers won 27 games and advanced to the NCAA Tournament Sweet 16.
“The Continental Tire Main Event in Las Vegas will be an incredible pre-season tournament for our basketball program to compete in and for our fans to enjoy watching,” said Miller. “T-Mobile Arena is a tremendous venue for college basketball. The field includes three successful programs in San Diego State, St. Mary’s and Washington. We look forwarding to competing with these programs in Las Vegas.”
Last season, Saint Mary’s spent the second half of the season in the top-25 en route to capturing a share of the WCC regular-season title and earning a No. 5 seed in the NCAA Tournament. The Gaels are projected to once again be a top-25 program, returning four of the top five scorers from last season.
“It’s great to be featured in this year’s Continental Tire Main Event,” said Saint Mary’s head coach Randy Bennett. “One of the teams in last year’s National Championship game is in the field, so the competition is always great. It tests us for March, and that’s the goal of getting into these types of events.”
Washington is no stranger to Las Vegas as the Huskies have played eight games at T-Mobile Arena over the past six years as part of the Pac-12 Tournament and other early season events. Mike Hopkins’ squad will be bolstered by Kentucky transfer Sahvir Wheeler, the SEC’s assists leader in 2020-21 and 2021-22.
“We are excited to play in such a prestigious tournament,” said Washington head coach Mike Hopkins. “The possibility of playing three teams that were all in the top-20 of the NET last season is incredible. This will be a great test to see where our team stands and where we have to go.”
Tickets for the two-day tournament range from $35 to $499 for courtside seats per day (prices are inclusive of tax and facility fee) and can be purchased starting Friday, June 30 at 10 a.m. PT at www.tmobilearena.com or www.axs.com as well as the AXS app. First-round games will be played Friday, Nov. 17 with the consolation and championship games tipping Sunday, Nov. 19. Tickets will allow access to both games on the given day.
Fans also can now book rooms at one of the many resort properties within walking distance of T-Mobile Arena by visiting www.continentaltiremainevent.com. Pairings and game times will be announced soon and the event will be nationally televised on ESPN networks.
Fans can find the latest tournament news by following @VegasMainEvent on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat and TikTok.