UNI Men's Hoops to Play Vegas - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

UNI Men's Hoops to Play Vegas

The University of Northern Iowa men's basketball team will take part in the 10th annual Las Vegas Classic this December.

The tournament field includes Indiana, Colorado, New Mexico, Longwood, South Carolina State, Southern Illinois-Edwardsville and The Citadel.

Each team will play four games - the first two at campus sites and the final two rounds at the beautiful Orleans Arena in Las Vegas on Dec. 22 and 23.

UNI (30-5 in 2009-2010) returns two starters and seven of its top 10 scorers from last year's Sweet 16 appearance. The Panthers won a school-record 30 games in notching back-to-back Missouri Valley Conference regular and tournament titles. Indiana University (10-21) makes its first trip to Las Vegas with all five starters returning, led by junior guard Verdell Jones III (14.9 ppg) and Big Ten freshman of the year forward Christian Watford (12 ppg). The Hoosiers will also welcome back sensational scoring guard, sophomore Maurice Creek (16.4 ppg), who suffered a season ending injury after playing only 12 games his freshman season.

New Mexico is coming off a 30-5 season when it advanced to the second round of the NCAA tournament for the first time since 1999 and set numerous school records, including most wins. Head coach Steve Alford was named Mountain West Conference Coach of the year for the 2nd straight season and he finished 3rd in the balloting for AP National coach of the year. The Lobos return one of the nation's best points guards in senior Dairese Gary (12.8 ppg).

The University of Colorado returns all five starters which finished 15-16 and had its best season in five years. The Buffaloes are led by Big 12 freshman of the year Alec Burks, who scored a school freshman record 512 points (17.1 ppg). All-Big 12 performer senior guard Cory Higgins has led the team in scoring the last two years and he ranks ninth all-time on the CU scoring list (1,391 points). CU will be led by first-year head coach Tad Boyle.

Tickets for the final rounds in Las Vegas can be purchased at the UNI athletic ticket office by calling (319) 273-4849 or by visiting UNIPanthers.com.

Tickets can also be purchased starting Sat., June 26 by calling the Box Office at the Orleans Arena (702) 284-7777, or on the web at www.orleansarena.com.

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