Sports

Boise State men's basketball to play in pre-Christmas tournament in Las Vegas

Boise State guard Mikey Thompson (1) drives and scores over Nevada players Michael Perez (23) and Deonte Burton (24) during the first half of the game at Taco Bell Arena on the campus of Boise State. Nevada defeated Boise State 83-81 in double overtime. (Wednesday March 5, 2014)
Boise State guard Mikey Thompson (1) drives and scores over Nevada players Michael Perez (23) and Deonte Burton (24) during the first half of the game at Taco Bell Arena on the campus of Boise State. Nevada defeated Boise State 83-81 in double overtime. (Wednesday March 5, 2014) kgreen@idahostatesman.com

The Boise State men's basketball team will play in another destination nonconference tournament this season.

After playing in the Diamond Head Classic in Honolulu last December, the Broncos announced Friday they will take part in the Las Vegas Classic on Dec. 22 and 23 at the Orleans Arena.

Boise State opens up against Houston at 8:30 p.m. MT. The Broncos will then play either Texas Tech or Loyola (Chicago) on Dec. 23, with the losers of the first day's games facing one another, as will the winners. Like last season when the football team played in the Hawaii Bowl, it could be a Boise State sports road trip, as the Mountain West-affiliated Las Vegas Bowl will be played Dec. 20.

Houston is coached by Kelvin Sampson, who reached 13 NCAA Tournaments with Washington State, Oklahoma and Indiana from 1987-2008. He was hired at Houston in April. Houston was 17-16 last season.

The Broncos also could face Texas Tech, which is coached by Tubby Smith, coach of the 1998 national champion Kentucky Wildcats and has reached 17 NCAA Tournaments with four schools. He will enter his second season with the Red Raiders after going 14-18 in 2013-14.

Loyola, a member of the Missouri Valley Conference, went 10-22 last season.

Also as part of the tournament, the Broncos will host Abilene Christian and Southern Utah in Boise, dates still to be announced. Southern Utah and Abilene Christian will also compete at the Orleans Arena, joined by South Carolina State and Arkansas Pine Bluff, for the early games on Dec. 22 and 23.

The Broncos' nonconference schedule is taking shape, though there are still a few games to be announced. Boise State coach Leon Rice said Tuesday the team will play at North Carolina State the day after Thanksgiving. The Broncos also will face Idaho at CenturyLink Arena during the week of Thanksgiving and will play at Saint Mary's.

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