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Men’s Basketball: Michigan State set to play UCLA in Las Vegas Invitational

Syracuse v Michigan State Photo by Elsa/Getty Images

Football season is nearly here, but we have some big basketball news today. We already knew the Michigan State Spartans would be participating in the 2018 Continental Tire Las Vegas Invitational. We now know who MSU’s first matchup in Vegas is:

The Spartans will take on the UCLA Bruins on Thursday, Nov. 22 in Orleans Arena. Spartan fans will need to stay up late for this contest, as tip-off is set for 10 p.m. EST at the Paradise, Nevada venue.

The other two teams in the invitational, North Carolina and Texas, will square off at 7:30 p.m. EST on Thursday. The winners will meet for the championship game the following night, Friday, Nov. 23, at 6:30 p.m. EST. The two losing teams will also play each other at 4:00 p.m. that day.

This is the 18th edition of the Las Vegas Invitational, and it will be the first appearance for the Spartans. It will also be the ninth ever meeting between MSU and UCLA. The Bruins lead the all-time series 6-2. The two teams last battled in the Round of 64 at the 2011 NCAA Tournament, with UCLA squeaking by with a 78-76 win.

The game against UCLA is technically a third-round matchup. The official release states that the invitational actually consists of four games for each team — two of which will be played at on-campus sites, with the final two games in Vegas. The first two opponents are not known at this time.

This challenge will add to an already tough non-conference schedule for the Spartans, which includes an opening game against Kansas (Champions Classic in Indianapolis), a game at Louisville and a December matchup at Florida.

What are your thoughts?