Bo Ryan and the Badgers will be spending Thanksgiving weekend in Vegas.
The University of Wisconsin men's basketball team will join Creighton, Arkansas and Arizona State in the semifinals of the Las Vegas Invitational on Nov. 23-24, with matchups for the games at Orleans Arena yet to be determined.
The tournament officially begins with the Badgers facing a pair of unspecified teams at the Kohl Center in the week leading up to the main event — possibilities reportedly include Cornell, Florida A&M, Longwood and Presbyterian — but Wisconsin is guaranteed the Vegas games regardless of the outcome of the preliminary contests.
That's the same format employed last season by the Chicago Invitational Challenge, in which the Badgers defeated Wofford and Missouri-Kansas City in Madison before downing Bradley and BYU in Hoffman Estates, Ill., to claim the title.
Previous Thanksgiving destinations for the Badgers have included the Paradise Jam (St. Thomas, 2008), the Maui Invitational (2009) and the Old Spice Classic (Orlando, Fla., 2010).
Wisconsin returns four starters from a team that went 26-10 and advanced to the Sweet 16 of the NCAA tournament, but it'll have to replace All-American guard Jordan Taylor.
The potential opponent in the Las Vegas Invitational field sure to attract the most attention is Creighton, which is coming off a season in which it went 29-6 to match a school record for victories and qualified for the NCAA tournament. The Bluejays return nine of their top 10 scorers, including first-team All-American in Doug McDermott, who averaged 22.9 points and 8.2 rebounds per game.
Notably, Creighton is one of the potential landing sites for Jarrod Uthoff, who in April announced his intentions to transfer from UW. However, Uthoff is not eligible to play at another Division I school next season, per NCAA transfer rules.
Arkansas enters its second season under coach Mike Anderson after going 18-14 last year with wins over three ranked teams: Vanderbilt, Mississippi State and Michigan. The Razorbacks return 77 percent of their scoring and 73 percent of their rebounding from a year ago, including second-team All-SEC guard BJ Young.
Arizona State, one of just nine schools in the country without a senior on its roster, is coming off a 10-21 season. The Sun Devils' top player, Trent Lockett, opted to transfer to Marquette following his mother's cancer diagnosis.
UW athletic department donors may request tickets through Thursday, either online at UWBadgers.com or by calling the school's ticket office at 1-800-GO BADGERS.
Remaining tickets will go on sale Saturday through the Orleans Arena at (702) 284-7777, or on the web at www.orleansarena.com.