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NU Basketball to Play In Las Vegas Invitational with UCLA, Missouri, Nevada

As we reported yesterday, Northwestern will play in the 2013 Las Vegas Invitational on Nov. 29 and 30 for its annual preseason tournament. Now, Jeff Goodman of CBS Sports also has tweeted that NU will be playing in Las Vegas, along with UCLA, Missouri and Nevada.

The Las Vegas Invitational will clearly be a step up for the NU program, which has been to the South Padre Invitational and the Charleston Classic the last two years. It will be a step up in competition and a step up in exposure — last year’s Las Vegas Invitational was broadcast on ESPN 2, while the South Padre Invitational was broadcast on the little-watched CBS Sports Network. NU will be playing at least two of those three teams — semifinal and championship/consolation game — so it will get an elite opponent no matter what.

This year's non-conferenece slate is shaping up to be a tough one for the Wildcats, who are no doubt trying to create excitement in the program's first year under Chris Collins. In addition to Vegas, NU has games at Stanford and Butler. The Wildcats will also play an ACC/Big Ten Challenge game. NU may also bring in another high-profile opponent to try to drum up early-season fan support, since that has typically been the goal of the athletic department — it would make even more sense this year. Stay tuned for when the full schedule is announced, likely next week.