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Wichita State to meet Arizona in Roman Main Event

Wichita State interim head coach Isaac Brown applauds his team in an 81-43 win over Newman...
Wichita State interim head coach Isaac Brown applauds his team in an 81-43 win over Newman Wednesday, December 30, 2020.(Shocker Athletics)
Published: Aug. 10, 2021 at 2:54 PM CDT
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Matchups and tipoff times are officially set for the 2021 Roman Main Event at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nev., event promoter bdG Sports announced Tuesday afternoon.

Wichita State will face Arizona in the first of two semifinal games on Friday, Nov. 19. The Shockers and Wildcats tip at 9 p.m. CT (7 p.m. PT) on ESPNU, followed by UNLV and Michigan (11:30 p.m. CT/9:30 p.m. PT on ESPN2).

The winners clash in the championship game on Sunday, Nov. 21 beginning at 8:30 p.m. CT (6:30 p.m. PT) on ESPN, followed by the third-place game (11 p.m. CT/9 p.m. PT on ESPN2).

The Roman Main Event launched in 2014 with a portion of proceeds benefiting the NABC’s Coaches vs. Cancer initiative.

Tickets (which include access to both games on a given day) start at $29-per-day, with all-session packages available starting at $49 (prices are inclusive of tax and facility fee). Tickets can be purchased at tmobilearena.com or axs.com.

Complete tournament information can be found at romanmainevent.com and on social media @VegasMainEvent. Tournament hotel rates are available now via the website. Rates are available for ARIA, Park MGM, MGM Grand and New York-New York. All results are a short walking distance from T-Mobile Arena.

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2021 Roman Main Event

T-Mobile Arena | Las Vegas, Nev.

Friday, Nov. 19

Semifinal 1: Wichita State vs. Arizona (9 p.m. CT, ESPNU)

Semifinal 2: UNLV vs. Michigan (11:30 p.m. CT, ESPN2)

Sunday, Nov. 21

Championship: Semifinal Winners (8:30 p.m. CT, ESPN)

Consolation: Semifinal Losers (11 p.m. CT, ESPN2)

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Wichita State (16-6, 11-2 American, NCAA NET: 70) returns three starters, including American Athletic Conference Co-Player of the Year, Tyson Etienne, from a team that won the conference regular season title and advanced to NCAA tournament play.

The Shockers last played in Las Vegas in December of 2006 as part of the Las Vegas Invitational, dropping close games to New Mexico and USC. Their only other visit was a January, 1979 road game at UNLV inside the Las Vegas Convention Center.

Arizona (17-9, 11-9 Pac-12, NCAA NET: 32) begins a new era under former Gonzaga assistant, Tommy Lloyd.

The team’s last met in the 2016 NCAA tournament – a 65-55 Shocker victory in Providence, R.I. – and lead the all-time series, 2-1. The teams also met in 1951 in Tucson and 1954 in Wichita with each side successfully defending its home court.

UNLV (10-15, 8-10 MWC, NCAA NET: 189) also has a new look with head coach Kevin Kruger and a roster featuring six transfers.

The Shockers hold a 3-1 mark against UNLV. The teams met twice in Wichita in MVC-MWC Challenge Series matchups. On Dec. 4, 2011, WSU upset the 18th-ranked Runnin’ Rebels, 89-70, at Charles Koch Arena behind 31 points from Joe Ragland. Four years later, the Shockers won a defensive battle, 56-50, led by 17 points from senior All-American Fred VanVleet.

Michigan (23-5, 14-3 Big Ten, NCAA NET: 3) enters the 2021-22 season with high expectations. Coach Juwan Howard has the nation’s top-recruiting class, per 247sports, and is ranked No. 5 in Sports Illustrated’s mid-summer top-25. The Wolverines are the defending Big Ten regular season and tournament champs and are fresh off an Elite Eight appearance.

WSU and Michigan have split six meetings all-time, the last coming during the 1983-84 season. In 1976, the Wolverines won a first-round NCAA tournament matchup in Denton, Texas, 74-73, on Rickey Green’s 20-foot jumper with six seconds to play. The sides waged a high-profile battle on Dec. 8, 1965 in Detroit, with second-ranked Michigan nipped No. 1 WSU, 87-85. The Shockers swept three matchups in Wichita in 1956, 1960 and 1965.

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