Highlights include home game vs. perennial power Cincinnati, renewed rivalry vs. BYU and Christmas tournament in Hawaii
LAS VEGAS (UNLVRebels.com) – UNLV Athlet
ics announced its opponents and dates for the non–conference portion of its 2018-19 men’s basketball schedule Thur sday. The program’s Mountain West slate was announced earlier this month.
The Runnin’ Rebels’ schedule is highlighted by a date with perennial NCAA Tournament qualifier Cincinnati, a renewed rivalry game vs. BYU at T-Mobile Arena on the World Famous Las Vegas Strip, and a holiday tournament in Hawaii over Christmas.
Head Coach Marvin Menzies, who is entering his third season leading the UNLV program, brought in a recruiting class last year that was ranked as high as No. 12 in the country and followed with the No. 2-ranked class in the Mountain West this year.
“We are excited about our schedule for the upcoming season,” Menzies said. “It has a balance of quality games both at home and on the road and will provide us with some great opportunities regarding RPI. It will also prepare us well for the always tough, competitive Mountain West season.”
UNLV will open the 2018-19 campaign by playing its first eight games in Las Vegas, all at the Thomas & Mack Center. After an exhibition game vs. Montana State-Billings on Friday, Nov. 2, the Runnin’ Rebels will open the regular season vs. Loyola Marymount on Saturday, Nov. 10. UC Riverside follows on Tuesday, Nov. 13, then Oakland on Friday, Nov. 16, Pacific on Tuesday, Nov. 20, Southern Utah on Friday, Nov. 23 (coached by former UNLV assistant and former interim head coach Todd Simon) and Valparaiso as part of the Mountain West-Missouri Valley Challenge on Wednesday, Nov. 28.
The marquee non-conference matchup of the season at the Thomas & Mack Center will be on Saturday, Dec. 1 vs. Cincinnati. The Bearcats, coached by Mick Cronin, have played in each of the last eight NCAA Tournaments and are coming off a 31-5 overall record last season. Last year’s American Athletic Conference regular-season and tournament champions earned a No. 2 seed in the Big Dance, advancing to the second round.
While the National Finals Rodeo takes over the Thomas & Mack Center for a couple of weeks, UNLV will hit the road for the first time on Saturday, Dec. 8, playing at Illinois before returning to Las Vegas to face BYU at T-Mobile Arena on Saturday, Dec. 15. The former MW foe won 24 games last season, finishing third in the West Coast Conference behind nationally ranked Gonzaga and St. Mary’s. The Cougars earned a bid to the National Invitation Tournament. It will be the first time UNLV and BYU meet on the hardwood since 2011.
Runnin’ Rebel season ticket holders will have the opportunity to purchase discounted tickets to the game at T-Mobile Arena, which will be a doubleheader (LSU-St. Mary’s is the other game). Further details will be announced at a later date.
The Runnin’ Rebels’ final non-conference action of the season will take place in Honolulu at the Diamond Head Classic with games scheduled for Saturday, Dec. 22, Sunday, Dec. 23 and Tuesday, Dec. 25. The eight-team event will also include Charlotte, Colorado, Indiana State, Rhode Island, St. Mary’s, TCU and Hawaii. The field includes two NCAA Tournament teams from last season (Rhode Island and TCU) and an NIT participant (St. Mary’s). The bracket is scheduled to be announced in July.
UNLV‘s Mountain West schedule will begin Wednesday, Jan. 2 vs. Colorado State at the Thomas & Mack Center.
All game times and television appearances will be announced at a later date.
PURCHASE TICKETS: Tickets for the 2018-19 Runnin’ Rebel season are on sale now. Purchase at UNLVtickets.com, 702-739-FANS (3267) or at the Thomas & Mack Center Box Office.
UNLV IN 2018-19: Head Coach Marvin Menzies enters his third season at the helm of the program in 2018-19. The Runnin’ Rebels return seven players plus two transfer redshirts from their 20-win season in 2017-18. It marked a nine-game improvement in the win column from the previous year and was UNLV‘s first 20-win season since 2013-14. The program’s 2018 recruiting class includes four newcomers and has been ranked No. 2 in the Mountain West.