LAS VEGAS (UNLVRebels.com) – UNLV men’s basketball will begin its 2020-21 season with a home game at the Thomas & Mack Center on Wednesday, November 25, as the athletics department announced the program’s full revised schedule Tuesday.
Montana State will visit Las Vegas for the first time since 2007 for the season opener before the Runnin’ Rebels travel to Asheville, North Carolina, to compete in the Maui Invitational. One of college basketball’s most prestigious events, the tournament is annually held at Lahaina Civic Center, but was moved this year because of the COVID-19 pandemic and will be played at Harrah’s Cherokee Center – Asheville from November 30-December 2.
“We are thankful for the opportunity to compete and look forward to getting our season started,” UNLV men’s basketball head coach T.J. Otzelberger said. “Many challenges have been presented during this offseason but we have learned to adjust and adapt throughout while following all health and safety guidelines and protocols. Our non-conference schedule will prepare us for a unique and competitive Mountain West season.”
UNLV opens the Maui Invitational against North Carolina, which is ranked No. 16 in the Associated Press’ preseason poll, at 4 p.m. PT on Monday, November 30, then will either face Stanford or Alabama on Tuesday, December 1 at 1 p.m. PT or 6:30 p.m. PT. The other four teams in the field are Davidson, Indiana, Providence and No. 19 Texas. UNLV will close out tournament play on Wednesday, December 2 against one of those remaining four squads. All Maui Invitational games will be televised on ESPN, ESPN2 or ESPNU.
This will be the Runnin’ Rebels’ first meeting with North Carolina since 2012, when UNLV visited Chapel Hill, suffering a 79-73 loss. The year prior, UNLV shocked the nation with an upset of the No. 1-ranked Tar Heels, 90-80, in the Las Vegas Invitational at Orleans Arena. UNLV has never played Alabama in men’s basketball and hasn’t faced Stanford since 2014.
The Runnin’ Rebels will continue on the road, playing at Kansas State on Saturday, December 5. The game will be a rematch of last year’s 60-56 overtime loss to the Wildcats at the Thomas & Mack Center. UNLV is 4-3 all-time against K-State and 1-1 all-time in Manhattan, Kansas.
UNLV will return home for its final two games of the non-conference slate, Wednesday, December 9 vs. Eastern Washington and Monday, December 14 vs. Pepperdine. The Runnin’ Rebels are 2-0 all-time vs. EWU with the last meeting occurring in 2017 and are 16-6 all-time against the Waves with the most-recent meeting taking place in 2015.
The MW announced changes to its schedule format on November 9, emphasizing health and safety, while significantly reducing travel. The conference slate, also announced Tuesday, includes 20 games for each team that will play out over 11 weeks. In the new format, teams will face each other in a two-game series in the same week with a one-day break between contests. Each institution will have five home and five road series with league play beginning in December and concluding the last week of February.
The Runnin’ Rebels will open Mountain West play on the road at Wyoming, Sunday, December 20, and Tuesday, December 22, with their first league contests of the season occurring at home against San Diego State on Thursday, December 31, and Saturday, January 2. UNLV will also host New Mexico, Utah State, Air Force and Fresno State, while traveling to Colorado State, UNR, Boise State and San Jose State.
The Mountain West Tournament will again take place at the Thomas & Mack Center, Wednesday-Saturday, March 10-13.
It was announced Monday that the beginning of the season will be played without fans in attendance. UNLV Athletics will stay abreast of developments and health recommendations to determine if fans are able to attend home basketball games as the season progresses.
Additional game times and television appearances will be announced when confirmed.
Click here to access the full schedule.