LAS VEGAS (UNLVRebels.com) – UNLV Athletics announced the non-conference portion of its 2020-21 men’s basketball schedule Wednesday.
Highlighted by home games against Pac-12 Conference members UCLA and California, a trip to Hawaii for the Maui Invitational and road contests at Kansas State, VCU and SMU, the Runnin’ Rebels can play up to six teams collectively from the Atlantic Coast Conference, Big Ten Conference, Big 12 Conference, Pac-12 and Southeastern Conference.
The strongest non-conference schedule for the Runnin’ Rebels in five years (based on 2019-20 final NET Rankings), the upcoming slate is also an improvement over last year’s according to KPI, BPI, POM and SAG statistical rankings. UNLV will have an opportunity to play up to six Quadrant 1 or 2 games (also based on 2019-20 final NET Rankings). The last two seasons, UNLV played in just three games each vs. Quad 1 or 2 opponents.
“Our schedule will be challenging with high-level games at home, on the road and on a neutral court in Maui,” said UNLV head coach T.J. Otzelberger, who last season led the Runnin’ Rebels to their most Mountain West wins and highest league finish in 12 years by tying for second in his first year at the helm of the program. “Those are opportunities we will embrace as we continue to move our program forward.”
The Runnin’ Rebels’ 2020-21 season will begin with five straight games at the Thomas & Mack Center starting with an exhibition contest against Chaminade on Friday, November 6.
The regular-season opener will take place Tuesday, November 10 against Montana State followed by a visit from Cal on Saturday, November 14. It will mark the fifth time Cal has played at UNLV as the Runnin’ Rebels own a 3-1 all-time mark against the Golden Bears at home. UNLV will look to avenge its overtime loss last season in Berkeley, California.
The Runnin’ Rebels will host their most anticipated home game of the non-conference season on Tuesday, November 17 vs. UCLA. The Bruins finished second in the Pac-12 last season, just one game back of league champion Oregon. It will mark UCLA’s third visit to the Thomas & Mack Center and first since 1997. The Rebels played the Bruins in Westwood last November.
The season-opening homestand will conclude with a game against Benedictine Mesa on Friday, November 20 before heading to Hawaii.
The Maui Jim Maui Invitational will be up next, scheduled to be played Monday-Wednesday, November 23-25. One of the sport’s most prestigious events, this year’s field includes North Carolina from the ACC, Indiana from the Big Ten, Texas from the Big 12, Stanford from the Pac-12, Providence from the Big East Conference and Davidson from the Atlantic 10 Conference. Each of UNLV’s possible opponents in the event were ranked in the top 80 in last season’s final NET ranking.
UNLV’s appearance in the Maui Invitational will mark its first since 2015. The 2020 tournament field boasts a combined 214 NCAA Tournament appearances, 39 Final Four berths and 13 national championships.
The Runnin’ Rebels will return home to host Whittier College on Saturday, November 28, then head back on the road to take on VCU as part of the inaugural Mountain West-Atlantic 10 Challenge Series. It will mark the first meeting between the two programs.
UNLV will continue its road trip with a game at Kansas State on Saturday, December 5. It will mark just the Runnin’ Rebels’ second time playing at Bramlage Coliseum in Manhattan. UNLV hosted K-State last November, falling in overtime.
The Runnin’ Rebels then return home for their final homestand of the non-conference season vs. Florida A&M on Wednesday, December 16 and Omaha on Saturday, December 19.
The non-conference slate will conclude with a road game at SMU on Tuesday, December 22. It will mark UNLV’s first time playing at Moody Coliseum in Dallas since the two schools were both members of the Western Athletic Conference in 1999.
The Mountain West schedule will be announced at a later date. All game times and television appearances will be shared upon confirmation.
Click here for the 2020-21 schedule on UNLVRebels.com
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UNLV Men’s Basketball’s 2020-21 Non-Conference Schedule
Fri., Nov. 6 | Chaminade (exhibition) | Thomas & Mack Center
Tues., Nov. 10 | Montana State | Thomas & Mack Center
Sat., Nov. 14 | California | Thomas & Mack Center
Tues., Nov. 17 | UCLA | Thomas & Mack Center
Fri., Nov. 20 | Benedictine Mesa | Thomas & Mack Center
Mon., Nov. 23 | at Maui Invitational # | Lahaina, Hawaii
Tues., Nov. 24 | at Maui Invitational # | Lahaina, Hawaii
Wed., Nov. 25 | at Maui Invitational # | Lahaina, Hawaii
Sat., Nov. 28 | Whittier College | Thomas & Mack Center
Wed., Dec. 2 | at VCU ^ | Richmond, Virginia
Sat., Dec. 5 | at Kansas State | Manhattan, Kansas
Wed., Dec. 16 | Florida A&M | Thomas & Mack Center
Sat., Dec. 19 | Omaha | Thomas & Mack Center
Tues., Dec. 22 | at SMU | Dallas, Texas