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UNLV basketball released its non-conference schedule late Sunday night, and the slate features a road game at North Carolina and a home tournament right after Thanksgiving.
The Rebels will face three NCAA Tournament teams from last season and six total teams that played in the postseason. UNLV’s first two games against Northern Arizona (Nov. 12) and Jacksonville State (Nov. 17) are preliminary rounds of the Global Sports Classic, but the meat of the tournament takes place Nov. 23-24, bringing in Oregon, Cincinnati and Iowa State. The Rebels will face the Ducks on Friday, then either the Bearcats or Cyclones on Saturday depending on the results.
“We are pleased to have put together a schedule that will challenge our team and prepare us for an extremely competitive conference,” UNLV coach Dave Rice said in a statement.
UNLV’s first road game isn’t until Tues., Dec. 4, at Portland, a sort-of homecoming for junior forward Mike Moser. As per usual that time of year for the Rebels, they won’t play at the Thomas & Mack Center for 18 days. That stretch includes three road games (Portland, California and UTEP) and one home game against La Verne, a Division III school, that will be played at Orleans Arena because of the National Finals Rodeo.
That first game back at the Mack against Northern Iowa on Dec. 19 will be an even bigger welcome home as it should be the home debut for sophomore forward Khem Birch. A Pittsburgh transfer in the middle of last season, Birch must sit out the first semester. He’s expected to be eligible for UNLV’s game at UTEP on Mon., Dec. 17.
The most-anticipated game on the schedule is Sat., Dec. 29 at North Carolina. After UNLV’s big victory against the then-No. 1 Tar Heels last season, both fan bases are hungry for more. North Carolina lost four players to the NBA draft, but it has reloaded with the No. 8-ranked recruiting class, just one spot behind UNLV.
Last year the Rebels ranked in the top 25 (No. 17) in home attendance for the fourth consecutive season. For information on purchasing season tickets in the lower plaza level, call the Rebel Athletic Fund at 702-895-1533. For tickets at all other levels, call 702-739-3267 or go to UNLVtickets.com.
UNLV's 2012-13 non-conference schedule (home games in bold):
Wed., Nov. 7 — Dixie State (Exhibition)
Mon., Nov. 12 — Northern Arizona
Sat., Nov. 17 — Jacksonville State
Fri., Nov. 23 — Oregon
Sat., Nov. 24 — Cincinnati/Iowa State
Wed., Nov. 28 — UC Irvine
Sat., Dec. 1 — Hawaii
Tues., Dec. 4 — at Portland
Sun., Dec. 9 — at California
Thurs., Dec. 13 — La Verne (Orleans Arena)
Mon., Dec. 17 — at UTEP
Wed., Dec. 19 — Northern Iowa
Sat., Dec. 22 — Canisius
Sat., Dec. 29 — at North Carolina
Thurs., Jan. 3 — Chicago State
Sat., Jan. 5 — CSU Bakersfield