UNLV basketball revealed its nonconference schedule for 2020-21, and — assuming there is a season — the Rebels will run the gamut from high-quality opponents to exhibition-caliber fodder.
The highlights of the schedule are UNLV’s three-day trip to Hawaii for the Maui Invitational from Nov. 23-25 and a home game against UCLA on Nov. 17.
The Rebels will also host Cal (Nov. 14) and travel to VCU (Dec. 2) and Kansas State (Dec. 5). The nonconference slate will wrap with a contest at SMU on Dec. 22.
Those games should give UNLV a chance to test itself in T.J. Otzelberger’s second year as head coach, and the Rebels may even be able to snag some Quadrant 1 wins. UCLA, VCU, Kansas State and SMU were all top-100 teams in the KenPom rankings when the 2019-20 season ended abruptly.
The Maui Invitational field includes North Carolina, Providence, Stanford, Indiana, Davidson, Alabama and Texas, so it’s likely the Runnin’ Rebels will have opportunities to score more quality wins in Hawaii.
The schedule’s low points are a pair of games against non-Division I teams bookending the Maui trip. UNLV will host Benedictine Mesa on Nov. 20, travel to Maui, and return with a home game against Whittier College on Nov. 28.
Games against non-DI opponents don’t hurt a team’s NET rating, but wins against those teams don’t impact the rating at all. To that end, Benedictine Mesa and Whittier will basically serve as in-season exhibition games to allow the Rebels to tune up for and wind down from the long trip to Hawaii.
UNLV will tip off the season with a true exhibition game against Chaminade at the Thomas & Mack Center on Nov. 6. The regular-season opener will be Nov. 10 against Montana State.
Unlike in recent years, which sometimes featured Rebels games at various locations on the Strip, all of UNLV’s non-conference home games are scheduled to be played at the Thomas & Mack Center in 2020-21.
There is still a large amount of uncertainty regarding the college basketball season (and all sports) due to the COVID-19 outbreak. Games could be played with limited attendance, no attendance or not at all. UNLV season tickets are currently on sale.
The full schedule:
UNLV basketball 2020-21 nonconference schedule
Nov. 6 — vs. Chaminade (exhibition)
Nov. 10 — vs. Montana State
Nov. 14 — vs. Cal
Nov. 17 — vs. UCLA
Nov. 20 — vs. Benedictine Mesa
Nov. 23 — Maui Invitational
Nov. 24 — Maui Invitational
Nov. 25 — Maui Invitational
Nov. 28 — vs. Whittier
Dec. 2 — at VCU
Dec. 5 — at Kansas State
Dec. 16 — vs. Florida A&M
Dec. 19 — vs. Omaha
Dec. 22 — at SMU