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UNLV basketball releases 2018 non-conference schedule

Updated June 28, 2018 - 6:58 pm

UNLV’s basketball team released its nonconference schedule Thursday, a 12-game slate highlighted with games against Cincinnati, Illinois and Brigham Young and an appearance in the Diamond Head Classic.

“It has a balance of quality games both at home and on the road and will provide us with some great opportunities regarding RPI,” coach Marvin Menzies said in a statement. “It will also prepare us well for the always tough, competitive Mountain West season.”

UNLV plays an exhibition game against Montana State-Billings on Nov. 2 at the Thomas & Mack Center.

The Rebels open Nov. 10 against Loyola Marymount, the first of seven consecutive regular-season home games. The first six are against teams that had an RPI ranking of at least 180 last season. The last of those, Valparaiso at No. 181, is part of the Mountain West-Missouri Valley Challenge.

UNLV finishes that homestand against Cincinnati on Dec. 1. The Bearcats went 31-5 last season, won the American Athletic Conference regular-season and tournament titles and earned a No. 2 seed in the NCAA Tournament.

Cincinnati’s appearance in Las Vegas also means a return for coach Mick Cronin. He was offered the UNLV job in 2016, and after turning it down, the position eventually went to Menzies.

UNLV then travels to Big Ten Conference foe Illinois on Dec. 8 to complete a home-and-home. The Rebels won last season’s meeting 89-82 at the MGM Grand Garden Arena. Illinois went 14-18 under first-year coach Brad Underwood but this year put together a draft class ranked No. 15 by Rivals.

A former Mountain West rival, BYU, will face the Rebels at T-Mobile Arena on Dec. 15. The Cougars come off a 24-11 record and appearance in the National Invitation Tournament.

UNLV concludes nonconference play Dec. 22-25 in the Diamond Head Classic. Included in the Honolulu field are NCAA Tournament teams Rhode Island, Texas Christian and Bucknell.

The Mountain West schedule, which begins Jan. 2 against Colorado State at home, was announced June 11.

Times and TV information will be announced later.

Contact Mark Anderson at manderson@reviewjournal.com. Follow @markanderson65 on Twitter.

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