2014-15 Non-Conference Schedule Announced
June 30, 2014
LAS VEGAS (UNLVRebels.com) - UNLV Athletics announced most opponents and all dates for the non-conference portion of its 2014-15 men's basketball season schedule on Monday.
For the second straight season, with 11 teams as Mountain West members, UNLV will play 18 conference games, therefore playing 13 during the non-conference season.
This upcoming season's schedule is highlighted by a home game vs. Arizona, a trip to Brooklyn, N.Y., for the Coaches vs. Cancer Classic® vs. Stanford and a possible meeting with Duke or Temple, road games at Kansas and at Arizona State, and a game at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas vs. Utah. The Runnin' Rebels are guaranteed to face five NCAA Tournament teams from last year during the non-conference portion of the 2013-14 season and one team that played in the NIT. A meeting with Duke would be a sixth NCAA Tournament team on the schedule.
"We have put together an extremely challenging schedule for our young team this year," said head coach Dave Rice. "It should assist us as we prepare for another grueling Mountain West slate."
UNLV will get the season started with a lone exhibition game against Florida National on Wednesday, Nov. 5 at the Thomas & Mack Center. The regular season will begin with the home-game portion of the Coaches vs. Cancer Classic, with opponents to be announced later on Friday, Nov. 14 and Sunday, Nov. 16 (both at the Thomas & Mack Center).
Next up will be the championship rounds of the Coaches vs. Cancer Classic at Barclays Center in Brooklyn. The Runnin' Rebels will face Stanford on Friday, Nov. 21 at 7 p.m. ET, while Duke will play Temple immediately following. The two winners will face each other in the tournament's championship game on Saturday, Nov. 22, which follows the consolation game that has a start time of 7 p.m. ET. All four championship round games of the event in New York will be televised live on truTV.
Stanford finished last season with a 23-13 overall record and tied for third in the Pac-12 advancing to the NCAA Tournament's Sweet 16, while Duke went 26-9, finished third in the ACC and also played in the NCAA Tournament.
After its trip to New York, UNLV will return to Las Vegas to host Albany at the Thomas & Mack Center on Saturday, Nov. 29. The Great Danes went 19-15 last season, earning a spot in the NCAA Tournament after winning the America East Conference Tournament.
Another game against a Pac-12 opponent is next on the schedule as the Runnin' Rebels will travel to Tempe, Ariz., to play Arizona State on Wed., Dec. 3. The Sun Devils went 21-12 last season, tying for third in the Pac-12 and qualifying for the NCAA Tournament. UNLV will then return to Las Vegas, but since the Thomas & Mack Center will be hosting the National Finals Rodeo, it will host St. Katherine at Orleans Arena on Friday, Dec. 5.
The Runnin' Rebels will head out of town again and travel to Sioux Falls, S.D., to play South Dakota in a neutral-site game at Sanford Pentagon on Saturday, Dec. 13.
UNLV will then play just its fourth regular-season game of the season at the Thomas & Mack Center on Wednesday, Dec. 17 against Portland. On Saturday, Dec. 20, the Runnin' Rebels will play in a third venue in Las Vegas and face current Pac-12 member and former MW-rival Utah at the MGM Grand Garden Arena as part of the MGM Grand Showcase. That will be a double-header with Oklahoma facing Washington in the other game. The Sooners are led by former Runnin' Rebel head coach Lon Kruger.
The Runnin' Rebels will be back in the Thomas & Mack Center on Tuesday, Dec. 23 as they host Arizona. The Wildcats spent a majority of last season ranked No. 1 in the country and advanced to the Elite Eight of the NCAA Tournament. Arizona finished 33-5 overall and won the Pac-12's regular-season title. UNLV will play its final non-conference home game of the season against Southern Utah on Saturday, Dec. 27.
The Runnin' Rebels will close out its non-conference season at Kansas on Sunday, Jan. 4. The Jayhawks finished 25-10 last season winning the Big 12 and advanced to the NCAA Tournament's third round.
Additional opponents, all game times and television appearances, along with UNLV's Mountain West schedule will be announced at a later date.
Rice is entering his fourth season at the helm of the Runnin' Rebel program. He has led UNLV to 71 wins over his first three years, which ranks second all-time at UNLV only to Hall of Fame coach Jerry Tarkanian (73 wins in his first three seasons in Las Vegas).
Under Rice, UNLV has won at least 20 games all three seasons and has played in two NCAA Tournaments, leading the team to its highest seed in 22 years. In addition, his teams have recorded seven victories over ranked teams, including one over the nation's No. 1-ranked squad (North Carolina in 2011).
The Runnin' Rebels recorded an overall mark of 20-13 last season and have a streak of 20 or more wins in each of the last eight years.
This year's team welcomes eight new players to the 2014-15 roster. The 2014 recruiting class has been ranked as the fourth-best in the country by Rivals.com, only behind Duke, Kentucky and Arizona, and ahead of North Carolina, Louisville, Kansas, UCLA, Georgetown and Maryland.
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