Thursday, June 28, 2018 | 10:56 a.m.
The UNLV basketball team won't have to worry about packing its bags very often next season.
The Rebels' nonconference schedule for the 2018-19 season was announced today, and the slate is heavy on home games. UNLV will open with seven consecutive home contests at the Thomas & Mack Center to start the season, and there is just one true road game on the schedule — a Dec. 8 trip to Illinois.
The Rebels will also travel to Hawaii to play three neutral-court games in the Diamond Head Classic from Dec. 22 through 25.
The season begins with an exhibition contest against Montana State-Billings at the Mack on Nov. 2. The regular-season opener is Nov. 10 against Loyola Marymount, and that will be followed by very winnable home games against UC Riverside (Nov. 13), Oakland (Nov. 16), Pacific (Nov. 20), Southern Utah (Nov. 23) and Valparaiso (Nov. 28).
The first marquee matchup of the year is set for Dec. 1, when UNLV hosts Cincinnati in the first leg of the schools’ recently announced home-and-home series. The Rebels will then make the Illinois trip before returning to Las Vegas to face BYU at T-Mobile Arena (Dec. 15).
After a week off, the Rebels will then travel to Honolulu for the Diamond Head, where the field includes Bucknell, Charlotte, Colorado, Hawaii, Indiana State, Rhode Island and TCU.
UNLV will then take another week off before beginning Mountain West play with a home game against Colorado State on Jan. 2.
At face value, the nonconference schedule does not appear to be strong enough for the Rebels to warrant consideration for an at-large berth to the NCAA Tournament, though some opponents could turn out to be tougher than expected. A good showing in the Diamond Head could also serve to strengthen the Rebels’ RPI and KenPom ratings.
The full nonconference schedule:
Nov. 10 — vs. Loyola Marymount
Nov. 13 — vs. UC Riverside
Nov. 16 — vs. Oakland
Nov. 20 — vs. Pacific
Nov. 23 — vs. Southern Utah
Nov. 28 — vs. Valparaiso
Dec. 1 — vs. Cincinnati
Dec. 8 — at Illinois
Dec. 15 — vs. BYU (at T-Mobile Arena
Dec. 22 — Diamond Head Classic (Honolulu, Hi.)
Dec. 23 — Diamond Head Classic (Honolulu, Hi.)
Dec. 25 — Diamond Head Classic (Honolulu, Hi.)