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UNLV hoops set to play home-and-home with Cincinnati


John Minchillo / AP

Cincinnati head coach Mick Cronin works the bench during the first half of an NCAA basketball game Sunday, March 6, 2016, against SMU.

UNLV and Cincinnati are reportedly set to play a home-and-home series for the 2018-19 and 2019-20 seasons — assuming the Bearcats don’t back out at the last minute.

According to a report, Cincinnati will come to the Thomas & Mack Center on Dec. 1, and the Rebels will make the return trip to Cincinnati sometime in the 2019-20 season.

The recent history between the two programs adds intrigue to the matchup. UNLV courted Cincinnati coach Mick Cronin during the 2016 offseason as the top choice to replace Dave Rice, and Cronin flew to Las Vegas to tour the campus with then-athletic director Tina Kunzer-Murphy.

The rest devolves into a he-said, she-said debate, but the UNLV side was left believing Cronin accepted an offer to become the Rebels’ head coach, only to renege and use the offer to leverage an extension at Cincinnati.

Whatever acrimony exists between the teams, the game should help UNLV’s strength of schedule. Cincinnati went 31-5 and won the American Athletic Conference last year, and the Bearcats advanced to the second round of the NCAA tournament before being bounced by UNR.

With the addition of Cincinnati, the UNLV nonconference schedule is beginning to come into focus. The Rebels are also set to play at Illinois on Dec. 8, and they’ll face off against BYU at T-Mobile Arena on Dec. 15. UNLV is also participating in the Diamond Head Classic on Dec. 22, 23 and 25 against a field that includes TCU and Rhode Island.

Mike Grimala can be reached at 702-948-7844 or [email protected]. Follow Mike on Twitter at

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