Brutal December highlights UNLV’s nonconference basketball schedule

UNLV basketball coach Marvin Menzies has had to remake the roster nearly from scratch, and he’s being given a schedule that allows him to ease into his initial season running the Rebels.

But then December rolls around.

The Rebels play at Arizona State on Dec. 3, face Duke at T-Mobile Arena on Dec. 10, travel to Portland to play Oregon on Dec. 17, and meet Kansas at the Thomas & Mack Center on Dec. 22.

UNLV released its nonconference schedule Wednesday. The Rebels’ 18-game Mountain West schedule will be announced at a later date, as will the times and TV information of the nonconference games.

“We have an exciting and challenging nonconference schedule,” Menzies said in a statement. “We will be facing some of the top teams in the country, and there is no question it will prepare us well for a tough, competitive Mountain West slate.”

CBS Sports, ESPN, Sports Illustrated and USA Today rank Duke, Oregon and Kansas in their preseason top 10, with the Blue Devils the consensus No. 1. Kansas was chosen fourth by CBS and ESPN, fifth by Sports Illustrated and ninth by USA Today. Oregon was fourth in the Sports Illustrated and USA Today rankings, eighth in CBS’s and 10th in ESPN’s.

Expectations aren’t as high at Arizona State, which went 15-17 last season, but the Sun Devils won 66-56 at UNLV last season.

Ticket information on the Duke game probably will be announced next month, but those with UNLV season tickets will receive priority access.

UNLV, 18-15 last season, will play exhibitions at home against Dakota Wesleyan on Nov. 1 and New Mexico Highlands on Nov. 5. The Rebels in recent seasons have played one exhibition and one closed-door scrimmage against a more name opponent, such as Southern California last year.

The Rebels have the opportunity to pick up some early victories, beginning with the Nov. 11 opener against Southern Alabama at the T&M. UNLV plays its first six regular-season games at the Mack, and its first trip is Nov. 30 to Southern Utah, now under former Rebels interim coach Todd Simon.

UNLV will play in the Global Sports Classic at the T&M, facing Cal State Fullerton on Nov. 19 and Northern Arizona on Nov. 22. The Rebels then will go against Texas Christian on Nov. 25 and Washington or Western Kentucky the following day.

Contact Mark Anderson at manderson@reviewjournal.com or 702-387-2914. Follow him on Twitter: @markanderson65

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