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Maui Invitational, UCLA highlight UNLV basketball schedule

UNLV is set to play what statistically rates as its toughest nonconference schedule in five years.

The Rebels released that portion of their schedule Wednesday, and it includes games against as many as six quadrant one or two schools, according to last season’s NET rankings. Those rankings are a major factor in determining the NCAA Tournament selections.

UNLV played just three such opponents each of the past two seasons. Results against the top two quadrants, which are the top-ranked opponents based on where the games take place, carry the biggest weight with the selection committee.

“Our schedule will be challenging with high-level games at home, on the road and on a neutral court in Maui,” UNLV second-year coach T.J. Otzelberger said in a statement. “Those are opportunities we will embrace as we continue to move our program forward.”

UNLV also will compete in the Maui Invitational on Nov. 23-25 in a field that also includes North Carolina, Indiana, Texas, Stanford, Providence, Davidson and Alabama. This is the Rebels’ first trip to that tournament, generally considered college basketball’s most prestigious, since 2015.

The Rebels’ notable games at the Thomas & Mack Center are against California on Nov. 14 and UCLA on Nov. 17. They have trips to Virginia Commonwealth on Dec. 2 as part of the Mountain West-Atlantic 10 Challenge Series, Kansas State on Dec. 5 and Southern Methodist on Dec. 22.

They open their season Nov. 10 at home against Montana State. Whether UNLV begins the season on time or has its schedule altered because of the coronavirus pandemic remains to be seen.

The Mountain West portion of the schedule will be announced later.

UNLV went 17-15 last season, but tied for second in the conference with a 12-6 record.

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

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