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Mountain West basketball switches to 20-game schedule

Updated November 9, 2020 - 5:53 pm

UNLV basketball is going to see even more of the Mountain West this season.

The conference is increasing the number of league games from 18 to 20 for 2020-21, it announced Monday. The format change is just for one year and will help the Mountain West reduce travel during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Teams will now face each other in two-game series during the same week with a one-day break between games. Each team will get five home and five road series.

“We understand the circumstances during these uncertain times and will adapt to the challenges as they come,” UNLV coach T.J. Otzelberger said in a statement. “We will be prepared and are looking forward to the season.”

The conference schedule will take place over 11 weeks starting in December and going until the last week of February. UNLV originally was scheduled to open Mountain West play Dec. 29 at Colorado State.

The full new schedule has yet to be announced. The expanded conference slate will give teams struggling to fill their schedules during the pandemic two fewer dates to fill. Otzelberger said Friday “there’s a lot of moving targets” when it comes to finding games this season.

The Rebels are scheduled to play in the eight-team Maui Invitational (moved to Asheville, North Carolina) and play North Carolina on Nov. 30. They have no other non-conference games listed on their website.

“We’ve tried to keep as many of the games we’ve had intact,” Otzelberger said. “At the same time, there’s been a lot of challenges in doing that. There’s financial ramifications. There’s travel safety. There’s a lot of scheduling variables, and there’s more being dished out every day.”

Contact Ben Gotz at bgotz@reviewjournal.com. Follow @BenSGotz on Twitter.

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