While the 2014-15 season was a disappointing one for the UNLV Runnin’ Rebels, as a team pegged to be a contender in the Mountain West didn’t play in a postseason tournament, a talented recruiting class has sparked optimism in Las Vegas. Add in the fact that the fan base would like to see more production from Dave Rice’s team both within the Mountain West and nationally, and the 2015-16 season will be a big one when it comes to the future of the program.
With that in mind, Wednesday the program released its full non-conference schedule and it’s safe to say that UNLV will go into conference play having been challenged on multiple occasions. Among the games on the slate are road contests at Wichita State (December 9) and Arizona (December 19), a home game against Arizona State (December 16) and a game at the MGM Grand Garden Arena against Oregon (December 4).
And they’re also playing in the Maui Jim Maui Invitational prior to Thanksgiving, with the field including host Chaminade, Indiana, Kansas, St. John’s, UCLA, Vanderbilt and Wake Forest.
“We have again put together an extremely challenging schedule,” Rice said in the release. “Last year we ranked No. 3 in the country in strength of schedule for our non-conference season, and this season it may be even tougher. There is no question it will prepare us well for another competitive Mountain West slate.”
While there are some games UNLV will be expected to take care of, such as pre-Maui home contests against New Mexico Highlands and Southern Utah, from a strength of schedule standpoint they’ll more than make up for those given the presence of challenging games away from Thomas & Mack Center.
UNLV opens its regular season November 13 at home against Cal Poly.