Nevada hoops to face difficult schedule
RENO — The University of Nevada head men’s basketball coach Eric Musselman and his staff have finalized a difficult non-conference schedule that includes six home games to bring the total number of home regular season contests to 15.
The television schedule will be announced at a later date along with tip-off times.
“We are extremely excited about our 2017-18 non-conference and Mountain West schedule,” Musselman said. “We feel like this schedule will give us a competitive body of work and resume come March. Our staff worked really hard to emphasize in non-conference schedule, the importance of playing quality teams on the road, which is highlighted by our five road games.
“We also put an emphasis into bringing six quality opponents into Lawlor. It was extremely important to us that we reward our fan base with competitive home games. Most college programs play 30 or 31 games in a season. We are happy that we have filled our schedule with all Division I opponents and filled our non-conference home slate with six games versus Division I opponents.”
“The Mountain West will be extremely competitive this year and as a conference, could not be in a better place. We are excited about the challenges that the MW will present to our team. Each MW road game presents its own challenge.”
Of the 14 non-conference opponents seven earned postseason bids. Two won conference tournament titles to qualify for the NCAA field and three appeared in the NIT. Two schools finished with an RPI in the 30s while another three were in the top 100 and five more appeared in the top 200.
The Pack will host Idaho on Nov. 10 and Rhode Island on Nov. 13 to start the regular season. The Vandals were 19-14 a year ago and earned a postseason bid. The Rams went 25-10 and captured the Atlantic 10 tournament title to secure a spot in the NCAA tournament. RIU finished with an RPI of 31.
After back-to-back road trips to Santa Clara on Nov. 15 and Pacific on Nov. 18 the Pack hosts Davidson. The Wildcats went 17-15 last season and had an RPI of 89. A long road trip follows to Hawaii to play the Rainbows in Honolulu on Nov. 24.
The Illinois State Redbirds come to Lawlor Events Center on Nov. 29 as part of the Mountain West-Missouri Valley Conference Challenge. ISU went 28-7 last season and won the MVC regular season title with a 17-1 mark. After falling in the MVC Tournament title game it played in the NIT. ISU finished with an RPI of 39.
Two early December road games have the Pack at UC Irvine and Texas Tech. The Anteaters won the Big West regular season title but fell in the conference tournament championship game and played in the NIT. UCI finished the year 21-15 and posted an RPI of 130. The Red Raiders were 18-14 on the season and had an RPI of 122.
Nevada will participate in the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame Classic at the Staples Center in Los Angeles on Dec. 8. The Pack will play TCU who captured the postseason NIT last year. The Horned Frogs were 24-15 and had an RPI of 52 last season.
The non-conference schedule concludes with four games in the Continental Tire Las Vegas Classic. The first two games will be played in Reno against Radford on Dec. 17 and UC Davis on Dec. 19. Radford was 14-18 last season while UC Davis went 23-13. The Aggies won the Big West tournament and earned a spot in the NCAA Tournament.
The final two games of the tournament will take place at the Orleans Arena in Las Vegas. Southern Illinois is on tap on Dec. 22 and San Francisco on Dec. 23. The Salukis were 14-18 last year. The Dons were 20-13, played in the postseason CBI and had an RPI of 100. Both games will air on Fox Sports 1.
Season tickets start at $199 and $89 for youth. For more information, fans can call 775-348-PACK or visit NevadaWolfPack.com.