Predicting UNLV Basketball’s Non-Conference Win/Loss Results
Predicting each of UNLV’s non-conference games this fall
Predicting UNLV’s non-conference basketball results in ’19-20
A new era is upon is in Las Vegas as T.J. Otzelberger guides the Rebels into the ’19-20 basketball season. Here’s a look at each of UNLV’s 13 non-conference games and how we expect things to unfold.
Nov. 5: Purdue Fort Wayne
WIN: IPFW loses its top two scorers in John Konchar and Kason Harrell. No reason why UNLV should no-show in this one.
Nov. 9: Kansas State
LOSS: K-State says goodbye to three double-digit scorers but 2019’s Big XII co-champion has plenty still in the cabinet.
Nov. 12: at California
WIN: Cal is terrible. The Golden Bears have won five of their last 31 Pac-12 conference games. Mark Fox was hired to stop the bleeding.
Nov. 15: at UCLA
LOSS: The annual UNLV-Mick Cronin non-conference game will take place in Westwood this year. Shareef O’Neal is a matchup nightmare.
Nov. 18: Abilene Christian
WIN: Don’t sleep on the name. ACU finished 27-7 and was in the NCAA Tournament last year. Just one top 200 KenPom win, though.
Nov. 20: Texas State
LOSS: Another trap game against a lightly-known yet strong low-major. Nijal Pearson (16.4 PPG, 38.6 3P%) is a stud. Watch out.
Nov. 23: SMU
WIN: SMU had a rough go of it in ’18-19 and two key starters are gone. The Mustangs will be much better in ’20-21 than ’19-20.
Nov. 26: Jackson State
WIN: JSU lost to Boise State by 17 and San Diego State by 33 last November, finishing 319th in KenPom. Pad-your-stats game.
Nov. 30: at Cincinnati
LOSS: Who’s going to stop Jarron Cumberland? The ’18-19 American POY had a 18.8/4.4/3.6/1.1 slash line, shooting 38.8 percent from deep.
Dec. 7: BYU (Salt Lake City, UT)
LOSS: Yoeli Childs and T.J. Haws are a better duo than anything Gonzaga has to offer in ’19-20. Tough matchup in Salt Lake.
Dec. 18: Pacific
WIN: The Rebels nearly put up 100 in its beatdown of Pacific last season. It should be a similar result this December.
Dec. 21: Robert Morris
WIN: The Colonials have to fill three vacant starting spots and ranked 314th in offensive efficiency in ’18-19. That’s not very threatening.
Dec. 28: Eastern Michigan
WIN: EMU had three senior starters in ’18-19. It also ranked in the top 50 nationally in both height and experience…yet still finished 15-17.
Projected non-conference W-L record: 8-5
Takeaway: UNLV has a solid non-conference schedule this fall. It has some nice tests away from home against BYU, UCLA, and Cincinnati. Most of the home games figure to be blowouts but teams like Abilene Christian and Texas State pose serious threats that should help T.J. Otzelberger’s team get a feel of things heading into league play.
Eli Boettger is the lead basketball writer at Mountain West Wire. He’s covered Mountain West basketball since 2015 and his work has been featured on Bleacher Report, NBC Sports, SB Nation, Yahoo Sports, MSN, and other platforms. Boettger is a current USBWA member.