Kansas State has signed a two-game, home-and-home scheduling agreement in men’s basketball with Mountain West foe UNLV, the two athletics departments announced today (May 17).
The two schools will open the series in Las Vegas at the Thomas and Mack Center on Saturday, November 9, 2019 before finishing at Bramlage Coliseum on December 5, 2020. It marks the first time the schools have played since a 63-59 win by UNLV at the Sprint Center in Kansas City on December 21, 2010, while it is the first true home-and-home series (played at home facilities) since the 1981-82 and 1982-83 seasons.
“We’re excited about this home-and-home opportunity with a team the caliber of UNLV,” said head coach Bruce Weber. “Obviously, it will be a challenging game for us, especially on the road, against a team that will return a significant portion of their team under a new head coach (T.J. Otzelberger). But it will great to bring them back home to Bramlage Coliseum in 2020.”
The schools have a long history with the 2019 meeting serving as the seventh meeting in a series that dates to 1982. UNLVowns a 4-2 advantage in the series with all four wins coming in the last five meetings. The two schools split a series in 2009 and 2010, as the Wildcats earned a 95-80 win at the Orleans Arena in Las Vegas on December 12, 2009 before the Runnin’ Rebels win at the Sprint Center in 2010. The 2019 matchup will be the third at the Thomas and Mack Center and the first since a 77-68 Vegas win on December 28, 1984.
UNLV will be under the direction of a new head coach in former Iowa State assistant T.J. Otzelberger, who was hired on March 27 after a highly successful three-year stint at South Dakota State (2016-19), in which, he led the Jackrabbits to a 70-33 overall record and a pair of NCAA Tournament appearances. The Runnin’ Rebels posted a 17-14 overall record in 2018-19, including a tie for fourth in the Mountain West with an 11-7 mark.
K-State is expected to return eight lettermen in 2019-20, including a pair of starters in Big 12 honorable mention selectionXavier Sneed (10.6 ppg., 5.5 rpg.) and fellow rising senior Makol Mawien (7.0 ppg., 4.9 rpg.), from a team that advanced to the NCAA Tournament for the third consecutive season and won a share of the Big 12 regular-season title. The Wildcats also return rising juniors Cartier Diarra (6.8 ppg., 3.3 rpg.), Mike McGuirl (3.6 ppg., 1.5 rpg.) and Levi Stockard III (1.8 ppg., 1.5 rpg.) as well as a highly-regarded signing class that includes a pair of Top 150 high school players in DaJuan Gordon and Montavious Murphy and NJCAA All-American David Sloan.
The full non-conference slate will be released when it becomes official in the coming weeks and months.