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Utah basketball team to play Nevada home-and-home starting this season

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NCAA Basketball: NCAA Tournament-South Regional-Loyola vs Nevada Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

The Utah men’s basketball team announced what is likely their final opponent of the 2018-19 season today when they announced they will be playing the Nevada Wolfpack at the Huntsman Center on December 29th. The Utes will make the return trip to Reno in 2019 on a date yet to be determined.

The Wolfpack are coming off of a nice Sweet 16 run this past season, and is a nice pickup on what is already a very deep schedule for the Utes. This is a nice team to play just before Pac-12 play starts, and should be a good test for a young developing team with a lot of new players on the roster.

After a pretty soft schedule this past season, the Utes have stepped it up in 2018-19 with the likes of Kentucky and now Nevada. Hopefully it will round the team out for a run in the Pac-12 and a return to the NCAA tournament.

Here’s the full release below:

SALT LAKE CITY – The Utah men’s basketball team has agreed to a home-and-home series with Nevada beginning this upcoming 2018-19 season, Utah Runnin’ Utes head coach Larry Krystkowiak announced on Monday.

The Utes and Wolfpack will open the series at the Huntsman Center this season, with the game set to be played on Saturday, Dec. 29. Utah will then head to Reno, Nev., the following year to face the Wolfpack, with a date to be announced later.

With the addition of Nevada to the 2018-19 schedule, Utah is now set to face at least two preseason top-10 teams in non-conference play. Nevada is ranked No. 6 by both ESPN and CBSSports.com, while Kentucky, who Utah agreed to play last month, is ranked No. 1 in both preseason polls.

This will mark just the 11th meeting between the Utes and Wolfpack, but it will be the first contest played between the two programs since 1987.

“We are looking forward to the challenge of a very competitive non-conference schedule this upcoming season,” said Krystkowiak. “I believe it is time to take our program to a new level and with the schedule we have, it will help us get there.”

Utah went 23-12 overall and earned a NIT appearance where they would be victorious through the first three rounds of the tournament and earning the program’s fourth trip to the NIT Final Four. Utah defeated Western Kentucky in the semifinals, but fell to Penn State in the championship game. Meanwhile, the Wolfpack went 29-8 overall (15-3 in Mountain West Conference play) and tallied a 1-1 record in the MWC Tournament. Nevada earned an at-large bid into the NCAA Tournament, picking up a pair of wins in the first two rounds but then falling to Loyola-Chicago in the Sweet 16.