The Runnin’ Utes continue to beef up their schedule. Big time.
On Monday, the Utah men’s basketball program announced an agreement for a home-and-home series with the Nevada Wolf Pack starting this season. The reigning Mountain West Conference regular season champions are scheduled to visit the Huntsman Center this year with the first of two games played in Salt Lake City on Saturday, Dec. 29.
The date of the return leg in Reno, Nev., next year is expected to be announced at a later date. The upcoming meeting will be the 11th time Utah and Nevada have faced off, but the first meeting since 1987.
“We are looking forward to the challenge of a very competitive non-conference schedule this upcoming season,” said Utah coach Larry Krystkowiak in a news release. “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.”
The Wolf Pack went 29-8 a year ago, earning an at-large bid into the 2018 NCAA Tournament where coach Eric Musselman’s team went on a deep run. Nevada, led by star twin brothers Caleb and Cody Martin, advanced to the Sweet 16. The Martin brothers decided to return to Reno for their senior seasons after flirting with the idea of entering the 2018 NBA Draft.
With the Wolf Pack on the schedule, Utah’s upcoming non conference slate will be jam-packed with some of the nation’s top programs. Nevada is currently ranked No. 6 overall by ESPN and CBSSports.com. Two weeks before hosting the Wolfpack in Salt Lake City, Utah is scheduled to face national powerhouse Kentucky at Rupp Arena on Saturday, Dec. 15. The Wildcats are ranked No. 1 in the nation by ESPN and CBS Sports.
The Runnin’ Utes have a stacked schedule.
Along with Kentucky and Nevada, Utah will face Missouri on the road, Tulsa at home, rival BYU in the 2018 Beehive Classic and also participate in the 2018 Wooden Legacy tournament in Anaheim, Calif., Nov. 22-25. Scheduled to participate along with Utah are Miami, Northwestern, Fresno State, Seton Hall, Hawaii, LaSalle and Grand Canyon.