BYU will start its 2018-19 basketball season on the road against a top-flight opponent, according to reports.
The Cougars will reportedly travel to Reno to take on the Nevada Wolf Pack on November 6. Nevada has agreed to return the favor with a yet-to-be-scheduled game in Provo in the 2019-2020 season. FRS Sports’ Jon Rothstein was the first to report on the agreement, which has subsequently been confirmed by the Reno Gazette-Journal.
The series is a massive scheduling coup for the Cougars, who have made a concerted effort to beef up their future schedules this summer following a raft of mid-majors missing out on the NCAA Tournament in 2018 due to soft non-conference slates. The Wolf Pack are coming off one of the greatest seasons in school history, which saw coach Eric Musselman take his team to the Sweet 16 — with only an agonizing one-point loss to Loyola separating them from an Elite Eight berth.
Nevada currently has three of their top players going through the NBA Draft process but none have hired agents, preserving their ability to return to school next season. Regardless of which way they decide, Musselman recently said that he expects next year’s team to be the most talented in the program’s history.
Based on the strength of Nevada’s 2018 campaign and an influx of talent via fresh recruits and promising transfers, BYU will need to be ready for a very stiff challenge. At the very least, the Wolf Pack will begin the season ranked in the Top 25 — and depending on how many of their three draft-eligible players return, perhaps in the Top 15 or even higher.
Depending on how things shake out in November, this could either provide a great opportunity for the Cougars to start the year with a bang and instantly garner national respect — or turn out to be a rude welcome to a new season. Regardless, these are the types of games that BYU fans should want coach Dave Rose and his staff to schedule. The tournament selection committee has been very clear: Teams that go on the road and play tough competition have a better chance to see their name in the bracket come March. Those who don’t? Well, just ask Saint Mary’s.
Win or lose, BYU has to schedule and play these games. They not only help build their resume for a potential at-large bid, but also provide opportunities for the team to test itself against some of the best teams in the country — and hopefully get better in the process. These are the types of games that teach lessons that come back to benefit you in conference play and beyond. Good on Rose and company for continuing to seek them out.
As a reminder, here’s what we know about the Cougars’ 2018-2019 nonconference schedule so far:
2018-19 BYU Basketball Schedule
|Utah Valley||San Diego State||Utah|
|Utah State||Mississippi State|