• 70°

Ole Miss basketball announces non-conference schedule

Ole Miss men’s basketball on Tuesday announced its non-conference schedule for the 2017-18 season, which includes games against three teams that were a part of this year’s NCAA Tournament.

The non-conference slate consists of 13 games. Nine of those will be played at The Pavilion at Ole Miss, including the Rebels’ season opener against Louisiana on Nov. 10.

Ole Miss will host NCAA Tournament participant Virginia Tech on Dec. 2 to finalize a home-and-home series before traveling to Middle Tennessee State, another NCAA Tournament team this year, a week later. The Rebels will return home Nov. 28 to take on defending Summit League champion South Dakota State.

The Rebels will leave Oxford for the first time Nov. 20 to play Utah in the MGM Grand Main Event in Las Vegas. Ole Miss will finish the tournament against either Rice or UNLV on Nov. 22.

“As our RPI has shown during my time here, we are committed to playing a challenging non-conference schedule,” Ole Miss coach Andy Kennedy said. “It will be exciting to play nine non-conference games in front of Rebel Nation at The Pavilion, one of the best facilities in college basketball, and our games away from home will test our mental toughness. There’s no doubt that this schedule will help prepare us for the grind of (Southeastern Conference) play.”

The rest of Ole Miss’ non-conference slate includes home games against Eastern Kentucky (Nov. 13), Georgia State (Nov. 17), Sam Houston State (Dec. 13), Texas A&M-Corpus Christi (Dec. 19), Bradley (Dec. 22) and Illinois State (Dec. 16) — which was scheduled on Twitter — and a Jan. 27 trip to Texas as part of the SEC-Big 12 Challenge.

Virginia Tech, Illinois State and MTSU each finished last season in the RPI top 50. Ole Miss, which ended its season in the National Invitation Tournament quarterfinals with 22 wins, finished No. 68.