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UNLV working to enter 2014 event that could set up game against Duke

UNLV wants to join Duke and Stanford as one of the 4 teams in the 2014 Coaches vs. Cancer Classic in Brooklyn

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Charlie Neibergall/AP

Dancing with the devil: Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski celebrates his team’s 2010 NCAA title.

UNLV is attempting to get into a tournament next season that could set up the program’s first game against Duke since a two-point Final Four loss in 1991.

Rebels coach Dave Rice said Thursday that UNLV is in negotiations to compete in the 2014 Coaches vs. Cancer Classic at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, N.Y. Duke and Stanford are already in the four-team field.

“Contracts haven’t been finalized yet but that’s something we’re trying to get involved with,” Rice said.

Even if UNLV gets into the event there’s no guarantee the Rebels and Blue Devils would play. The format for the Coaches vs. Cancer Classic has teams play two games at their home arena and then converge for the Championship Round, in which there’s a mini four-team tournament.

If Duke and UNLV were in opposite games at the Barclays Center, both would have to either win or lose in order to meet the following day. The Las Vegas Classic, which UNLV is playing in this season, is formatted the same way with two games at the Thomas & Mack Center and then two at Orleans Arena.

Before anyone can worry about the matchup, though, UNLV has to get into the event. Rice seemed confident that it would happen, hence why he discussed it before anything was official, but it’s still not a done deal.

“We’ll know more about that in the next month or so,” Rice said.

If UNLV gets in it would add to an already impressive nonconference slate in the 2014-15 season. The Rebels already have trips to Kansas and Arizona State on the docket, plus a home game against Arizona. Toss in the Rebels’ participation in a loaded 2015 Maui Invitational field and UNLV is starting to become one of the more aggressive scheduling teams in the country.

Taylor Bern can be reached at 948-7844 or [email protected]. Follow Taylor on Twitter at twitter.com/taylorbern.

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