Will Davis set a UC Irvine single-season record with 55 blocked shots as a freshman last season. (Kevin Chang / January 12, 2012)

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The UC Irvine men's basketball team will face eight opponents that competed in postseason tournaments last season, including NCAA participants UNLV, Southern Miss and Long Beach State.

The schedule also includes a home game against LSU on Dec. 18, the home opener against Nevada on Nov. 10, and road dates at UCLA (Nov. 13), USC (Dec. 20), Pepperdine (Sept. 24) and Fresno State (Dec. 15).

UCI, with five starters and 10 players back under third-year coach Russell Turner, will also visit UNLV on Nov. 28. It's UCI's first clash with its former Big West Conference rival since 1997.

The Anteaters' home game against new Big West Conference member Hawaii on Jan. 9 will be televised nationally on ESPNU.

Nevada reached the NIT quarterfinals last season.

Weber State, which plays host to UCI on Dec. 8, played in the CollegeInsider.com postseason tournament last season, as did Big West foes UC Santa Barbara and Cal State Fullerton.

The 'Eaters play host to Vanguard in an exhibition game Nov. 3.

UCI, which was 12-20 last season, including a 6-20 conference mark, will open conference play Dec. 29 at home against UC Davis.

The Homecoming game is scheduled Jan. 12 against Cal State Northridge.

UCI is on the road for a BracketBusters game Feb. 23 and the Big West Conference Tournament is at the Honda Center in Anaheim March 14-16.

The home schedule also includes dates with NAIA representative San Diego Christian (Dec. 4), and United States Collegiate Athletic Assn. member Pacifica (Nov. 15). Pacifica is in Moreno Valley.

"We do have a very difficult schedule and just as we did last year, we scheduled up," Turner said in a statement. "I'm excited with the Nevada home game early. That's a great opportunity for our campus to see this young group against a high-level opponent. We have an SEC opponent coming in here in LSU and we have some other fine teams that we are playing.

"There are games on the road against the likes of UCLA, USC and UNLV," Turner said. "It's tough. It's a road-heavy schedule and it's a schedule that's probably going to rank, in terms of strength-of-schedule, as one of the [most difficult] we've ever had. What I hope we can accomplish from that is that we can measure ourselves against good teams and be ready at the start of Big West play. I believe our team can compete with anybody in the Big West and the success we have is going to be determined in how much improvement we can make between now and the last week of December when league play starts."

Mike Wilder, a senior this season, was named second-team All-Big West as a junior, when he averaged a team-leading 11.5 points and knocked down 78 three-pointers. He ranks sixth at UCI with 152 career threes.

Senior Daman Starring averaged 11.4 points in 2011-12. He led the team with 35 steals and was second with 100 assists.

Senior center Adam Folker led the Big West in field-goal percentage at .569 in league games and he received the confernce's Hustle Award last season. Folker led the 'Eaters in rebounding at 6.7 per game and shot 56.3% from the field.

Senior point guard Derick Flowers ranked first in the conference in assists at 4.13 per league game. He led the team with 103 assists on the season.

Junior guard Chris McNealy was named to the Big West All-Tournament team after averaging 17.5 points in UCI's two tourney games. He scored a career-high 24 points in the 65-59, quarterfinal upset of No. 2-seeded Cal State Fullerton.

Will Davis set the UCI single-game record as a freshman last season with eight blocked shots in the Feb. 25 win over Cal State Northridge. He had seven rejections in the Jan. 24 victory over Seattle University and established a new UCI single-season record with 55 blocks.

Redshirt freshman guard Aaron Wright averaged 6.9 points in nine games last season before sustaining a season-ending knee injury that required surgery.