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Rebels basketball No. 18 in Associated Press preseason poll

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Sam Morris / Las Vegas Sun

UNLV’s Roscoe Smith, left, and Khem Birch fight for a rebound during the team’s First Look scrimmage Thursday, Oct. 18, 2012 at the Thomas & Mack.

UNLV basketball will start the season ranked No. 18 in the Associated Press preseason poll, which was released Friday. It’s the first time UNLV has received a preseason ranking from the AP since 1992-93.

The Rebels started at No. 22 that year, and this year’s honor is the highest preseason ranking since they were on top of the college basketball world at No. 1 in 1990-91. The team is hoping for similar success this season.

The ranking is one notch higher than the Rebels were in the USA Today/Coaches preseason poll released last week. UNLV’s primary rival, San Diego State, is ranked No. 20 in both polls, although the Aztecs edged the Rebels for first place in the Mountain West preseason media poll.

Mountain West members New Mexico and Colorado State both received votes, as did future opponent Northern Iowa, which UNLV hosts on Dec. 19. Potential UNLV opponent Cincinnati is No. 24 — it depends on who wins the first games of the Global Sports Classic in Las Vegas — and North Carolina is No. 11. The Rebels play in Chapel Hill for their most-anticipated non-conference game of the season on Dec. 29.

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

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  1. Let the games begin! Really looking forward to watching some Rebel Hoops! Wish we were playing NC later in the schedule but still glad we got them on our schedule. NM & SDSU are probably really getting irritated at the national press we are getting and just waiting to get us on the court. Should be a great season!