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After USC loss, UNLV unranked in both polls

Rebels still receiving votes, won’t play again until Jan. 6


Leila Navidi

UNLV head coach Lon Kruger talks to his team during Saturday’s game against South Carolina Upstate at the Thomas & Mack Center.

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What kind of grade would you give UNLV's 12-2 non-conference finish?

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Following a nationally televised loss Friday to Southern Cal in the championship game at the Diamond Head Classic, the 12-2 UNLV men's basketball team is now unranked in both major polls.

The Rebels won their first two games in Honolulu in resounding fashion, thumping SMU on Tuesday, 67-53, then routing host Hawaii on Wednesday, 77-53.

However, Lon Kruger's club was out-muscled in a 67-56 loss to the surging Trojans (8-4), who are one slot ahead of the Rebels in the 'Others receiving votes' portion of the AP Top 25 poll.

UNLV is listed at 36th in that poll with 26 votes, while USC garnered 27.

In the ESPN/USA Today Coaches poll, which had the Rebels ranked 20th a week ago, UNLV is just second off the list with 51 votes, behind only Florida, who got 60 votes. USC in that poll is ranked 36th with 12 votes.

The Rebels don't play again until their Jan. 6 Mountain West Conference opener at BYU.

UNLV's other loss this season came Dec. 12 to Kansas State, who is ranked 12th in both polls at 11-1.

The lone Mountain West team in both polls is New Mexico, which suffered its first loss of the season Wednesday at Oral Roberts, falling 75-66. The 12-1 Lobos are 19th in the AP poll and 17th among the coaches.

Meanwhile, BYU is listed 32nd in the AP poll and 29th in the ESPN/USA Today poll.

The top 15 spots are consistent this week in both polls, with undefeated teams taking up the top six slots. Kansas (11-0) remained No.1, followed by Texas, Kentucky, Purdue, Syracuse and West Virginia.

Purdue and West Virginia, two of the nation's six remaining unbeatens, meet Friday in West Lafayette, Ind.

The biggest splash in this week's rankings was made by Northwestern, which at 10-1 is ranked 25th in the AP poll. It is the program's first time in the Top 25 since 1969.

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Previous Discussion: 31 comments so far…

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  1. We need to be able to play against strong guards. Watching this game over the weekend was like having teeth pulled-slowly.

  2. Comment removed by moderator. Contained a personal attack.

  3. Tre Von has a tendency of playing real sloppy ball when we're down, I hope he continues to come off the bench because he's an extremely sloppyball handler and if we're down we're not coming back with him on the floor. Steve Jones being on the floor the majority of the time was ridiculous too. Stanback gets in foul trouble because his stupid fouls....all these are issues we needto address. Thank God we don't play fo 9 days because that was a horrid performance. Now we can potentially go on a 3 game losing streak. Just when we could've been a 5-7 seed in the tourney, we could be in bubble trouble or a #1 seed in the NIT.

  4. "However, Lon Kruger's club was out-muscled".

    How many times do we have to hear this comment during the Lon Kruger era? It's embarrassing to see how we lack strength and mucscle to compete at the highest level. Does our strength coach do anything?

  5. *muscle

  6. I don't think one loss knocks us all the way down to the NIT. We still have to play the games, folks. Sure, I hated watching the games against K-State and USC, but I would be willing to bet a fair amount of money that all teams come tournament time have a few notches in the loss column. We do need our bigs to play better, have better shot selection overall and learn how to play against physical teams. I have to say that I was giddy watching the first two games and am still optomistic going into league play. It is too bad that we have such a gap before we start league play, I would rather have seen the guys get more time around the holidays and kept sharper, but there is nothing we can do.

    (I wish I could have read what Sufferin was spouting off about. :P )

  7. The Rebs are 12-2 with those two losses coming from quality opponents. The sky is not falling. This team will rebound from its loss and have a strong conference showing. Had we lost to SC-Upstate or Southern Utah then I would admit that we were in trouble.

  8. How would we not be 12-2? Look at the schedule. Other than Louisville, we haven't beaten an NCAA tournament opponent to date. Arizona is 6-5 and embarrassing themselves nightly. If we weren't 12-2, that would mean we would have lost to the likes of SMU, Reno and Southern Utah. Our record is a good one, but given the competition, it is not impressive.

  9. Even if they have a strong conference showing.
    We will not get far in the NCAA tourney with these athletes unless we go against a team that is not athletic.

  10. U-N-L-V Go Fight Win!!!
    In Lon we trust. GO REEEEEBELS!!!!

  11. I hate to say it but this is really starting to look like a re-run of last year.

  12. Everything is fine. :-)

  13. I really don't know about all the Big Man squawking... We have Carlos Lopez who is 20-30 pounds lighter then he should be due to being sick and redshirting so he can get healthy... and we have Quintrell Thomas a beast we got from Kansas... Go take a look at his stats as a freshmen... Not to shabby, and he gets to play next season as well...

    Keep in mind the way they are playing is an awesome surprise...I would have never expected this team to be 12-2... And in the K-State game not many teams are going to beat a team that shoots lights out.. 14-23 from behind the 3-point line that is over .600 and .500 from the rest of the field... And this USC game was just an off night... It is bound to happen...

    Plus maybe I am alone when I watch these games but when the Rebels tighten up on defense it seems there is a tendency for questionable fouls against us which puts them in foul trouble meaning they have to back off a bit... The foul they called on Tre toward the middle of the second half against USC was a perfect example, that looked like a clean strip and they got him for it... At least on that one the ref was in position... typically it is not even the right guy making the call... Even in our wins there has been a lot of questionable calls... Which is just a rebel curse I guess...

    I can say I am having fun watching this season, these kids are breathing life into the system, GO REBS!

  14. I bet that Louisville plays well in the Big East and I will bet 10grand they make the tourney. That is a given. No matter what.
    SIU and UNR have shots at it also. UNR could easily win their conference tourney.

  15. I like Kruger but we need to step up recruiting at a elite level.
    These type of players are not gonna do it.

    If they need to be developed, then I dont want em. Not going to get far in the NCAA tourney.

    The reason they had an off night is due to smothering defense.

  16. Here is a news flash....you don't just simply decide "to step up recruiting at a elite level" and the top recruits come piling in! It is process, as far down as UNLV fell after Tark left we have to build the name back up so the top talent will even consider coming here! Kruger has done that and now top talent, whether it be transfers or incoming freshmen, are at least considering UNLV. If we can continue to land a few each year we will continue to improve.

    With all the unknowns we had coming into this season I think all of us would have considered 12-2 a great start if we were asked a few months ago....if you say any different I say you are lying!

  17. USC just recruited well under first year coach.

  18. Head coach O'Neill has been at USC only about 6 months and watched four of their top recruits walk out the door. He hasn't recruited anyone yet. He's had a losing record over his previous 12 seasons at good basketball schools and is coming into a USC program that has been winning consistently and going to the NCAA the past few years. O'Neill is in no way as good as Kruger, who walked into a consistently losing program and turned it around so that we now expect to win every game. UNLV "fans" are complaining because Kruger has shown us that we no longer have to put up with losing. Kruger rocks.

  19. Without Kruger, the goal for this season would be to be top 3 in conference. And our best player would be Marcus Lawrence.

    Kruger has brought UNLV basketball back the RIGHT way. All of you who wanna fire him also must want to see UNLV go through the same sh!t it did in the early 2000s, LOSING.

  20. UNLV was NOT a consistently losing program, Bob you don't know what you're talking about. I can't remember the last time the Rebels went sub 500. It might have happened once under Bayno in the mid 90s. You might want to do your research pal before acting like Kruger took over Colorado State.

  21. I like Lon Krueger, and it's nice to see the talent level improving. But I think we're about as good as we can get playing an all-guard lineup.

    To move to the next level - the top tier level - we will need some bigs who can play. When can Krueger recruit some bigs with some talent? The big physical teams eat us up on the boards and in the paint.

    Also, what is up with Massamba always trying to guard the three point line. Get down low, get on the glass and block somebody out. C'mon man!

  22. Well after seeing BYU shellack Arizona at the McKale center, its time to see things realistically. BYU has been dismantling their past couple opponents, Jimmer Fredette broke all sorts of records last night, and UNM is a force. Honestly....I see us dropping two games to BYU, one game to UNM, one to SDSU, and one to UTAH. We never win at Utah and we'll find ways to blow the game at SDSU. Now thats a realistic approach that will downgrade us to the NIT. Don't expect ANY wins next week mates. The way BYU is playing they'll go 15-1 in conference, UNM is dangerous at home and SDSU is spoilers...that not mentioning any of the other teams. I see us going probably 23-7 but there will be an upset with TCU or CSU so 22-8 s more realistic....depending on our seeding...we'll reach the semifinals and probabably lose.

    Two Words: Bubble Trouble

  23. We need Louisville to beat Kentucky this weekend. S. Ill is going to get drubbed in conference play and UNR sucks. If we could've beaten USC, that would've legitimize our non-conference resume. Now UNM and BYU will have better Non-conference wins....BYU still plays AT UTEP, with wins against ASU, smashed Zona and smacked Nebraska. UNM beat Texas A&M, Creighton, and they still play Texas Tech and Dayton.

  24. Some of you people are pure comedy. The sky is falling, we are the greatest, fire Lon, blah blah blah. Get a clue, if you have ever played sports the are match ups that are trouble for every team and we have found ours. They called reaching fouls and our 6'6 athlete and 6'7 scorer/rebounder went to the bench. With out the foul trouble in the 1st 2 minutes that is a different game.

  25. RebelnSoccerFanatic: I must strongly disagree.

    I watched BYU beat UNR in person, and I watched Jimmer go crazy at Arizona. It's pretty obvious that BYU is an outstanding offensive team. Put simply, they shoot the ball extremely well.

    However, just like last year, we match up with them extremely well. Their big guys are mediocre, so they are not equipped to expose our weaknesses on the interior. We have enough quality defensive guards to throw at Jimmer to keep him somewhat under control. They'll be extremely tough to beat in Provo, but they'll have a very tough time winning at the Thomas and Mack.

    Utah sucks this year. We have a great chance to sweep them.

    Basically, the conference has four strong teams. BYU, New Mexico, UNLV, and San Diego State will all be very tough to beat in their own gym. I wouldn't be surprised if we see a repeat of last year (three teams split the conference regular season title with 12-4 records).

    23-7 and seven and a loss in the MWC semis would put us at 24-8 with a very solid rpi and wins over UNR, Louisville, Arizona, SIU, and probably BYU, New Mexico, and San Diego State. That's not on the bubble. That's in.

    12-4 in conference and a trip to the conference championship on our home floor would put us at 26-7 if we lost.

    13-3 with a conference tourney title would put us at 28-5. That's a top 25 team.

    It's early. Anything could happen. But we are in excellent shape heading into conference play.

  26. UNM lost to oral roberts... we've lost to k-state(probably top 10 team by years end) and USC(most likely a top 20 team at least)... we are just fine, we are still young and they have a lot of growing to do as a team. We will be in the NCAA tournament this year and probably make the sweet 16.

  27. @ IncognitoRebel, that Oral Roberts team also beat Stanford & Missouri. Yea there record is trash, but their half decent.

    Remove your finger from the panic button. This team is not great, but they are very solid. They will continue to struggle with teams who can out man them with athleticism and length. Rebs have a team full of 6'3-6'5 shooting guards. No pure shooters, just decent shooting guards. When thost jumpers dont fall, there arent to many creators outside of a Bellfield who is still raw. There will be some ups & downs, but this team will be in one of the post season tourney's. I see them struggling with UNM & BYU, but if they can suprise me they will be NCAA bound.

  28. This team is full of all complimentary type players (6'3-6'7) but lacking any real good inside, or outside guys. Hopefully next year we add Cory Joseph along with Quintrell Thomas. We need someone who can hit the 3 consistantly and a post scorer that can give us 5-8 nice buckets from the paint to spread the defense.

    we still need a couple more athletic players. when we are forced to play guys like Jones and Wallace against legit athletes (K-State & USC) we look like a division 2 team.

  29. 24-8 and losing in the semis of our own tournament and we're in? Haha wispygeezer, you're living in a dream world. Unless of course you are taking about "in" the NIT. We'd be on the bubble if that happens, that's the reality.

  30. Duh

  31. SufferinRebel, you say O is the ONLY slasher UNLV has?? Uhh, Jasper is the best we have. Tre is also very dominant when driving the lane. O is a great slasher too as welll as AM (who will only improve) and J-Hawk..

    Pure Shooters: Chace Stanback and Tre'Von Willis. Well atleast from mid-range. Those two are $$ from mid-range and lately from 3-pt range too. When Chace shoots, I am surprised if he misses.