UNLV BASKETBALL:

Rebels still unranked following victory over Lobos

BYU moves up in both polls, now lone MWC team with a ranking

Reader poll

With a tough week of road games finished, how do you expect UNLV to perform in its home MWC opener against San Diego State on Wednesday night?

View results

UNLV came home from this weekend's trip to New Mexico with a nice split in its first two Mountain West Conference games.

A 77-73 loss Wednesday at BYU followed by a 74-62 victory Saturday over the Lobos kept the Rebels (13-3 overall, 1-1 MWC) within range of the Top 25 polls, but they did not crack the lists this week.

In the Associated Press poll, UNLV's 28 votes are up from 12 a week ago. In the ESPN/USA Today coaches poll, UNLV took in 26 votes after receiving 39 a week ago.

The Rebels come home this week for a pair of league games, beginning 7 p.m. Wednesday with San Diego State (12-4) and followed by a 7 p.m. Saturday game against Utah (8-7).

New Mexico dropped out of both polls after going 0-2 to start league play. Before falling to the Rebels, the Lobos dropped a 74-64 decision Tuesday at San Diego State. Steve Alford's team still received 59 votes from the AP and 54 from the nation's coaches.

BYU, now 16-1 following an impressive Saturday road win at UTEP, is the Mountain West's lone ranked team. The Cougars, who were without star guard Jimmer Fredette in El Paso (mononucleosis), are No. 18 in the AP poll and No. 17 in the coaches poll.

There finally was some shakeup atop both polls, as previous No. 1 Kansas suffered its first loss of the season Sunday at Tennessee.

With that result, Texas and Kentucky took over the top two spots, respectively, in both polls. They are the nation's only undefeated teams. Kansas slipped to third in both polls.

Join the Discussion:

Check this out for a full explanation of our conversion to the LiveFyre commenting system and instructions on how to sign up for an account.

Full comments policy

Previous Discussion: 25 comments so far…

Comments are moderated by Las Vegas Sun editors. Our goal is not to limit the discussion, but rather to elevate it. Comments should be relevant and contain no abusive language. Comments that are off-topic, vulgar, profane or include personal attacks will be removed. Full comments policy.

  1. K, if everyone didn't know already that the basketball ranking system is flawed because of those who participate in them, today's evidence is all you need to know.

    We beat New Mexico thoroughly in their own place and they are still ranked ahead of us in both polls. Just shows you how little coaches and journalists actually pay attention to the Mountain West or (most likely) how incredibly stupid and incompetent they really are. MORONS!!

    Yeah, yeah....I know everyone says don't worry about the polls and that they don't matter. While that is somewhat true in regards to deciding who is better than who throughout the season, I mostly disagree. It matters to recruits, fans, box offices and most importantly.....seeding for the big dance.

  2. Couldn't agree with you more Fast. It's just really annoying that the same teams get recognition every year, and potential recruits will want to go to those "big name" schools.

    The win percentage is so small at the Pit too, I guess that didn't get to much recognition.

  3. Every year New Mexico has an inflated record because they play a weak preseason schedule.

  4. Didn't think we would be ranked after the split...hopefully if we handle business this week we can sneak back in.

  5. It's really tough right now for the MWC to get recognition due to the lack of ESPN coverage. Logic, the Lobos have beaten Cal, LaTech (by 30) Texas A&M(on the road) , TexasTech and Dayton. Of those victories only Dayton was close. I wouldn't call that schedule weak. Average to more difficult than average might be more accurate. BYU played a weak non-conference schedule. I don't agree that the Lobos did.

  6. A few more conference wins without a mis-step and we will be back in. Great job Coach Kruger.

    Go Rebels!

  7. the Texas A&M win for UNM was on a neutral court in Texas that was not near where the Aggies play. I'm sure more A&M fans were there, but it was counted as a neutral court win.

  8. NM is ranked 18th in the RPI...not weak at all. Just gotta keep the wins rolling. I guess it doesn't matter much if you beat someone by a point or 30 points, the "w" is all that matters.

  9. I agree with FastCamron and RebelAlum44. The MWC gets no respect, and it is absurd that New Mexico gets more votes than we do after they dropped 2 this week while we split one of the most difficult road trips in the country (1 of them of course being a double-digit win AT the Pit). While UNM getting more votes than us is absurd, I wasn't convinced that we would make it back into the rankings this week either. If we can make it to 15-3 this week with wins over SDSU and Utah, hopefully we can creep back in.

    I also think the polls DO matter. Of course Kruger and the players are going to say they don't, and I think that is a good attitude for them to have. But as FastCamron said, they do matter to fans, post-season seeding, ticket sales, recruiting, exposure (even if it is only seeing your team name on ESPN's bottom line), and to gaining a modicum of respect from other fans, coaches, and media across the country.

    As much as I despise BYU, I hope they keep winning (except for when they come to the Mack and perhaps one more road loss to either UNM or SDSU), and I hope UNM and gets back on track (along with SDSU, AFTER we beat them this week). The top of our league needs to remain strong and really create some distance from the bottom feeders if we want to attain/maintain our rankings, get teams into the big dance, and gain the respect of the rest of the nation. I really think our conference deserves 4 bids this year (assuming the top 4 don't beat each other up in conference play), though I won't be surprised if we only get 3 (or 2, given the lack of respect we're shown by the rest of the country).

  10. The MWC gets no respect nationally because, quite frankly, the conference doesn't deserve it. The conference is very tough, but the results in the NCAA tournament have been embarrassing. UNLV has won 3 games the last 3 years but no other team has done anything. BYU has lost three straight years as a #8 seed and Utah lost last year as a #5 seed.

    If we want respect, we need to win games like that. For now, let's not kid ourselves. The top teams from the Big East, ACC, Big 12 and some teams from the SEC and Big 10 would destroy any team from the MWC. Also, look at the Big East or ACC schedule. It is brutal. We went 9-7 in conference last year playing against teams like Wyoming, TCU, etc. What do you think would've have been our record if we had to play Villanova, Syracuse, Uconn, Georgetown, Louisville, Cincy, Notre Dame? The schedule those teams play are ridiculous.

    When UNLV or UNM play a team like Louisville, it is the biggest game of the season so the team gets up for it. Try playing a schedule like that every single week. It is a whole different story.

  11. Why is Butler ranked on the ESPN/USA poll? Can someone please explain?

  12. The Rebels only gets a 5 seed in the Bracket Watch??
    What's up with that?

    http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2010/wr...

  13. A 5 seed is a top 20 team and we are not that right now. Lunardi has us a 7 and rising and that is #25 or just on the outside and is where we are as of today!

  14. The MWC will get no respect as long as they play on networks called The Mountain and Versus. Even LOCALS don't get The Mountain on DirecTV, never mind the rest of the country.

  15. UNC falls only two spots after losing to the college of charleston. The NCAA is trash and the coaches are pathetic. I'm sick of hearing about these "big" conference schools. Complete junk.

  16. "let's not kid ourselves. The top teams from the Big East, ACC, Big 12 and some teams from the SEC and Big 10 would destroy any team from the MWC"

    BS, Kenns29. UNLV has the defense to keep it close with any team in the country and BYU are no easy beat.
    I'm sick of these people moving from BFE telling us how good the Big 12, SEC blah, blah, blah is. Well, move back there then.

  17. I would like to see the Rebels ranked as well, but if they take care of business that will take care of itself. Its not realistic to expect that just because UNLV beat UNM they should be ranked ahead of UNM. If that logic was used there couldn't be a poll because at some point as the season goes on many of the top teams will have played each other either in conference or out. The reality is that UNM is still 14-3 and beat better teams in non-conference than UNLV did. I say enough with the weekly update on if the Rebels are or aren't ranked. People who are actually following the team already know before the articles come out.

  18. Exactly, this weekly update is for the clueless. When we get back in then bring it out.

  19. @ kenns

    "What do you think would've have been our record if we had to play Villanova, Syracuse, Uconn, Georgetown, Louisville, Cincy, Notre Dame?"

    Are you saying UNLV can't compete against those schools?

    Playing better programs makes teams better. Plain and simple. It's anyone's game when the whistle blows. Look at Purdue's schedule for instance, it's not all that strong until conference play. Same thing with Baylor (not 1 ranked team until Big-12 conference play, but still ranked?)

  20. Hey Lenny,
    I'm from the west coast so the personal attacks are unnecessary. I am just stating my opinion. All I'm saying is if UNLV went 9-7 in the MWC last year, do you really think their record would be better in the ACC playing on the road against UNC, Duke, Clemson, etc? Or in the big 12 playing against Texas, Kansas, Kansas St? Or in the big east? We have the defense to keep up with any team in the country? Right. That's why we were dismantled by the third best team in the big 12 (allowing 95 pts) and by a mid level pac 10 team on a neutral court. By no means am I saying that UNLV is terrible or anything like that. All I'm saying is don't expect the conference as a whole to get respect when we haven't earned it. Are you going to dispute that BYU and Utah haven't won a game in the NCAA tournament in the last few years?

    Sofaking,
    I'm not saying they can't compete but in no way would UNLV be a threat to win the power conferences with this current roster. Look at how many past and projected NBA players play in those conferences. The disparity in talent is immense. There are many teams in the power conferences who recruit at a much higher level thant UNLV. Look at their recruiting classes, look at their records. UNLV has nobody to blame for not being ranked. We got exposed twice this year in a major way.

    The power conferences in basketball are similar to the SEC in football. Every week in SEC football is a fight, much the same with Big East basketball. Click on Georgetown's schedule if you don't believe.me. We are concerned about playing SDSU and New Mexico, while they have to play @ Nova, @ Pitt and @ syracuse in the same week. There is no comparison. The biggest difference with those conferences compared to the MWC is their depth.

  21. I could care less if we are ranked as long as we win the conference, conf. tourney and/or get an at large to the NCAA tourney.

  22. The MWC has earned their respect. It is in the Top 7 in the Country in both basketball and football.

    5, even 3 years ago, we could not have said that.

  23. I know during the Big Dance, I'll be rooting for all the MWC teams. We DO need to step up and beat these other teams. We need all the MWC teams to at least get past the first round to start garnering attention.

  24. yes, IMO if UNLV, NM, & BYU have their at-large bids locked up by tourney time..I'd take one for the team and lose to SDSU in the MWC final to get 4 teams in just to help out the conference..

    Actually, I am not sure about that decision. I won't be AS mad if the team on the bubble (pretending 3 other teams are locks) wins the MWC tourney and gets an auto bid.

  25. Outside of the Rebel's most recent Sweet 16 run (which I'd bet 1% of poll voters could recall if asked), the MWC has been an easy out in the NCAA Tourney for years. BYU is practically a guaranteed first round bye for someone every year.

    I know some will say that the league is underrated and underseeded and given tough first round games as a result, but until teams start winning on the hoop court, the league won't have a leg to stand on in court of public opinion.

    Until the MWC puts two teams in the Sweet 16 in the same year, the conference (with its poor TV deal not helping), will face an uphill battle when it comes to gaining national respect.