unlv basketball:

Rebels to face Cal in NCAA opener, seeded No. 5 in East Region


Steve Marcus

Members of the UNLV men’s basketball team applaud as they learn their selection while watching the NCAA Tournament’s Selection Show at the Mendenhall Center Sunday, March 17, 2013. UNLV will play Golden Bears in its NCAA tournament opener on Thursday at HP Pavilion in San Jose.

Updated Sunday, March 17, 2013 | 3:52 p.m.

The Rebel Room

Rebels get a rematch in NCAA Tournament

The brackets are out and the Las Vegas Sun sports team is here to discuss UNLV's draw as the 5-seed in San Jose, Calif., and a rematch with Cal.

2013 Selection Sunday

Members of the UNLV men's basketball team, from left, Anthony Bennett, Savron Goodman, and Anthony Marshall, learn their selection while watching the NCAA Tournament's Selection Show at the Mendenhall Center Sunday, March 17, 2013. UNLV will play Golden Bears in its NCAA tournament opener on Thursday at HP Pavilion in San Jose. Launch slideshow »

UNLV vs. Cal 2012

Cal guard Justin Cobbs tries to grab a loose ball from UNLV guard Anthony Marshall during the first half of their game Sunday, Dec. 9, 2012 at Haas Pavilion in Berkeley, Calif. UNLV won 76-75. Launch slideshow »

Bring on the Golden Bears. Again.

The UNLV basketball team received a No. 5 seed Sunday for the NCAA Tournament and will face Cal on Thursday in San Jose to open the 68-team event. The Rebels earned an at-large bid for the fourth straight season and will look to win their first tournament game since 2008.

UNLV beat Cal 76-75 earlier this season at the buzzer when Quintrell Thomas muscled for an offensive rebound on a missed shot by Anthony Marshall, converting a layup for one of the Rebels' signature wins of the season.

If they get past Cal again, the Rebels would advance to the round of 32 to face the winner of No. 4 seed Syracuse against No. 13 seed Montana.

Like the first meeting against Cal, Thursday's contest also could be considered a road game for UNLV because it's in San Jose — about a one-hour drive from the Cal campus in Berkeley. It's important to note that it's rare for teams that met in the regular season to face one another in the first weekend of the tournament

UNLV (25-9) lost Saturday in the Mountain West tournament championship game to New Mexico but won seven of its final nine games to gain some momentum.

The Rebels in 2007 advanced to the Sweet 16 with wins against Georgia Tech and Wisconsin. In 2008, they reached the round of 32 after beating Kent State in the tournament opener.

They missed the tournament in 2009 and have lost in the first game the past three seasons — narrowly to Northern Iowa in 2010 and by lopsided fashion against Illinois (2011) and Colorado (2012).

UNLV has four times advanced to the Final Four and won the 1990 national championship.

It was a banner day for the Mountain West, which had a record five teams selected — a tremendous feat for a league considered by many as a mid-major conference.

Boise State, which took fifth in the league and was on the tournament bubble, was one of the last teams in the field. They are a No. 13 seed and play in the first round Wednesday against La Salle. The winner would play Kansas State on Friday.

The league’s other four teams to make the tournament were no surprise.

New Mexico, the league’s regular season and tournament champions, received a No. 3 seed in the West Region and will play Ivy League champ Harvard in Salt Lake City.

San Diego State is seeded No. 7 in the South Region and plays No. 10 Oklahoma to open the tournament. Oklahoma coach Lon Kruger could be at an advantage game-planning against the Aztecs from his days coaching at UNLV through the 2011 season.

Colorado State, which took second ahead of UNLV in the regular season, was seeded No. 8 in the Midwest Region and will face ninth-seeded Missouri.

This is a developing story. Check back later for updates.

Ray Brewer can be reached at 990-2662 or [email protected]. Follow Ray on Twitter at twitter.com/raybrewer21.

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  1. The Rebels have beaten the California Golden Bears in each of the last two years in a home and home matchup. There's no reason why the Rebels can't win again. If they beat Cal and Syracuse wins, it will be an interesting matchup.

  2. Nice seed, nice overall representation of the Mountain West. Go Rebels!

  3. Our center Anthony Marshall should easily be able to post up on them

  4. @spdjjtt - It would be revolutionary if it lead UNLV to the championship.

  5. Somewhere Katin, Bryce and A Beast are salavating at getting past Cal and playing Syracuse. Just think of all the threes they could jack up against the zone!

  6. Bennett is one of the centers, not Marshall. Why is the east region game being played in San Jose ca?

  7. Great seed
    Great location to play in first round.
    Horrible game match up - how is it the Pac 12 got beat up so bad that they should be given a practical home game for Cal as a #12 seed? ESPN will not spend nearly as much time as CBS did on this issue. If this was an ACC or Big East team - oh the comments would be coming out if a Duke or North Carolina played a BCS school in an arena that does not need to travel? UCLA a 6 seed and Oregon a 12 seed - winning the conference - the same seed as Cal? This is a real joke that impacts UNLV.

    Do not like Rice vs. Head Coach for Syracuse who plays a 2-3 zone which feeds into the egos of the 3 point crazy shooters of UNLV. Louisville destroyed them by getting shots in the paint against a zone and not by throwing up 3 pointers. Rice better get his shooters to think about possession and better shots if this team goes forward. Too much talent for UNLV not to beat Cal and then beat Cuse or please please Montana. Coaching will be the difference maker.

  8. He was being facetious bout Marshall...the point is Bennett posts up less than our point guard. Bennett needs to stop the threes unless wide open...and even then forget it....go to the rack !!,!,!

  9. Anthony Bennett: ARE YOU LISTENING ???? Stop the off balance three pointers! Attack the dang basket...every time...post up like you mean it......demand the ball...rebound like a beast and we go all the way........go watch some film of Moses scurry. Post up every time!!

  10. Please Coach Rice, remind these guys that every time we have assumed a first round win, we have been beaten, occasionally trounced. Please get these guys focused. And if the word "Syracuse" is mentioned by any player or coach until the Cal game is over, they should be left home from the tourney!

    Cmon Rebs get it done!!!

  11. "ESPN will not spend nearly as much time as CBS did on this issue."

    And there are some out there who are already calling Greg Anthony a "homer" for making similar observations. Great seed, great location, yes. Playing a first round game against a same-year repeat opponent? The NCAA obviously still remembers their lost battle with Coach Tarkanian.

  12. Will you idiots quit talking about Syracuse!!! We have no business taking Cal for granted. We have shown nothing in the tourney for a few years. One game at a time, fools!

  13. The Rebels got hosed in a major way. The committee violated not one, but two principles that it has always tried to uphold. First, having to play Cal again on the road. Second, giving the lower seed the geographical advantage!! It would be bad enough having to play a non conf opponent again...on the road...but to compound that "irregularity" by tacking on the geographic disadvantage too? I dont have a problem with giving the geographic advantage to the higher seed....they earned it. But what did the Rebels get for being a top 5 seed? Punished. That is total garbage.

  14. I agree UNLV didn't get much for a no. 5 seed but now is the time to show some rebel grit.

    I hope Rice uses Birch a lot more than he has. There's a chemistry between Birch and Bennett that brings out the best in both. He should leave Moser out of starting line up and play a consistent line up. I don't see near as much changing up with other teams as we have.

  15. Please Icr, we don't play. We can talk about Syracuse or Indiana or Miami or even a possible Final 4 rematch with New Mexico and it doesn't matter because we're just fans.

  16. The February Cal team was much better than a 12-seed, and the Nov-Dec-Jan-March Cal team was terrible. We'll see which one shows up in San Jose. Go Bears!