It is Senior Night at Thomas & Mack Center is Las Vegas tonight. UNLV hosts the league’s best and instate rival Nevada. Tipoff is scheduled for 11:00 p.m. ET with the host Rebels honoring their three seniors. West Coast Conference Free Pick: Wolf Pack -2 over Rebels.
The celebration in Reno on Sunday night gave No #21 Nevada at least a share of their second straight Mountain West regular season championship. The Wolf Pack earned a home court win over the Colorado State Rams. The ‘Pack also secured the No #1 seed for next week’s conference tourney which will be played in the same venue as tonight’s event.
Nevada (-2, 164) coach Eric Musselman verbalized with the local media that he will not rest players for tonight’s contest. The goal for the coaching staff and the players is to win. And most important take home the conference crown next week and secure a high seed for the NCAA title tournament.
Former NBA tutor, Musselman, was confident and definitive in Sunday night’s post-game presser. “I was raised only one way and it was to try and win every single game,” Musselman said. “There’s going to be a scoreboard. I’ve got competitive players and we are going to UNLV. We are not resting anybody.”
The Runnin’ Rebels have lost three in a row. Another little known variable for the Rebs is that the squad isn’t well oiled nor do they mesh when taking the court. And while the squad has had their share of impressive performances this season as a whole they are not as talented, deep or as focused as their foe tonight.
There will be a sense of revenge for the Wolf Pack tonight. In the first meeting between the two state-foes the Rebels upset Nevada by an 86-78 score in Reno. Senior guard Jovan Mooring scored 31 points in the event. However, Nevada was without Mountain West Player of the Year candidate Caleb Martin (foot).
Martin and the Wolf Pack are healthy, save Lindsey Drew (Achilles) coming into the regular season finale while the Rebels have question marks surrounding their guard Mooring. The senior is questionable for tonight’s game after suffering a foot injury in the team’s 91-90 loss at New Mexico on Sunday. Kendall Stephens, a transfer from Purdue, has not been slowed while playing through a right thumb injury. Despite the ailment Stephens has knocked down over 100 3-pointers this season.
The Martin brothers, Cody and Caleb, are too much for the soft Rebels lineup tonight. And physical frontcourt stalwart Jordan Caroline (17.1), senior guard Stephens (13.6) and Cody Martin (13.6) will all score in double digits and contain UNLV 7-foot McDonald’s All-American Brandon McCoy and 6-9 forward Shakur Juiston.
Furthermore, Mooring, if inactive will be seriously missed. He not only leads the Rebels with 58 made 3-pointers but also averages 3.2 assists and is the team’s best defender. UNLV with an injured Mooring will be outrebounded, outscored and will continue to be sloppy with the ball as they have the entire season. The Rebels average nearly 15 turnovers per game which ranks near the bottom in Division I hoops.
Consequently backing the visiting Wolf Pack tonight is a value-packed investment.
West Coast Conference Free Pick: Wolf Pack -2 over Rebels
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