UW at UNLV men’s hoops Q&A

Here is my a question-and-answer session with Mark Anderson, who covers UNLV men’s basketball for the Las Vegas Review-Journal, about Saturday’s game with the University of Wyoming.

Mark Anderson

Mark Anderson

Tip off is at 6 p.m. MT at the Thomas & Mack Center in Las Vegas.

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How is the health status of UNLV going into this game? Who is out for sure, and how are guys like freshman forward Stephen Zimmerman Jr. and senior point guard Jerome Seagears?

Still not great. I expect Zimmerman to finally play. He looked good in practice on Thursday, the sprained left knee apparently not giving him trouble. But Seagears (right heel) didn’t practice. It’s iffy whether he will play.

With the recent rash of injuries which players have stepped up their game, and who, in your opinion, need to as the season concludes?

I think all the players have done a good job of coming together and trying to elevate their play. Effort hasn’t been the issue. UNLV has played well at times, but in the second half at Boise State on Tuesday, the extra minutes caught up. I would like to see Patrick McCaw become more consistent. He has moments where he looks like the Mountain West’s best player and other times where you barely notice he’s on the court, but in his defense, he’s being asked to do a lot of things out of position.

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Players weigh in on toughest places to play in MW men’s basketball

I caught up with players from all 11 Mountain West teams and asked them the toughest places to play in the league during MW Men’s Basketball Media Day in Las Vegas.

As you will see, no big surprises where some of the toughest places are, but it’s still fun to see some of the players’ reactions.

G Josh Adams, Sr., Wyoming: New Mexico. Packed house. Very loud. Their fans know everything about you, and they know basketball.”

G Marqueze Coleman, Sr., Nevada: San Diego State and New Mexico. The crowds there are incredible.

G/F Tyron Criswell, Sr., Nevada: San Diego State. Their student section was wild. You couldn’t hear anything. We had to coach ourselves.

G Joe De Ciman, Sr., Colorado State: The Pit at New Mexico. You walk down that ramp and that’s what college basketball is all about.

F Tiel Daniels, Sr. Colorado State: The Pit.

G/F Anthony Drmic, Sr., Boise State: Colorado State, Wyoming, Utah State. Especially Wyoming with the altitude. 

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UW-UNLV men’s basketball: 3 keys, notes, quotes and video

My three keys for the Wyoming men’s basketball team in its game at UNLV, which starts at 6 p.m. today at the Thomas & Mack Center in Las Vegas.

Larry Shyatt

Larry Shyatt

1. Pick and choose: Meaning when UW wants to get into transition and drive to the basket, or even when it drives to the basket in its half-court offense, the Cowboys must be smart as UNLV is fourth in the nation with 6.9 blocked shots per game. “Those are turnovers. They block a shot that goes in bounds, that’s no different than  a dropped ball,” UW coach Larry Shyatt said. “You have to pick and choose when you attack the rack and look for inside out drop-offs. They really have a presence in the paint.”

That presence includes 6-foot-11 sophomore Christian Wood (2.9 bpg) and 6-10 freshman Goodluck Okonoboh (2.8 bpg). Okonoboh is the Mountain West record holder for blocked shots by a freshman with 74.

Here is my video preview of the game:


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UW-UNLV men’s basketball Q&A

WyoSports senior editor Robert Gagliardi did a question-and-answer session with Matt Youmans, who covers UNLV men’s basketball for the Las Vegas Review-Journal, on Saturday’s game with the University of Wyoming.

Tipoff is at 6 p.m. MT at the Thomas & Mack Center in Las Vegas.

Follow on Twitter: @mattyoumans247

Matt Youmans

Matt Youmans

In your wildest imagination did you ever see the season go as it has for UNLV at 15-13 and 6-9 in the league?

In my wild imagination, if the season turned into a debacle for the Rebels, they could finish fifth in the conference. It appeared to be a team too talented to slip below fifth in a mediocre conference. I always was high on San Diego State, Colorado State and Wyoming, so I had UNLV finishing third or fourth. The Rebels’ upset of Arizona in December fooled some of us who were impressed with this team’s talent and potential. But that said and all excuses aside, to finish seventh or eighth is just ridiculous.

 

Injuries have played a factor in the struggles, but what else has led to the team’s shortcomings this season?

The Rebels were starting to put things together before the Rashad Vaughn injury. Still, that’s an excuse, too, because they lost six of seven games from Dec. 31 to Jan. 21 with Vaughn in the lineup. UNLV has come up short in most close games, and part of that is young players failing to execute and learning how to win, and part of that is the coaches not making the right moves. For a variety of reasons, it’s not a good defensive team. You always can find a few stats that say the defense is solid. But a good defensive team does not allow 51 points in the second half to Air Force or 48 points in the second half to Utah State, etc. A consistently good offensive team does not score 48 points in a home loss to Boise State. This team never has developed a real identity, and that’s a big problem.

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UW-UNLV men’s basketball Q&A

WyoSports senior editor Robert Gagliardi did a question-and-answer session with Matt Youmans, who covers UNLV men’s basketball for the Las Vegas Review-Journal, about Wednesday’s Mountain West opener for both teams. Tip-off is at 7 p.m. at the Arena-Auditorium in Laramie.

Follow on Twitter: @mattyoumans247

Matt Youmans

Matt Youmans

With UNLV’s 71-67 win over No. 3 Arizona last week, who now is No. 8 this week, have the Rebels found themselves heading into league play with a roster filled with young talent?

A lot has changed in a week. The Rebels looked a little lost and were being disregarded going into the Arizona game. Believe it or not, that was the first time since December 1995 that UNLV was a double-digit home underdog. This team took severe beatings from Stanford and Arizona State. But the young guys actually did find themselves last week. Chris Wood dominated inside and Rashad Vaughn took over as the leader and go-to scorer. Patrick McCaw, Dwayne Morgan and Jordan Cornish are playing with more confidence as freshmen off the bench. Now this team has a true belief it can beat or compete with anyone.

How is the team different, aside from the youth, than the last couple of UNLV teams?

Cody Doolin, as a senior point guard, has added maturity and set a good example for the young players. Also, and this is very important, the coaching staff is doing a better job of running a disciplined program. Last year, it was the ‘inmates running the asylum’ cliché. There are obvious improvements in team chemistry and maturity. The victory over Arizona helps in that everyone is buying in to what the coaches are selling now.

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