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
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.