For the second time in less than a week, Matt Youmans of the Las Vegas Review-Journal and who covers UNLV men’s basketball answered five questions I had for him on Thursday’s game with Wyoming in the quarterfinals of the MW Tournament.

What was your take of last Saturday’s UNLV-Wyoming game and what surprised you the most about the outcome of the game? The Cowboys played well, the Rebels shot well as expected, and the officiating was awful. Two soccer flops by UNLV players drew key fouls on Leonard Washington and JayDee Luster. Sometimes officials act as if they get paid by the whistle. The game was choppy and ugly because of too many unnecessary foul calls. That did not surprise me, because I get used to seeing poor officiating, and the final score didn’t surprise me. But in reality it was closer than an 11-point game.

A lot is being made, as is the case every year, with the Mountain West Tournament being held in the home arena of UNLV. What’s your opinion on that and what, if anything should be done about it in the future? It’s obvious Las Vegas is the right city for this event. That’s why two other conferences (West Coast and Western Athletic) moved tournaments here and a third (Pac-12) is about to relocate. It’s also why several holiday tourneys are in Vegas. It’s about money and TV, not about fairness to student-athletes, and the NCAA leads the way with that. The MW Tournament was a disaster in Denver. Maybe it could be moved to Albuquerque, but what’s the point? Albuquerque resembles the surface of the moon and nobody would be excited to vacation there. It would be better to play this at the MGM Grand Garden, though don’t count on that happening, either. Also, what some people need to remember is it’s not automatic that UNLV wins it all because of home-court advantage. The Rebels have not won this since 2008. Sure it’s unfair, but aside from the MGM there are no better options.

What did Wyoming do well in last Saturday’s game with UNLV that may have surprised you? Nothing really surprised me because I know the Cowboys are good. Francisco Cruz hit all four of his 3-pointers, and Washington and Adam Waddell were tough inside in spurts. Foul trouble really killed the Cowboys, but there’s not much they could do about some of those terrible whistles.

Does Wyoming have a shot to win Thursday? Believe it or not, I really do think the underdog has a shot Thursday night. The Rebels are not playing especially well at either end of the floor and their rebounding is soft aside from Mike Moser. But they are 16-0 at the Thomas & Mack. I won’t be surprised if UNLV loses this week, but in this game I’ll say the Rebels grind out a seven-point win.

Who gets to the championship game and who ultimately wins? Everyone seems to be saying there will be upsets in this tournament, and I agree. But I have no strong opinion. I’ll go with UNLV beating Colorado State in the final because the Rebels will be favored in every possible match up and the Rams nearly pulled off a sweep of San Diego State.

7 thoughts on “UW-UNLV Q&A

    • I don’t know why everyone has jumped on the sheep band wagon, they have 1 count them 1 road MWC victory. I could actually see TCU putting an end to their regular season. If WYO had any kind of depth we would be talking about the POKES in the final, but with the level of competition this year it’s almost impossible to not have a drop off like we have seen too many times in the second half of games. The excitement is back and Coach Shyatt will be bringing home championships in the very near future!

      • I could easily see TCU coming out of the other half of the bracket too. My thought is that San Diego State has a depth problem similar to ours and I expect that it will catch up to them on Day 2.

        TCU has better athletes than CSU but I am more impressed with how CSU plays. I think either of the higher-seeded teams on our side of the bracket would beat CSU or TCU and I think that who ever comes out of our side will win the whole thing. That includes us. In my mind, though, New Mexico cuts down the nets on Saturday.

  1. What are your thoughts on going big with Nance in place of Martinez. Martinez plays great defense, but with the Pokes emphasis on strong 1/2 court defense and deliberate offense would that work? It would likely move Washington away from the hoop, but he seems to be a good wing player. I think Nance has tremendous weakside rebounding ability. Just a thought

    • Maybe at times but in doing that you have no proven bigs to bring off the bench. If they got into foul trouble like UW was in last game it could be a problem.


  2. RG,
    I think if the Pokes come out with focus this will be a very different game than last weeks game. Lets hope the officials let them play and keep the whistles to minimum. As far as the home court is concerned I like it being in Vegas but put it at a different location….MGM..

  3. “Two soccer flops by UNLV players drew key fouls on Leonard Washington and JayDee Luster. Sometimes officials act as if they get paid by the whistle. The game was choppy and ugly because of too many unnecessary foul calls”

    Ill admit that Im a UNLV fan that is posting on this website, as I found this post after searching “Leonard Washington Flop” in google to find the video from last nights game.

    I have tremendous respect for Wyomings game and it seems like they play with each other and for each other. They control the tempo really well and can hit a three when its really needed.

    However, I find the authors choice of words pretty funny considering the cowboy flop more and better than anyone in the MWC. I was at the game last night and few fouls come to mind. But the worst was Leonard Washington falling down after his jumper on the baseline. He was whiffed at best by Anthony Marshall. It was a pretty mixed crowd last night and when the crowd erupted in laughter it wasnt just UNLV fans. He missed his subsequent freethrows….rim dont lie.

    Also, It really was not closer than an 11 point game. Cowboys did battle back from a 20 POINT DEFICIT and cut it down to 6 at one point, but thats the closest it got.

Comments are closed.