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.

Follow on Twitter: @markanderson65

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.

How would you assess the work interim coach Todd Simon has done since he took over for former coach Dave Rice in early January? Does he have any shot at being named the full-time coach after the season?

Simon has done a really good job of keeping this team together through some really trying times. It’s difficult to imagine getting more out of this team given all the injuries. Having said all that, I believe UNLV will outside for its next coach.

On that same note, if Simon does not get the job who does UNLV go after?

We’ve heard a lot of names, and there is tremendous interest. My suspicion is UNLV hires a head coach, but I keep hearing university president Len Jessup really likes Arizona associate head coach Joe Pasternack. Jessup went to UNLV from Arizona. But it’s difficult to get a read on where the search is going, even though a lot of fans are excited about the possibility of landing Rick Pitino. I see that as a long shot, however.

How do you see the game with Wyoming playing out? What match-ups or keys do you see as vital and who wins?

I think it comes down to how much of a half-court game Wyoming can get the Rebels into, which obviously was a key reason the Cowboys won the January matchup. I do expect Wyoming to be competitive. UNLV will be trying to get used to having Zimmerman back there again, and the Rebels remain thin. But I do expect UNLV to win.

Cowboys game day

Game: Wyoming (13-16 overall, 6-10 Mountain West) at UNLV (16-13, 7-9)

When: 6 p.m. Saturday

Where: Thomas & Mack Center, Las Vegas

TV: ESPN3 — online

Radio: KFBC (1240 AM) Cheyenne; KCGY (96.1 FM) Laramie