UNLV opens up their final stretch of the regular season that will consist of 3 of 4 games at home, against opponents with a combined record of 45-57. The first of these four games is home against Colorado State, the best of the bunch. Given the way UNLV has played as of late, that's not exactly saying a whole lot. After handling BYU, the Rebels have dropped three straight to New Mexico, San Diego State and Utah. In a matter of a week they went from tournament lock to precariously positioned on the bubble.
While the phrase "control your own destiny" is a bit of a misnomer (since you can't really control destiny), the Rebels have a say in their eventual fate. Of course, if they lose any of their four remaining games, I'd argue the only way they could then get into the tournament would be by winning the Mountain West conference tournament. As hosts that's certainly a very do-able premise, but the Rebels, and this fan, don't want to have to rely on winning the conference tournament.
The Rebels sit as a 14.5 point favorite against the 15-10 Rams. A month ago, UNLV went into Ft. Collins and beat the Rams 80-72, behind a combined 40 points from Tre'Von Willis and Chace Stanback. It was the Rebels 13th win in 14 games against CSU. At this point, wins are not about seeding for the conference tournament. Rather, it's about padding their NCAA resume. UNLV will likely have to beat two of the trio of BYU, New Mexico and SDSU. Of course, Utah may have a psychological edge on the Rebels given their regular season sweep, so maybe just avoid them...
The Rams are led by freshman guard Dorian Green with 12.6 ppg followed by junior forward Andy Ogide (11.6 ppg) and junior forward Travis Franklin (11.0 ppg). Ogide leads the team in rebounds with 5.6 rpg followed by Franklin with 5.4 rpg. The Rams one of a multitude of MWC teams led by young talent. If Green can continue his development heading into next season, the Rams could be fairly dangerous, only adding more depth to a growing conference.
UNLV continues to be led by junior Tre'Von Willis. He put 32 points in a losing effort at Utah on Wednesday as the Rebels once again could not get a strong supporting effort. They're getting a little of this and that from the rest of the team, but clearly not enough to get victories. Although he wasn't a huge scorer, Derrick Jasper seems to be missed when it comes to the necessary dirty work. This is still a very talented team, but they seem to be lacking some kind of confidence or edge, in spite of the win at BYU. They need to regain that killer instinct if they want to go dancing in March.