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Utah is looking for an upset. The Rebels want revenge.
Round one of the MWC tournament at the Thomas & Mack in Las Vegas will feature the sub .500 Utah Utes and the NCAA Tournament hopeful UNLV Rebels.
The Utes shocked the Rebels this season, sweeping the season series 2-0. UNLV has a chance to break the sweep tonight with a win over Utah. Expect them to come out fired up and playing well.
Utah's Kim Tillie is probable for the game and David Foster is listed as questionable. Without the MWC defensive player of the year, the Utes will have a tough time stopping the Rebels who are entering the tournament on a four game win streak. Defense was a big factor in Utah's two wins over UNLV this season.
Utah head coach Jim Boylen likes his teams chances against the Rebels.
"My team's excited and we'll be ready to play. This is our eight time playing Vegas in the last three years... Every game has been a one-two possession game with five minutes to go," Boylen said in a press conference. "It has been battles. This years games have been decided by three point shooting and good team defense."
The Rebels are likely a lock to make the NCAA tournament. A loss in the first to Utah can change things though. They want to avoid a second loss on their home court to the struggling Utah team.
The Utes won the tournament last season and have had decent success playing in Las Vegas. Defense will be key this game. Whether or not David Foster plays will be critical for Utah's hopes to upset the Rebels for the third straight time.
The victor will move on to face the winner of the BYU vs. TCU game on Friday.
Thursday, Mar 11, 2010, 8:30 PM PST
Mountain West Tournament - Quarterfinals - Thomas & Mack Center - Las Vegas, NV