The Nevada Wolf Pack (18-5, 7-3) return to action on Wednesday night as they host their rivals to the south the UNLV Runnin’ Rebels (10-14, 3-8). This will be the first of two meetings this season between the Silver State rivals and it is quite the change from previous seasons in this rivalry.
Despite the Rebels leading the overall series by a count of 59-23, Nevada has won four of the last seven meetings in this rivalry. The Wolf Pack are in uncharted waters in this series as they are only a half-game behind Boise State in the Mountain West conference standings while the Rebels are in unfamiliar territory as well as they are in sole possession of last place in the standings with a 3-8 conference record in the debut season of new Rebels head coach Marvin Menzies.
The Rebels have struggled this season as they are on a four-game losing streak and there last game saw them getting thumped by 20 points at home to Colorado State on Saturday. Given UNLV’s struggles this season, the Wolf Pack (fresh off a 17-point loss to Utah State last week) are aware that they cannot take their rivals lightly. Wolf Pack guard DJ Fenner said, “You look at this conference and it’s so wide open and you look at a team like UNLV and they’re not as good as they’ve been in the past but with this rivalry, all of that goes out of the window.”
For Nevada to defeat their in-state rivals, they must shoot the three-ball way better than they did last week against Utah State. The Wolf Pack went 4 for 26 from downtown in their lost to the Aggies but they should get back on track as the Rebels are allowing teams to shoot 36 percent from the arc in league play. This will be a good chance for Nevada to rediscover their three point stoke against UNLV.
Nevada must also get back to playing tough on the defensive side of the ball. Their defense struggled against Utah State last week but it helps them that they face a UNLV offense that ranks last in the conference in points (averaging 68 points a game), field goal shooting (36 percent) and three-point shooting (averaging 29 percent from downtown.
If Nevada can get back to playing good defense and hitting their threes, then the Wolf Pack can get back on the winning track by defeating their in-state rivals.
Where: Lawlor Events Center
When: Wednesday 8pm
TV/Radio: CBS Sports Network/94.5