Things have gone from bad to worse for the UNLV Runnin' Rebels basketball team in the last two weeks. Losing their court general, Ben Carter, to a torn ACL was hard enough news for the UNLV basketball program. More news broke late yesterday that their starting center, Stephen Zimmerman, is now out indefinitely with a knee injury.
Zimmerman was third on the team in scoring and posted 9 double-doubles this season. At this point, the Rebels are down to seven players in their normal rotation with others available only having played minimal minutes in blow-out defeats earlier this year.
Now, the Rebels play host to a team with a Mountain West record that looks closer to their own: San Jose State. SJSU is 8-15 overall this season and 3-8 in the MWC. However, the Spartans are surprisingly coming off back to back wins against Air Force and Fresno State and may be catching fire at the right time to make a push to the middle of the pack.
On the other hand, extremely short handed, the Rebels go home to what may be a lack luster crowd at the Thomas and Mack on Wednesday night as UNLV fans continue to show their frustration on online message boards in each losing effort. Wednesday evening's match-up will be the first and only game that these MWC teams will meet up in the regular season.
UNLV which is 13-11 overall and 4-7 in conference is simply fighting to maintain a winning record. Not only will more be asked of Patrick McCaw (who recently has displayed some inconsistency on the offensive end) but Dwayne Morgan will continue to be called upon for strength on the inside (despite his propensity to end up in foul trouble).
Is UNLV's season a total loss already? No. At this point, the Rebels should be fighting for regular season standing to position themselves for the Mountain West tourney which will be their only shot at dancing anywhere else come mid-March.