The UNLV season has not gone as planned but anything can happen in a tournament setting, and it also helps the Rebels a bit that they are at home as they take on rival San Diego State.
Realistically, the Aztecs to should roll to victory over the Rebels, but in case this game is close you can catch the live stream right here.
If conference wins are an accurate representation of postseason success, then the 11th-seeded Runnin' Rebels are going to run into some problems heading into the Mountain West Tournament. After a thrilling double overtime win against Air Force on Jan. 21, the Rebels then proceeded to lose its following 10 out 11 games left on the season.
Sitting at the bottom of the Mountain West for the first time in program history, the Rebels tallied just four conference wins this season, their last one on UNLV's Senior Night where Christian Jones, Tyrell Green and Uche Ofoegbu combined for 46 points and 25 rebounds against Utah State.
Rebels senior forward Tyrell Green, averaging 11.7 points and 5.5 rebounds, hyperextended his knee in UNLV's regular-season finale at Fresno State and is listed as doubtful against the six-seeded Aztecs.
As for San Diego State (17-13, 9-9), who swept UNLV in the regular season, posts 10 straight victories against the Rebels, including six straight in their tournament meetings. The Aztecs finished its conference play at the 500 mark, which is unusual for a team that has played for the tournament title three straight years and in seven of the last eight seasons.
A handful of Aztec student-athletes earned all-conference recognition by coaches and media this past weekend, including junior guard Trey Kell, sophomore guard Jeremy Hemsley and sophomore forward Zylan Cheatham. Senior guard Dakarai Allen was named defensive player of the year, marking it the third consecutive season that an Aztec has been named DPOY in the MW.
The Aztecs continue to be a defensive force in the league, ranking first in blocks, second in steals and second in defensive 3-point field-goal percentage so it's going to take 40-minutes of team basketball from the Rebels to grab a W and continue its tournament run. UNLV has to :
Match SDSU's physicality: Cheatham is shooting 51.2 percent from the field, with a team-high 6.4 rebounds while junior forward Malik Pope is averaging 11.9 points and 6.6 rebounds after missing nine games due to a knee injury.
Limit their success in the paint: The loss of Green will put more pressure on UNLV's Jones and freshmen Cheickna Dembele and Troy Baxter Jr. to not only limit the Aztecs second-chance opportunities but protect the rim too. Baxter Jr. returned to play against Fresno State after missing the previous five games, scoring six points, one block and one rebound.