Thursday, Oct. 29, 2009 | 1:50 p.m.
The basketball teams at Cornell and Utah State are better than UNLV, at least that’s according to 31 coaches.
In the newly released ESPN/USA Today coaches poll, the Rebels received two points. On the Top 25 list they check in at No. 53.
Cornell and Utah State both got three points.
Last season, UNLV went 21-11. It lost seven of its final 11 games, including an opening game in the National Invitation Tournament at Kentucky.
With returnees like Tre'Von Willis, Oscar Bellfield, Darris Santee, and transfers Derrick Jasper (Kentucky) and Chace Stanback (UCLA), all of who were stung by last season, the Rebels might have the arsenal and experience to return to the NCAA tournament next spring.
The Big Red of Cornell is the favorite in the Ivy League. It went 21-10 last season and lost to Missouri in the first round of the NCAA tournament.
The Aggies of Utah State won a school-record 30 games last season and lost to Marquette by a point in an NCAA first rounder. They are coached by 12th-year boss Stew Morrill.
Other Mountain West Conference teams showing up in the poll are BYU (16 points) and San Diego State (8 points).
Kansas (770) points, Michigan State (732), Texas (676), North Carolina (653) and Kentucky (635) are the top five teams in the preseason poll.
Follow Rob Miech on Twitter at twitter.com/RobMiech.