Sam Morris / Las Vegas Sun
Monday, Feb. 8, 2010 | 10:45 a.m.
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Apparently, UNLV's resounding 88-74 victory Saturday over then-No. 12 BYU created more than just a few ripples in the Top 25 ponds.
The Rebels (19-4 overall, 7-2 Mountain West) are back in the polls for the second time this season, checking in this week at No. 23 in the Associated Press poll and No. 25 in the ESPN/USA Today coaches poll.
A week ago, Lon Kruger's club received only 16 votes from the AP and 11 from the nation's coaches.
UNLV has a golden opportunity to move up even higher after ousting BYU (22-3, 7-2), who this week checks in at No. 17 in both polls. The Rebels host No. 15/19 New Mexico (21-3, 7-2) at 8 p.m. Wednesday at the Thomas & Mack Center. They already beat the Lobos once this season, winning 74-62 on Jan. 9 in Albuquerque.
After that will be a trip to meet San Diego State (16-7, 5-4) on Saturday at Viejas Arena. The Aztecs fell to New Mexico in overtime Saturday at The Pit, 88-86.
UNLV got as high as No. 18 in the AP poll and No. 17 in the coaches poll earlier this season before suffering their first loss Dec. 12 at the Orleans Arena to Kansas State.
The top of the polls saw a bit of shake-up.
In the AP poll, Kansas (22-1) remained in the top spot, while Syracuse (23-1) jumped Kentucky (22-1) for the No. 2 slot. They're followed by Villanova (20-2), West Virginia (19-3), Purdue (19-3), Georgetown (17-5), Duke (19-4), Kansas State (19-4) and Michigan State (19-5) to round out the top 10.
Willis named MWC co-Player of the Week
For the second time in two weeks, UNLV junior guard Tre'Von Willis has been named the Mountain West Conference's Player of the Week.
This time, however, he shared honors with New Mexico junior forward Darington Hobson. The two will square off Wednesday at the Mack.
Willis scored 15 points in the Rebels' 78-50 blowout of Wyoming on Wednesday, but followed it up with a career-high 33 points Saturday against BYU. He also had eight assists, no turnovers and eight rebounds against the Cougars.
Willis is the Rebels' leading scorer this season at 18 ppg.
Hobson, in the overtime victory over SDSU, finished with 29 points, 12 rebounds, six assists, no turnovers and three steals.