REBELS BASKETBALL:

UNLV back in the polls: No. 23 in AP, No. 25 in ESPN/USA Today

Rebels now 19-4 overall, tied atop Mountain West standings following victory over BYU

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Sam Morris / Las Vegas Sun

UNLV guard Tre’Von Willis signals a 3-point shot during the first half of their game against BYU Saturday, Feb. 6, 2010.

#12 BYU vs UNLV

Led by a Tre'Von Willis career-high 33 points, UNLV upended twelfth-ranked BYU 88-74 for the Rebels' seventh straight win over the Cougars at the Thomas & Mack.

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UNLV's next test is against No. 15 New Mexico on Wednesday. How will the Rebels fare?

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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.

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Previous Discussion: 33 comments so far…

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  1. OH YEAH!!!

    sufferin succotash will cry himself to sleep tonight :)

    See you all on Wednesday night! (and at the ncaa tournament)

  2. Is this the 1st time the MWC has had 3 ranked teams in both polls?

  3. Reeeeeebbbbbbeeeeeelllllllsssssss!

  4. Everyone loves a winner. I am glad to see the Rebels back in the rankings. Also nice to see ESPN name Tre'Von the Player of the Week.

    This week definitely presents some challenges for this young team, however I like the Rebels chances of winning both games this week. I'll be at both games (road trip!!!!) and I hope to see everyone else there as well.

  5. Tre is Espns player of the week, bleacher report had a nice article on him, of course the LV Sun has great articles and also cbssports has a article about the MWC and UNLV. This conference is making some serious noise all over the place. Not only football but now basketball

  6. we cannot let this go to our heads... we play so much better as the underdog and with a chip on our shoulder. wed night... be there.

  7. Congrats Runnin' Rebels. Well deserved. Sort of still an underdog to New Mexico...#15. At SDSU will be very difficult. Keep your heads on the ground and prepare for the next 2 games and good things will come!!! Great job this week!!!

  8. We beat UNM. I think were goin dancin!

  9. good. It is deserved.

  10. Tre is becoming one of the best players in the country.

  11. I'm almost 100% sure that this is the first time 3 MWC teams have been in both top 25 polls at the same time. Before this season 2 MWC team were never even in BOTH top 25 polls at the same time.

  12. It's a first. The MWC announced it on Twitter.

  13. I was almost hoping that the Rebels would be snubbed from the polls this week so that they would have more of an edge and an attitude for the next 2 games. Like Crooks - I too will be attending both games this week, making the road trip down to SDSU. I think we're in for a battle Wednesday night with UNM trying to avenge their only home loss this year. As long as we keep playing hard and crashing the boards the way we have been since Jasper went down, we'll be in good shape. I'm planning on celebrating a Rebel victory at the Gas Lamp district on Saturday night.

  14. The Rebels really fed off of the energy and noise in the Thomas & Mack on Saturday. Let's make sure to sell out the T&M again this Wednesday for another HUGE game against another ranked opponent. If UNLV wins this one and can knock off SDSU this weekend, look for them to break the top-20 next week.

    If you don't have a ticket yet for Wednesday's game, what are you waiting for? It will be awesome in the T&M...be there.

  15. Without Chop Jones the Rebs have no chance to defeat the Hobos. Jones' energy is contagious and it raises the Rebs level of play every time he is on the court. He needs to see more playing time!

  16. If the rebels beat NM(they will) then there is no doubt were going dancin... we have a VERY VERY good chance to make it to the sweet 16 and possibly the elite 8... i wouldnt even be surprised if we made it further. now just think about the talent that is quickly developing on this team and the talent that is red shirting and the talent that we will potentially get next year(joseph, polee, etc...)... Wow this team has an extremely bright future ahead of themselves. I really think that we could be a top 10 team easily for the next few years and have a legitimate shot at a national title. who knows if we shoot the way we did on saturday night through the tourney this year then we would win the national title. It feels so good to be a Rebels Fan!!!

  17. Come on Rebels fans ... Get to San Diego and lets give our boys some solid support on the road!

  18. Love the way we are playing but lets stay a little grounded. Yes we are 19-4 and playing very well but some great tests still ahead of us and it was just a few weeks ago we lost to a bad Utah team at home. National title talk is ridiculous. Love the spirit but back to reality. New Mexico is going to be pumped for the rematch. We got to bring it. I do not want another short stay in the polls. I want to see us in the top 25 at the end of the regular season. Then we can start thinking tourney runs. Much work still left. Runnin' Rebels

  19. Incognito, I know your excited, but were not going to shoot like that every game. To be honest, we won't shoot that hot for another 5 years probably. Which is why its important to develop a good low post game to help when your not shooting well from 3 land. I like your enthusiasim though.

  20. Great win for our boys. Funny how everyone was shooting the lights out in the first half except for our shooting specialist. Kendall finally got a couple of big shots in the second half. Hope he's excited about playing the Lobos again so he can light up again like he did at the pit. We are nationally relevant team and need to keep this momentum rolling!

    Gee, where is Sufferin now? Hopefully the Rebels will keep on winning so we don't have to put up with him again. Hope he has fun watching the NIT when true Rebel fans are watching our boys in the NCAA tourney.

  21. "we have a VERY VERY good chance to make it to the sweet 16 and possibly the elite 8..."

    --whoa! let's not start sucking each other's popsicles yet, gentlemen.

    could this team be as good as the Sweet 16 team? absolutely! are we there yet? no.

    we will go as far as our 3-point shooting takes us. yes, if we shoot like we did against BYU the rest of the year, the NCAA title will be ours!!11!! to be serious: consider that we are currently at 32.4%, which puts us a not-so-nifty 234th out of 347 NCAA Div-1 teams. even moderate improvement will make us a team to be reckoned with.

  22. I will be confident about our NCAA bid once we win the Utah game, and not before. I'm not saying we don't have the resume to get it done, but that is our last real test. After that we have Colorado, TCU, and Wyoming at home, and Air Force on the road. We can ALMOST coast at that point.
    Right now we need to fucus on what ever game is next, and that means our second consecutive top 15 ranked game. A lot is on the line for UNM as well, don't forget we are the ONLY team that has taken thier home court from them this year. They would love to do the same to us, and knock us back out of the top 25. We can get this thing done, but lets not get ahead of ourselves as fans!

  23. Switch to dish network.

  24. I agree with Devgpaul. Go into the game Wednesday as a must win and at worst split the road trip. Both SDSU and Utah are long and give the Rebels problems. Much in the same way the Rebels give the Cougars problems. Do you hear that Provo? No way in hell are you winning a game on March 13th, if you are lucky to get that far.

  25. Looks like sufferin's account got hacked.

    Waaiiit a second! You're still trying to setup a goal that, if not met, you can continue your campaign against Kruger.

    Well here's to hoping you're wrong again!

  26. Polls mean nothing. Why would you celebrate just because the Rebels are in the polls for a measly TWO weeks? I won't celebrate until we win a National title. Sufferin--Get a little backbone!

  27. Funny, snyderm. Exactly right.

    Before the BYU game, Sufferin' talked about the next two games defining Kruger's career... After UNLV embarrassed BYU, Sufferin's next post talked about the next two games defining Kruger's career - NM and SDSU... He's just waiting for the next loss (which is coming).

    What a joke. The reality is when the ball went up in the air this past Saturday, he was rooting against Kruger and UNLV which meant he was rooting for BYU. Go post on the Provo Daily site about firing Dave Rose. (Since he's done such a brutal job up there in your opinion.) You're no UNLV fan.

  28. Above all, Sufferin wants the Rebels to win. Don't hate on the dude, he might bash Kruger rather quickly after a loss, but tomorrow may change his mind.

  29. It is just awesome that the Mountain West is getting respect. We all know that this league is a good league...a very good league. The New Mexico game is going to be tough. Both teams have a lot riding on it. These games are turning in to games like Syracuse/Georgetown, Duke/NC, Kansas/Texas and UCLA/UofA types. Major conference games. We have seriously have 5 teams that make a difference. UNLV, and Utah have history. Even New Mexico has some. UNLV has an awesome coach. Dave Rose has done a great job BYU. SDSU and Steve Fisher are more than decent and always have our number. Plain an simple, these games meant something in the past. They were the games that got a team or two to the tourney. Now, these games mean something as it will determine seading. Nice to see the MWC getting major respect for football and basketball. It just makes it more exciting for us true MWC fans but more importantly us UNLV fans. U-N-L-V, G o Fight Win!!!

  30. Hey guys, I've figured the whole thing out. Who else could "flip-flop" on the same issue so many times the way Sufferin has been doing? Think about it: old guy, changed his mind a lot, had all the charm and charisma of a stick. Sufferin is none other than John Kerry! On a more serious note, that is ridiculous. It's amazing what a big serving of humble pie will do for a fella.

  31. Ryan, I would love to read an update on how many tickets are left for New Mexico. Anything close to selling the Mack out again? I know there were roughly 4,000 left Saturday night after the BYU game. Any idea?

  32. rankings and the bottom line are huge for recruits! we must live in the top 25! So proud of these kids...Reno, Louisville, @Arizona, @ the pit, SDSU and a thrashing of bYu!!! what a great year to bad all these haters are missing it!!! Is the best yet to come??? but these kids are all underclassmen this is not suppose to happen this quick!!! shooting is contagious and so is winning!!! keep it up boys and lets put this city in a frenzy!!! REBELS B!@che$!!!

  33. I agree Arizona, the MWC is FINALLY getting well deserved "props" from the rest of the country. I hate to toot my own prescience but I did post early in the year that the MWC has three teams which should be ranked in the top 25, and that the MWC will be hard to ignore this season even with no games on ESPN. (I did, really!)

    It's been a fun year watching these kids come together, here's to UNLV hoops back on the way up! Let's spank those Wolves like we did BYU and then head to SDSU for a tough tough road game. Can't wait...