REBELS BASKETBALL:

3-game skid leaves Rebels on NCAA tourney bubble

Willis scores 32, but Rebels drop third straight as margin for error continues to shrink with 66-61 loss at Utah

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Steve C. Wilson / AP

UNLV guard Oscar Bellfield (0) drives around Utah guard Marshall Henderson (3) on his way to the basket during the first half of Wednesday’s game in Salt Lake City.

UNLV vs Utah

The NCAA Tournament hopes for UNLV took a major hit Wednesday, with the Rebels falling at Utah, 66-61.

UNLV-Utah Basketball

Utah guard Carlon Brown (15) drives around UNLV forward Darris Santee (44) during the Utes' 66-61 upset victory over the Rebels in Salt Lake City on Feb. 17. Launch slideshow »

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The Rebel Room

UTAH POSTGAME: The third cut is the deepest

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Ryan Greene and Christine Killimayer come to you from Salt Lake City, where they discuss UNLV's 66-61 loss at Utah — the team's third straight — and what the implications were towards the Rebels' postseason hopes.

SALT LAKE CITY — For now, forget what outside experts and so-called bracketologists are saying regarding UNLV's NCAA tournament hopes, whether it be good or bad.

After another rough showing it appears that as important as winning games is now, it's also important to get back to playing like what — simply put — was a different-looking group.

Wednesday's 66-61 setback at Utah was the Rebels' third consecutive defeat since landing a resounding 88-74 victory over conference kingpin BYU at home less than two weeks ago.

Plagued again by the same woes — coming out of the gates flat, spotty rebounding and inconsistent scoring — Lon Kruger's club was again forced to fight from behind on the road.

And, again, an inability to get over the hump placed UNLV (19-7 overall, 7-5 Mountain West) on the losing end. It's also hard to completely ignore the fact that it may have put the team firmly on the NCAA tournament bubble.

"The loss is frustrating, but it's more frustrating that we don't fight for a whole 40 minutes," junior guard Tre'Von Willis said. "We came out so flat and we definitely weren't doing the things we wanted to do. That's the frustrating thing about it. You prepare to play as hard as you can play, and we had a couple miscues and things like that hurt us."

It was one thing for Willis — who led all scorers with 32 points — to say the Rebels were flat again. But it was noticed by the opponents who took advantage of it, too.

Carlon Brown, who led the Utes with 18 points and repeatedly hurt UNLV with his ability to explode with his first step, drive and finish at the rim, was asked if he thought the Rebels resembled a team ready to fight for a win they badly needed.

"I don't think they did in the first half," he said. "In the second half, they showed more of a sense of urgency, and Willis was getting into it with the crowd.

"I expected more from them, but I'm not going to say nothing. I'm going to take the win."

In the grand scheme of things, the loss did nothing more for the Utes (12-13, 5-6) than give them bragging rights, having swept the season series from the Rebels in an up-and-down year for Jim Boylen's club.

But the implications were bigger for UNLV, which lost more ground in an effort to improve its standing in the race for a potential at-large spot in March's field of 65. The loss dropped the Rebels into fourth place in the league as the three teams ahead of them — No. 12 New Mexico, No. 16 BYU and San Diego — only get hotter and hotter.

"We go into every ballgame thinking that way," Kruger said of the must-win label given by many to Wednesday's contest. "And we'll go into the next one thinking exactly the same way."

For as rough as things may have looked early on, the Rebels still had a chance to cover it all up late, showing the thinness of the team's margin for error.

Having not led in a game since being up 5-4 on San Diego State early Saturday afternoon, UNLV came back from a second-half deficit which was as large as nine points to tie it up at 61-61 with 2:15 to play. That was thanks to a second-chance bucket from Darris Santee, who hustled for an offensive rebound on the play.

After Brown hit a jumper to put Utah ahead by two, the Rebels called two timeouts to set things up for a crucial possession, and the plan was clearly to just get the ball to Willis and let him go to work.

There was no reason not to.

To that point, he'd scored 32 points, including 20 in the second half, as he was the Rebels' lone consistent scoring threat all night.

With the ball on the left wing, 20 seconds showing on the game clock and roughly eight on the shot clock, Willis put up a shot-fake on a 3-point attempt, drew his defender in the air, but then hoisted an uncomfortable-looking trey rather than putting the ball on the floor.

It missed, and Utah closed the game out from the free throw line.

"I was thinking about making the shot," he said when asked about his thought process after the head-fake. "But I feel like I let my teammates down, though, tonight. I felt like I could have done better. They put me in a position to tie or win the game, and I didn't make the most of the opportunity."

Added Kruger: "We wanted to get it in his hands. If he could jab-and-shoot, great. Obviously, he couldn't, but he had a little window there. Obviously it was a contested shot."

While Willis, being the team's unquestioned leader, spoke as if the loss was on him, the onus is now on everyone to stop the bleeding.

The final quarter of UNLV's regular season schedule begins at 3 p.m. Saturday with a home date against Colorado State. The other three games are against three teams directly below them in the league standings — TCU, Air Force and Wyoming.

For now, with the things that still need fixing, the Rebels don't want to go into specifics on the uncertain future.

"It's kind of a moot point," Kruger said when asked about the lost opportunity in terms of aiding the Rebels' postseason hopes. "Obviously, if you don't win a ball game, you lose the opportunity to put one in the right column. I don't know what else can be said about that. It's a lost opportunity."

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  1. I have supported Kruger for awhile now and the last couple of seasons has really hurt. I am starting to think that we need to go in another direction. The guy can't recruit and get the players we need to even win the league. He has been here awhile and no league titles. I am hoping the boosters are talking to Theus as we speak.

  2. I am certainly one who tends to get way too negative when the Rebels lose. However I have been concerned for a long time and it appears as though history is going to repeat itself again. This will be the second straight year that we have an NCAA spot in our hands and we fold down the stretch forcing us to win the MWC tourney. I have never been one to ask for Kruger's firing because I think he is a class guy who runs a clean program and has done a great job reconnecting with the bball alumni and healing the program. With that said I do not know how it can be argued that he has never been a high level recruiter. Without being a high level recruiter I do not know how you can expect UNLV to overtake SDSU, New Mexico, and BYU. If we do not upgrade our talent this is going to be the story every year. You can not expect to try to outcoach every opponent. When you have nights where you do not play well or an opposing coach has a great game plan you have to have talented guys step up and make plays. The last two years UNLV has time after time failed to do that. I want to give Coach the benefit of the doubt but with each slip up and with each blown opportunity the finger has to point at him eventually.

  3. Hey Ryan, You see what the fans want, but unfortunately I don't believe UNLV cares what the fans want. There are two ways to get their attention, media pressure and low turnouts at the T&M for the final few game. Ryan, you are the media pressure part. How about an article about what's been posted here with an update on where Reggie Theus is now. Maybe you could give him a call and find out if he is still interested in the job. For the rest of us remember that we are the customer here. We have a voice when we go to the games. If there is 16,000+ for a Saturday afternoon game against Col St. then the fans are saying that they are OK with mess. If there is less then 10,000 people there then that will send a message that we do care about the future of this program. I know it sucks for the kids, but from what I watched Wednesday night they don't seem to care too much either and don't want to play hard for Lonnie Boy anyway.

    BOYCOTT THE MACK

  4. Another frustrating loss. Walking rebels last night for sure. I think it was one of the worst 1st halves I have seen. I thought the last NM game was bad, but this one takes the cake. Willis was good except for that last shot he had the defender in the air and a clear drive to the basket but settled for a difficult 3.

    How far down does the rabbit hole go. "Runnin'" was stolen by the Utes. HUSTLE and wear them out. Looking like last season all over again, I almost feel if UNLV does go dance, they don't deserve it because they look like they don't want it enough. Get on the same page.

  5. Lon "NIT" Kruger. Puts together just enough talent to tease you, but in reality they aren't very good. Rebounding is all about heart, and this team has very little. Willis and Bellefield- besides that there is nothing. Stanback is the Charmin man- soft, softer and softest.

  6. I still support Kruger.
    I don't know whos fault it is but this team is bad. They are starting to sound like Mike Sanford with all of the excuses.

  7. What a disgrace. Good thing Chop's minutes weren't significant or anything. The guy fell on his face during the game and cost us what I think was a 7-0 run by getting blown by defensively. Since we lost by 5, that's not significant at all. Time for Theus. Let's face it. This is who we are under Kruger. A team that needs the MWC tournament every year to make it. If it wasn't because the tournament was held at home and because of Kevin Kruger, Lonnie would have been on the hot seat for a while. We have no athleticism.

    For those who say Theus is unproven, I tell you this: Kruger is proven. He is proven that he is mediocre. I rather have a guy like Theus who has declared this his dream job. If you think that Theus would have this lack of talent on the court; Massamba, Jones, Wallace, etc. then I have a nice bridge in the Atlantic Ocean to sell you.

    Lon "NIT" Kruger is not who we need and the community is starting to open their eyes to what we have been saying for a while.

    Reggie Theus!!!!!

  8. Guys, Kruger isn't going anywhere. His contract has been extended already for around 3 years, and there is no money to hire. Special session coming and NSHE gonna get hit hard with a hiring freeze.

  9. We have to take better shots and make the open one buckets. Brown was unreal last night. I've never seen him play that good. And if i ever see Drca on the street, I might sock him. That kid isn't a physical player, he's dirty.

  10. it has never seemed to me that UNLV has made "excuses" for the loss. an excuse would be, "the locker rooms at utah are bad, therefore we weren't motivated so we lost." or "we rode a bus to san diego, so everyones legs were stiff, therefore we lost." I think they have been very honest about their efforts, and credit them for that. (though i really don't credit their lack of effort, i'm crediting their honesty) Kruger is a class coach and personally i don't think he is going anywhere anytime soon. I can almost guarantee that the frustration the fans are feeling right now is now where near the disappointment and frustration the players and coaching staff are feeling.

    as for a no talent team? I completely disagree. this team is loaded with huge talent, however, i think the utah coach said it best in the rebel warmup show, UNLV is a DEVELOPING Team. and DEVELOPING teams have their ups and downs. i'm not making an excuse for them, i'm stating the obvious.

    Until UNLV is consistently in the top 25 and tournament, they will not get NBA level recruits, and i don't see Kruger having a record of getting his wins Vacated at 2 different schools back to back. people can forget the "Glory Years" it too Tark 4 years for his first final 4, Kruger was on pace with his Sweet 16 run (with a lot more level of talent in the NCAA sweet 16 IS something to brag about) and 13 Years to win a national championship.

    I think Kruger is headed In the Right direction. i think the program is as clean as it has ever been.

    and thought these slump has been very very disappointing, and making the NCAA Tournament seems almost impossible, i'll still cheer on the rebels in every game they play.

  11. please excuse the grammatical errors its hard to type on a phone

  12. Every year fans say "wait til next year". Every team is saying the same thing. Every team is young and athletic. There is no waiting for next year. If Kruger cant produce then he needs to go.

  13. Sofaking is exactly correct. Kruger is our guy for the foreseeable future. More frustrating to me though beyond the talent level is our style of play. We all fell in love with Tarks teams because they were indeed the Runnin Rebels. 90-100 points on a regular basis. What amuses me is that with the current team that Coach has, running and pressing is the best option. We have no inside game but our bigs can run the floor. We have athletes like Willis, Bellfield, Jasper, Marshall and Hawkins that can either start the break or get out and finish. Even Wallace would be better on the break. Think how difficult it is for him to get an open look in the half court offense. Spotting up off the break would give him so many more looks from three. Instead of that limp wristed man to man token pressure, zone press, trap and force the tempo. If this team really committed to running they would not have to stand toe to toe in the half court with SDSU, UNM, and Utah. Also playing a pressing and trapping style it is pretty tough to come out flat. You better bring energy all game long. That style gets you into the game quicker. Oh well I guess I can dream. Walking Rebels!

  14. Reggie Theus = Bill Bayno without the personal demons.

    Remember how great those years were? All those NCAA tournament victories and sold out games at the Mack?

  15. We are losing because we don't rebound and we don't score enough points. We do not have an OVERALL lack of talent, but we are clearly lacking talent/effort in the front court. Our guards are as talented as anyone's but they are young. Tre would start for any team in the country.

    However, our bigs are a major disappointment. Poor defense, not enough effort to crash the boards, and very little offensive threat. That's why we're losing - other teams are extending their defense and disrupting our back court, knowing that there's no threat of us beating them inside. And our 3-pt shooting has been poor, so the drive-and-kick strategy isn't working either. We have become a one-and-done jumpshooting team.

    The rebounding is the most disappointing part. rebounding is about effort - put a body on someone and when the ball hits the rim go get it. Massamba averages 1 REB every 6 minutes and he's 6'10"! No excuse for that. Where are you, Warren Rosegreen?

  16. Gumby- DEAD ON. This is a problem I have with Kruger- he does not utilize the strengths of the players he has. To get in half court games with bigger, more physical teams is a certain loss. With their depth and quickness, they should be pressing all over the floor and speeding up the game. IT really is NOT rocket science.

  17. I love the developing team comment. These are typical loser comments. Wait til next year, we're young, developing team, Chop is a good player, Brown was amazing. Your kidding right?

    Look if Jimmer Fredette was guarded by Chop, I can't run, jump, play D, or shoot Jones, he would score 50 a game. That last minute of the first half with Jones on the floor, well just go back and watch him. He is a total joke. Brown drives layup right side of bucket, Jones does his usual hands up(like he is being stuck up, and moves out of the way. When you are outmatched you go for the ball, not Chop he goes the other way. Second possesion Brown gives a little head fake, Chop trips over his own feet and falls on his face(I wonder was he guarding the floor?). Third possesion Tre goes over to help Chop on a double team(because any real player would know he was going to fall on his face again), and well a little pass to the right and 3. In less than a minute with a genius Lon Kruger,it's my gut coaching decision to play Chop, we go from tied to down 7 at the half. What, for the third straight game my man zero Chop, had zeros across the board? Combine this with another slow unathletic player in Wallace you have 20 minutes of absolutely nothing.

    List of following non D-1 players who should not play for UNLV, Santee, Chop, Wallace. Good job Kruger.

    Kruger says we have only 2 schollys for next year. I say take Wallaces away and tell him thanks. Tell Buckley, sorry what was I thinking. Now, either find a new job or bring in at least Polee or Joseph, or hit the road. The clock is ticking and your time is about up. When the seats are empty next year figure out one of two things. I should have hired Theus as an assistant and let him recruit and groom him for the job, or I should have learned how to grow and adapt as a coach. The similarities between Kruger and Sanford are remarkable. Sanford was blind. Now kruger is showing he is blind.

    I will say this once, the secret to basketball is matchups. 3 guard and 4 guard offenses are not going to win in this conference against SDSU, New Mexico, or Utah. You need to make situational substitutions, run different offenses every week in conference, and condition your athletes to play at least 30 minutes of in your face man to man defense. You need blazing speed at the point, one to create offense, two to stop the penetration. Noone attcked the basket like you said they were going to do yesterday. All I saw was fear.

    Tark's defense was built on stopping the dribble. You have to make the opponent pick up his dribble. You also have to get involved with the AAU coaches to recruit and improve the talent. I think you need to pack away your golf clubs and get serious before you are run out of town with Sanford. You cannot win with this lack of talent.

  18. You can't have a running game if you send all 5 players to the glass to get a rebound, which is what we have to do just to secure a board.

    I remember back in the glory days I used to get frustrated with Moses Scurry because he would get alot of offensive rebounds and struggle putting the ball back in the hole at point blank range. Also, if he got fouled he was a horrible free-throw shooter. Today, I would give my left nut for a player like Moses Scurry.

  19. Why does Reggie Theus=Bill Bayno? Please explain? And let's not forget that Bayno was supposed to have Sean Marion and Lamar Odem together, until yes, Odem did something that got him kicked out of UNLV before he even started at UNLV, and Marion left early. I'll take the 98-99 team with Dickle, Kambala, and Marion over this team any day.

  20. I have to wonder why this team has gone so flat?

    Willis accounts for over half the points... It is good to see him scoring but where is the help? Chace has become an almost non factor again...We need him scoring, Unless I am mistaken he got that pull up 20 footer off maybe once the whole game last night...

    As far as Shaw not being in, I have to figure the game plan was to use him to spread out their bigs to create driving lanes, that just weren't there without his 3 ball threat...

    And we need Jasper back badly, his presence on the court is huge for us on defense, and also creates some real wild cards on the offensive side...

    go_reb, I have been with the lay off Chop crowd, because most of his minutes have been pretty much just rest time for other guys... But why was he subbed in with a minute or so left in the half just as the lineup that was in was starting to make a run and close the gap...I usually don't question Coach K... but that one had me scratching my head... I am hoping someone with a better BB IQ then me can explain that one? That pretty much negated the run we were making to close the half...I am confused why there was a need to break that lineups rhythm...

    Actually as a whole there was bursts that we were making, and then they seemly were broken by a lineup change? Again I was a bit confused by the substitutions as a whole last night...

  21. The one shocking thing to me about Kruger is how stubborn he is about playing chop, never playing a zone, and running the same plays out of time-outs for Willis. Sometimes Willis gets the ball in the same place 3 and 4 times in a row at the same place on the court. Its easier to defend a play after you've seen it over and over.

    The ridiculousness of playing chop has been well chronicled, but to the fact of never playing a zone is beyond me. When Brown constantly gets to the rack time after time with ease, you have to change stratagy. Try a zone. Switch it up a little bit. Some people say, "it would be worse to play a zone, they'd hit more 3's". Dude, they are scoring 2 and 3 footers every time down. What could be worse?

  22. Where is sportsguy to tell us that if we only had Adeife, Roberson, Lawrence, Cage and Mitchell (you know, the "ballers") that we would be first in the MWC right now. Remember: Kruger is an amazing recruiter the kids just had no character!

  23. That guy was Djon.

  24. It is funny to see all of the Kruger homers hide after a 3 game losing streak. We've locked up most of our scholarships for next year too....we're freakin' stuck with this awful team.

    Say what you will about the programs that "push the limits" of recruiting.....it gets them wins. Maybe our Boosters should step up and help Kruger in this matter. I'll chip in $1,000 to land us an A+ recruit.

    S711

  25. The only way to say you are really upset and you want a change is to stop attending games and buying tickets. I am done with season tickets after this year if we don't put it together and make the NCAA tournament. This is an absolute joke. I am sick and tire of watching the same thing happen every year with UNLV outside of the flukey Sweet Sixteen year.

  26. Massamba= You can't jump over a piece of paper. You, sir, are awful. You have 58 fouls, 52 boards and 7 blocks this season. I want someone to please defend those stats. I welcome all challengers.

    Jones= You are the worst player in D-1 history. You aren't even coordinated to walk straight. You tripped and landed on your face yesterday.

    Wallace= All you can do is shoot. If your shot is not falling, you are Jones. Your defense is laughable and you can't even dribble.

    Stanback= You have less athleticism than an 88 year old woman after hip surgery. You have a good shot but that's it. You are softer than tissue paper and have been exposed. Creating your own shot or taking it to the hole is not possible for you.

    Santee=LMAO. That's all I can say. I mean, you could have been a decent player but you had Lou Hill coach you. So it's not entirely your fault.

    Hawkins= I like you. You show heart and deserve to wear the jersey. I am looking forward to your production in the next few years. Too bad Mr. "NIT" doesn't give you more minutes. You had 6 points in 15 minutes yesterday. I guess Mr. "NIT" doesn't think that's good enough.

    Marshall= You are the best pure talent and most athletic guy on the team. Sadly, you are our best shot blocker. You have struggled mightily but you have talent. Keep your head up and you will be good.

    Bellfield= Decent point guard but not a starter on any elite or high major team. Not even close. You have no clue how to push the ball and have an inconsistent shot.

    Jasper= You have talent and athleticism. Huge disappointment on the offensive end and couldn't throw it in the ocean standing on the beach. You are made out of glass, Greg Oden style.

    Shaw= I like you. You shoot well and are a bad matchup for teams. If you could jump, you would be a very good player. Toughen up, you're big and strong.

    Willis= The best for last. You are the only guy that has shown you have endless heart. You lack athleticism and explosiveness; I don't even know if you could dunk. However, you take it strong to the hole. I like your passion and your attitude. You are a true Rebel. You can't do it all on your own.

    Lon "NIT" Kruger= You are mediocre, at best. You've milked the 2007 season to a shameful degree. We get it, you made the Sweet 16. Once while at UNLV. Your recruiting skills are pathetic. Alford and Fisher out recruit you in the conference. They tuck you in at night and read you bed time stories when it comes to recruiting. It is shameful. You haven't had a player drafted since...??? Other than Mitch Richmond, your best player ever is Brian Cook. You have no idea how to adjust. Your substitution patterns are baffling. You are more stubborn than a mule. You are the definition of NIT. I credit you for being a good sales man and having the local media as well as many fans in your pocket.

    Those our are current Rebels. Sad, but true.

  27. This Rebel team is just not that good

    Tre can't bail them out every game

  28. The loss last night was very disheartening. Like most of you, I expected a very inspired effort out of our Rebels last night and instead got between 25-30 minutes of inspired basketball. Unfortunately, games go for 10 minutes. I'm not sure what the issue is, but this does look a lot like the collapse last year. Players coming out saying, "We didn't give a good effort tonight," three games in a row? FIX IT THEN! From what I can see, we have Willis playing his butt off and Hawkins and Marshall doing the best they can with limited time. Bottom line: More Hawkins and Marshall, less Wallace and no Jones. His play last night was embarrassing and turned a good run to close the second half into nothing. I just don't get it.
    All of that being said, I am not ready to jump of the Rebel/Kruger bandwagon. Going into this year, I honestly thought that we'd be 3rd or 4th in the conference and maybe make the NCAAs, but I was looking at next year as the year we'd take a jump. I still think that can be the case, but this loss really shakes my confidence in Kruger and the team. I'll be at the game cheering on Saturday, but I really need to see something out of this team. If we don't come out and really blow away CSU, then I think we may be looking at another disappointing finish. I still believe that we need to win 5 more games to make the tournament, even without winning the conference tournament. It just happens that those 5 games need to be in a row now. Another loss before the conference tourney and we need to win it. I'm still supporting my Rebels and I'm still supporting Kruger, but maybe just a sliver of doubt is starting to creep in. Please prove me wrong this Saturday Rebels!

  29. Kruger is a great coach and a great person. He put UNLV back on the map and back in the discussion. He might not coach like Tark or get the same caliber of recruits, but I guarantee there won't be any sanctions or disappearance for 15 years after he leaves. We are on the right path, and I'll show my support by buying tickets and cheering for a good team that deserves it. You're all so quick to throw Kruger under the bus. There's no reason to, we're better with him than we were without him. I guarantee he's better at his job than most of you are at yours. Hopefully people aren't as rude to you.

  30. Letsgorebs is dead on. Great post. Couldn't have said it any better.

  31. letsgorebs is acting like a clown... go back to being a saints..errrr.. north carolina..err.. lakers... err yankees fan. easy to be a fan when they are winning. maybe some of us should suck it up, simmer with calling out these 20 year olds and support the good guys, they will need us these next few weeks.

  32. One thing I will say is that people need to lay off the whole "this team and it's players suck" comments. Bottom line is we were ranked on two different occasions this year. We are 19-7 and still really control our own destiny as far as making the NCAA tournament and I don't think we even have to win the MWC tournament to get in at this point. The loss at Utah makes it a bit tighter, but there are 100's of teams that would love to be in our position right now (North Carolina would be one of them). I still think we sneak into the NCAAs this year, which would be nothing but good for this team because it gives us more exposure and gets the guys experience on the big stage.

  33. Bleed_Red, I know you're all over Lonnie's jock, but give us a couple constructive criticisms about the team. Are you such a homer you can't be objective?

  34. unlvrunrebs,

    You are a complete disgrace. All I did was state facts that you fail to accept. Take the blind fold off and face it. You accept being mediocre, that's great. A lot of us don't. Go buy Chop Jones some ice cream and keep enjoying NIT ball.

    P.S. I support the team. I've been to every game and root for them. That doesn't mean I'm blind.

  35. unlvrunrebs, are you a Jim Rome clone?

  36. Patticus,

    LMAO
    err....err...

    Very original, runrebs. And does anyone else think I Bleed Red sounds like either Kevin Kruger or someone else in Mr. NIT's family?

    "Hopefully people aren't as rude to you."

    Come on.

  37. UNLV is playing in a conference that will likely get more bids to the NCAA tournament than the PAC-10 and the ACC...

    I think the problem with low expectations is that when you surpass them people become accustomed to you surpassing them. We've been in and out of the rankings this year. That's a huge improvement over years past. In a sense Rebels fans have been stung by the hope of this team being better than it can be. However, this team is what it is. A team full of streaky shooting guards that lack the fire to get in the paint and rebound. They lack toughness and size but we shouldn't be surprised by that.

    Chace Stanback is not a power forward. This much is true. However, none of the bigs on the roster this year have the abilities or the mobility to stay with any of the other power forwards in this league. Kruger played 2 bigs at the same time against SDSU and it burned the Rebs badly. Hopefully, Lopez and Thomas will fill that void next year. If not, fire up FireKruger.com and try to bring someone in that can take what Kruger has built up and take it to the next level.

    Until then enjoy the journey. The basketball season has many ups and downs. I know this much, if UNLV makes the tourney they'll go further than any other MWC team does this year and for one reason: Kruger.

  38. Plastic,

    You lost complete credibility by stating that the MWC is getting more bids than the ACC. Ha? Duke and Wake Forest are locks, and they have 6 more teams battling for spots. The MWC is getting UNM and BYU as its only at large teams. It is highly unlikely that we'll get 3 at large teams. Only way I see getting 3 is if someone other than UNM or BYU win the conference tournament. UNLV is out as of right now with an RPI of 67, which will keep decreasing because of the weak competition we are about to face. SDSU has at least one more loss coming @ BYU.

  39. Sorry, current RPI is 44.

  40. ah yes, credibility is required for the comments section of a website...

    The larger point I was trying to make was that traditionally powerhouse conferences are down this year while the MWC is getting more respect this year than pretty much ever.

  41. .... you can call me whatever you like mr bandwagon. I say again.. we have BIG problems and we need to figure them out and quickly. I'm with plastic...enjoy the ride. i'm not blind.. but i have more sense to call out individual players and state the obvious flaws each has. letsgorebs patticakes and suckotash can all high five each other and keep saying i told you so till your blue in the face. the rest of us are going to try to stay supportive and do our best to keep the wheels from coming off.

  42. I read all this with humorous interest. Less than 2 weeks ago,I was reading about how you had just killed your "rival" BYU, an "unathletic, slow and really not very good" team and were primed to win the conference title. Now its "we have a bad coach, we have bad players", etc. etc.

    Here's the deal. BYU is EVERYONE's rival - in ALL sports. So while UNLV (and for that matter, UNM, Utah or TCU) can get up for that one game, BYU has to show up for every game because in every game, the opponent is hyped.

    UNLV has just learned what happens when you get really ready for one game (and shoot like you've never shot before or since) and then don't show for the next three games. I don't know if my Cougars will win the MWC crown, but I do know they show up each and every time. They have 3 losses on very difficult courts (USU, UNLV and UNM)

    Lastly, if you want to return to the "glory" days of Tark, then you're going to have to get rid of that dang NCAA salary cap, cause Tark never bothered with it. I rarely watch UNLV except against BYU, so I see Kruger at his best, but I do think he runs a pretty solid and character building program. And you KNOW Dave Rose at BYU does the same.

  43. I'm still supportive of the team and Kruger. I hope we make it to the big dance. The problem with you, unlvrunrebs, is that your such a homer you can't read any kind of constructive criticism without getting your panty's in a bunch. What letsgorebs wrote was completely honest and accurate.

    By the way, why don't you set the rules of this board and tell us what we can and can't write about, since you have more "sense" than all of us. We can call you, KINGUNLVRunninREBS, the person who sets the rules for the Las Vegas Sun message boards.

  44. please show me "constructive" and you can kiss my ring. j/k i see bitterness and anger. and we need better insults then homer... he might be honest and accurate.. he is also oversimplifying and stating the obvious. all i want us to do is get better and for bleedsblue to never come back here again.

  45. I definitely wear positive glasses around here and agree the program is moving in the right direction. Just seven years ago, losses like this did not matter.

    NM and SDSU were OK to handle. This one hurts. Rebels are firmly on the bubble. Must finish the season 4-0 and win at least the first one in the MWC Tourney to get an at-large. If UNLV can do that, 24-8 should get them in. However, hope they can just win the tourney and take that question away.

    The loss of Shaw for the game was odd. With him starting, sure having him trying to pull Foster out was going to be an important part of the game plan. Darris played better and that was good to see. Shaw's ability to shoot the 3 from the 5 spot makes him a tough guard. Hope he can play against CSU.

    Missed Jasper's rebounding and defense late in the game. However, other people don't care when you have injuries.

    Let's go fellas. We've got your backs.

  46. kingunlvrunrebs, my liege, I'm sure letsgorebs humbly apologizes for being so simplistic. I just wish Kruger thought it was so simplistic not to play Chop Jones 10 minutes a game instead of Justin Hawkins or an assortment of other line-ups he could choose from.

  47. i share your wish... i wish we would run.. i wish we'd abandon the high ball screens and awful pick and rolls.. i wish we would play 2 bigs.. i wish some of our guys could hit a 12 footer... i wish byu would go away..

  48. I'm starting to like you now unlvrunrebs. Good post.

  49. 3 game loosing streak is bad but the fire Kruger rants are comedy. You guys sound like the clown on the RJ site who posts under Eliminate UNLV Athletics. How does it feal to bang your head against a wall?

    Bottom line is:

    1. Rebs have and will win 20 plus games for 5 straight years now

    2. The Rebs are drawing the largest crowds on the West coast which = $$$ for the school

    3. We have 2 Freshman, 3 Sophmores, and 3 Juniors getting majority of the PT (young team)

    4. Good that that can become great group of players becoming eligible next season.
    Lopez 6'11
    Thomas 6'8
    Buckeley 6'11 (raw shot blocker)
    Polee 6'7
    Joeseph flat stud!!!!

    5. Cliff Findlay, UNLV basketballs largest donor is a HUGE Kruger fan and hand picked him as the coach

    6. Livengood is a Kruger fan who tried to hire him at AZ

    7. Zero money for a buyout

    8. In the conversation for the NCAA tournament every year despite recruiting with the handicap of the MWC TV network. NEVER ON NATIONAL TV.

    9. CLEAN PROGRAM w/ NO MENTION OF NCAA VIOLATIONS!!!

    I am a diehard UNLV fan and am as frustrated as anyone but this team has the ability to get on a run and if they win out and make the finals they will have 26 or 27 wins and be dancing for sure. Anything less is a crapshoot.

    Pack the mack and cheer on your team through the good and the bad!

    U-N-L-V GO FIGHT WIN!!!!!!

  50. MWC will get 3 teams in (right now that would be BYU, NM, and SDS). If Rebs win last 4 and at least one game in tourney, they could get in 4 teams. That is 3 more than the Pac-10 and at least as much as the ACC.

    Note: Way Rebs look, they will probably lose to frickin Air Force on the road.

  51. The Kruger "homers" only hide because the posting after a loss is ridiculous. This WILL be another 20+ win season. Our game plan for last night was to bring Foster out from under the basket with Shaw, who got hurt in warmups.

    One thing I definitely agree with from all the negatives on here is that all of Chop's minutes should go to Justin Hawkins.

    The other thing I wonder is this: we know what Wallace is. He's a perimeter shooter. Why aren't we running set plays that get him wide open looks.

    Our bigs need to be able to handle those passes down low. They would have had a decent night but they were playing with butterfingers.

  52. letsgo,

    you are a CLOWN, COMPLETE CLOWN. im here and i always will be. i will support the rebels win or lose. you know why? because im a fan. thats why. you are a joke. seriously... how can you say all of that about the players that play for the team that you supposedly cheer for behind some internet screen name.... grow some fing balls and say it to their face. seriously i hope you get run over by a bus.

  53. Looks like my 4th or 5th position that everyone was laughing at months ago, is about to come true. Like I said keep playin chop! Kruger owes it to his dad. Give Kruger an extension and bring back chop as a coach!

  54. sportsgal,

    Sorry to show you the light, son. The truth hurts sometimes. It's funny you guys only mention that I'm a clown and "how can you say that about them?". Why don't you mention that I praised Marshall, Hawkins, Tre and Shaw. It is easy to look for things to use to fit your argument. That's ok. I am not the only one here who believes that. If you didn't lack the intelligence needed to put together an argument, you wouldn't need to resort to wishing death upon me. Tell me something that I said that was incorrect. Make an argument. You can't. Notice how everything I said about them was about their basketball skills and not as human beings. Who's the real clown, sportsgal? You're wishing death upon me behind a screen name, LOL. I think that's a little worse. Now go on facebook and message the players and before you go to sleep tonight make sure you send them all tweets and congratulations on their pathetic performance. Call the radio to cheer for Kruger and the magnificent job he's doing.

    And I do cheer for the team. I don't enjoy the product and the NIT status. If you do, fine.

  55. Look at Espn.com to see latest bubble watch, and the chat with Mark Schlabach. To quote Mark :
    " Definitely took a big step back by losing three in a row, but Rebs still have four wins over RPI top-50 foes and beat New Mexico in the Pit, which isn't easy. Wins over Louisville and BYU will help. Win the rest of regular season games and one or two in MWC tourney and I'll think they'll have a good chance".I'm not saying that is a lock but he sure gives us a better chance then our expert "FANS" here.

  56. 4 more wins + MWC championship = dancing

  57. It's time for a Joe Namath like guarantee: Rebels win MWC tourney and go dancing!....It can happen, Jasper gets healthy, Shaw gets healthy, Kruger fine tunes line-up, we go in winning 4 straight against tomato cans, confidence building and then strike up the band we shock the MWC!....It could happen!
    Just a few words of wisdom from an old timer from Chicago and UNLV alumni. The Cubs are going on 100 + years without a World Series Ring. "Wait till next year" is a time honored tradition.You young guns and your everything now at any cost attitude learn to loose like a man and be ready to suit up next game and take your next shot. In the end it's all the sweeter just ask any Red Sox fan before 2004!
    As the Beach Boys said,"Be true to your school"
    Go Rebs
    Get it done

  58. And the bubble watch :
    "UNLV [19-7 (7-5), RPI: 44, SOS: 66] The Runnin' Rebels lost at Utah 66-61 on Wednesday night. They probably missed a chance to 'lock' up an NCAA at-large bid by losing two games last week, and the loss to the Utes puts them in a much more precarious position. UNLV lost to New Mexico 76-66 at home on Feb. 10 and fell 68-58 at San Diego State on Saturday. Before the two-game slide, the Rebels had won five games in a row. UNLV should still be in pretty good shape, with an 8-3 record in road games, 4-4 record against RPI top-50 foes and 7-5 record against the top 100. UNLV beat traditional powers such as Louisville (home) and Arizona (road) and won in tough environments like The Pit at New Mexico. UNLV should be heavily favored in each of its last five MWC regular-season games. As long as it doesn't collapse down the stretch, UNLV should be included in the NCAA's 65-team field."

  59. patticcus,

    Don't pretend like letsgo's criticisms is constructive.

    "You are the worst player in D-1 history. You aren't even coordinated to walk straight."

    "You have less athleticism than an 88 year old woman after hip surgery."

    Get real.

    Real fans shouldn't bash their teams like THAT.

  60. 1. 09-10 would mark a fourth consecutive season of 20+ win seasons, not five

    2. 21-10 qualified for the NIT last season (negates previous stat)

    3. Players play flat because Lew Hill barely exerts a pulse for the program, and the program badly misses Menzies

    4. Santee = bust. Massamba = shaping up to be a bust. Shaw = outmanned. Red shirts and transfers for next year = unproven

    5. Brand of basketball = not entertaining, and downright ugly right now

    Lastly, I could see the pain in Lon's eyes and voice after watching KVBC air his post game interview with his back against a Huntsman Center wall. He genuinely had no answer for what's going on. I feel bad for him.

    I hope he finds answers so his era of UNLV Basketball can eventually end with a mutually happy ending for himself, players and the fans.

    Sorry So Long :)

  61. You can be a fan and still critize the team you love. Everyone that wants to sit around and think things are great just because we are mediocre and better than in the past would make great clipper fans. One good year in a decade and be happy with that. Some of us here want to see UNLV in the top 25 on a regular basis and not make an appearance for a week and then have the rest of the country see us as a fraud when we get smoked 3 games in a row. There is nothing to stop UNLV from being important on the national stage, we have an awesome home court advantage/arena and a community to support a great team that is fun to watch.

    Great comment about Kevin Kruger if he didnt come to UNLV krugers career would look pretty similiar to Baynos. Terrible in leage play and just pray that we can get hot in the MWC tourney. But atleast Bayno gave us some athletes who made the game exiciting, watching Shawn marion try and dunk on anyone in his way (anyone else remeber when he tried to dunk on kenyon martin 3 times in 1 game) Now we have 6"10 massamba who doesnt even know what a dunk means and the game changer that it can be.

    Kruger is a decent coach but for us to beat anyone good we have to be firing on all cylinders. A sign of a good team/coach is when you win these games and you dont play your best basketball.

  62. To unlvrunningrebel: You have to be nuts to actually believe this team is going to win out. You were saying that before the loss yesterday as well.

  63. Why would that be nuts, we went 4-0 the first time through these teams, and that was on the road for 3 of the 4 games.

  64. All you need is love.

  65. Lets face it, this team just isn't that good. It is a second rate team that once again is struggling to finish the season. A team of a bunch of castoffs and 3 star level recruits. Outside of Willis this team has nothing. There is a reason that Stanback and Jasper transfered to UNLV, because they suck. They weren't that good to begin with and their coaches at Kentucky and UCLA realized this and that is why they didn't play. I think we all got our hopes up that they were going to be good because they were from big name schools but 9 ppg and 5 rpg (Stanback) and 6 ppg and 5 rpg (Jasper) is pretty dissapointing. Marshal may be good in a few years but as of right now he is young and not that good, another player we got excited about because he was rated high by Rivals. Wallace is absolute garbage, our so call 3pt. weapon. He is a slow white kid with no athletic ability who does nothing besides hang out by the 3 pt. line and clang 3s all day. Massamba is about a worthless as a bag of $h*t. He is a fat, unathletic, bottom of the barrel Findlay Prep kid who does nothing but turn the ball over and foul. Santee has been a huge dissapointment and Bellfield is a below average point guard who can't run the offense. As for the Lopez kid, there is a reason he is sitting out this season and redshirting also, because he sucks too. If he were any good he would be playing this year. It must say something about him when he can't compete for a center position on a team that doesn't have a center. If Lopez can't beat out his fat, talentless Findlay Prep homeboy Massamba then that is pretty sad. Once again this Findlay Prep thing isn't working out for the Rebels. I know it was created to try and funnel kids to UNLV but all we are getting are the scrubs of the team while teams like Texas or Villanova will land Joseph. If the Rebs lose one more game I think it's safe to say they are done and NIT bound again. They cannot afford to lose to one of the scrub teams of the MWC. Let's hope this scrub team can pull their heads out of their @$$e$ and finish this season strong. I am kind of doubting it at this point though.

  66. Well comin from a Lobo fan i would rather see Rebels in the tournament then the Aztecs. So win out!

  67. Sorry but I think the Rebels are out of at-large consideration. Remember we won 27 games in 2007 and were given a 10 seed, and that team was playing well heading into the tournament. The selection committee will be looking for reasons to keep the Rebels out, and the sweep by Utah along with the recently poor playing in general has done us in. Only way we get in is to win the conference tournament outright. Lose the Final, we're heading to the NIT. There are just too many at-large teams with better resume's then the Rebels right now.

    Kruger is the man, he's going nowhere unless he retires. The T&M is being sold out, and we are just now starting to get the better recruits. I said this at the beginning of the year, this team is in rebuild mode. Any post season fruits are just icing on the cake. Kruger has done a terrific job getting them this far.

    I would like to see LJ or some other ex-player brought in as an assistant coach to help our big guys, they definitely need something. All the talk about Kruger bringing the old players back into the fold well I don't see any ex-Rebels on the bench coaching. Just a thought.

  68. Hey LV Sun, I have an idea. How about you run one of your reader polls.

    "Do you think that Lon Kruger should return next year as UNLV's coach?"

    I'm curious what the result would be. If you do this I promise to never again make fun of Ryan's 85 points vs. Air force prediction. And that games coming up soon.

    And you should increase your Ad-Fees when UNLV loses.

  69. I am unable to label this an NIT season just yet. We have a great home court advantage come MWC tournament time. I hope we play Utah in the first round and open up a can on them, just like we did BYU. That we be the best boost we can get right out of the gate. We beat BYU at the T&M and New Mexico at the "pit" meaning we can beat any of these teams in our own arena come MWC tournament time. Not to mention Jasper will be back in the line up. We win the last four and at least make it to the conference championship, I think we're dancin'! It's crunch time baby, we are down but we definitely aren't out. So many negative comments yet we are still a strong bubble team, especially compared to other teams left out there. Show up on Saturday and let are team know were still behind them. Go Rebels!

  70. Completely agree with LV-Born-N-Raised....good post.

    These last 3 games have been horrible to watch but anyone who thinks we are not headed in the right direction is misguided. We made it out of the first round of the NCAA tournament 2 out of the last 3 years....we had not done this once in the PREVIOUS 16 YEARS(1991)!

    Team is not perfect, the coach is not perfect, and the recruiting is not perfect....not many teams are.

  71. This is all I know: after every loss, I promise myself I'm not gonna read the Sun because I've "given" up on this team, but it usually takes me 4 min to refresh the website and see what the rest of you are saying. This team means a lot to me, and no matter what the rest of you guys say, it means a lot to you all too. If you wanna quit on us, go ahead. I know I've invested too much into this team this year and in years past to just accept the NIT. For 3 games, we've played as bad as we can play, and seriously hurt our NCAA tourney chances. However, our backs our against the wall, no one is talking about us, and that is when we play our best. Pack the Mack and let's do this thing!

  72. I can't understand the people that come here after every game and fill the comments with dramatic negativity and a "world is ending" type of mentality. If you guys are fans of the university and fans of the team then you should support them regardless of the outcome of the games. It's alright to be upset about a loss, we all are, but to attack a college kid on a personal level is ridiculous. It's pathetic for you grown men to blast these kids on a message board because they can't live up to your overly high expectations of their college basketball team. It's not the player's fault that many of you live vicariously through their results.

    These players, for the most part, don't have professional aspirations. They are getting paid very modestly through scholarships they receive for working their asses off to play a game at a high level throughout their college years. The game of basketball does bring a lot of attention as an entertainment vehicle, and brings in money to the university, but in no way do these players owe any of you anything other than the effort that they plainly show game in and game out.

  73. Now, from an analysis standpoint, I think a lot of you are, ignorantly, not recognizing the loss of Jasper as being significant. You can look at his stats and claim that he wasn't a big part of the team's success, but if you watched the games you'd realize that the team was different when he was on the floor. There were many times in non-conference play that Oscar, Tre, and Kendall/Anthony were out there together and the offense seemed disjointed or out of sync. What Jasper brought was a confidence and a sense of calm to everyone on the floor when he was out there.. He embraced the offense running through him and was a great facilitator and hustle rebounder, if not the best scorer. He was also another long body on defense that filled that lack of forward type athlete we now have.

    You also need to look at the mismatches we face when playing teams with bigger guys inside, like New Mexico, Utah, and maybe even CSU. Right now we are typically playing the games with 3 small guards, 1 medium size guard, and a rotation of 3 centers that all want to play a forward type game. We don't have a big banger inside, and we don't have any true rebounder's (Chase has had to step up to some degree in that role). Matt Shaw has been able to step out and hit 3s which has revered our match up issues on the offensive end but he's only able to play relatively limited minutes for whatever reason.

    These issues considered, the biggest issue attributing to our losing streak has been inconsistent outside shooting. Kendall has been spotty at best in the last few games, and when Chase finally came back against Utah, Matty Shaw was out with an injury. This has put the full weight of the team on Willis, and although he has handled it very well, he seems to be worn out by the end of the game and the team has been unable to finish. If you watched the SDSU game you probably noticed that no one wanted to step up and take a three with time running down, and again against Utah no one, other than Tre, wanted to step up and knock down a shot when we tied the game up late. For whatever reason it seems like a lot of confidence has disappeared after the amazing performance against BYU. Tre can't score 40 points a game.. Someone is going to have to take it upon themselves to help him out.

  74. Let me help some of those who think that it is the city, the university, or a national ranking solely behind landing athletes who can ball, it is the coach above everything else!! I know I am right a million times over but Kruger is not an appealing coach to a young black athlete from the inner city. You can argue with me all day long but the best ballers ever have come from and still come from the rough inner city neighborhoods in America's mega cities, they have heart, world class skill, & will finish you. Please don't give me the racist garbage about how all inner city kids have no character and are thugs cuz it isn't even close to true & those who are D1 & professioanl talent do not want to mess up their chance at playing ball by getting into trouble away from home. Kruger will not go to these hoods instead he settles for 3rd class talent from the suburbs who learned how to play by watching videos over real ballers who have balled their whole lives against real ballers who have professional skill. The best coaches today in America recruit the hoods of America!!

  75. The sky is falling, the sky is falling! Fire Kruger. Is everyone taking hormone shots?
    Will Kruger ever load up a team full of All Americans? No. Did Tark? No. Is this team second-rate? I guess that depends on your point of reference. 20 years ago- yes, Today-no. This team is getting better, but news flash, so is the rest of the conference. Also the game of basketball is a lot different than it was 20 years ago.
    We lost Wednesday because Utah is a horrible match up for us. Their shot blocking causes fits for our dribble drive, and they guard the perimeter well so we have no kick outs. That being said, and while playing like crap, they still had a chance to win it at the end. Same thing with New Mexico-horrible match up without Jasper with no one who can effectively guard Hobson.
    I think most of agree that Jhawk should get Chop's minutes and the should run more. However against Utah with Shaw being hurt and Chace getting 2 fouls in the first half, they had to go to him.
    Does the loss at Utah hurt? Yes. Am I pissed? Yes. Do we all have probably too much emotionally invested this, I know I do. But I still believe in this team, and do believe that they will continue to get better. They have a good shot at winning out the regular season and can make noise in the conference tourney depending on the draw. A good run= NCAA's.

    Oh, by the way, Beton-you are the one being racist. Talent is talent. You can argue that Kruger doesn't get top level talent. By the way, isn't Shaw, Bellfield, Stanback, and J-Hawk all from LA? hmmm. Since Joseph goes to a prep school he must not be tough. Lets just give up on him.

  76. Well said htownreb.

    I'm not jumping ship either.

  77. htownreb...you talk about a team that has a losing record overall being just a "bad" matchup for us? That is a good one. Their record seems to show that they arent a bad matchup for to many other teams. Maybe becuase we have the same gameplan regardless of what team we are playing and cant make any adjustments...sounds like bad coaching to me. Also why dont we matchup with them sdsu or the lobos...sounds like bad recruiting to me. You are just another fan willing to accept being a decent basketball team.

    Also where is the improvement, when I look at our record of 7-5 in the conference looks pretty similiar to last year. I wouldnt call that improvement. I dont see us competing for any regular season league championships either. Everyone wants to give Kruger a free pass just because he is better then spoonhour and those other clowns before him. With that said still love the rebels and hope things improve

    Anyone know where i can find a job that pays high 6 figures for being mediocre?

  78. Here is a new approach.... Since we have so many recruiting experts in the room... Do not take this as a flame, but you are all calling for a better job being done, so here is my question...

    We all know who the big recruits are, not really difficult to find them... But how do you get them here without committing recruiting violations?

    I think this is really the base of the problem, we are getting recruits visiting, but what is the big ticket item that actually makes them sign with UNLV... I would guess that it is not so easy to get a kid to commit to a school, unless you do some shady things, which I am would be very confident in saying it is not happening here...

    And to take it one step further, Coach K is just now starting to make amends with what will be in my opinion real recruiting tools in LJ, Augmon, and Anthony... Correct me if I am wrong that group did not want to have a lot to do with UNLV until recently...

  79. LJ and Anthony need to be honorary assistant coaches. Need to get marion and augmon to come around. UNLV basketball is way more important that that silly NBA thing.

  80. So Villanova, Syracuse, Georgetown, Pitt, Duke, North Carolina,kansas,Texas, Mighigan State, Purdue the list can go on and on are all blatently commiting recruiting violations? You can run a clean program and still win.

    It is great he is making amends with UNLV legends but kids that are coming to school now werent even born when those guys played here. Going to take more then that.

    Just another excuse why we arent getting good people. Bottom line is Kruger and his staff arent good recruiters.

  81. You didn't answer my question... HOW are they doing it then, more to the point HOW do we do it then....

    Sorry if I did not word that correctly re: the recruiting violations, but I have read so many "We need bigs" and "Kruger can't recruit" and "Hire people who can recruit"... What I want to know is what is the carrot you need to dangle in front of these kids to get them to come here then...

    I mean he is offering a 4 year college degree on the house... What else is he supposed to be doing according to the experts in the room that will get these 5 stars here... You all demand it, but HOW do you go about doing it then...

    Basically I am actually try to turn the constant complaints into an actual constructive conversation...

  82. BTW Those are Big Names and have been for the last 20 years...

    This is for the core of fans that can't let go to the glory days, and start to embrace this new way of the NCAA... This program has not been nationally relevant for almost 18 years, it is just now starting to make leaps in the right direction nationally...

    Most recruits now were not even born yet when that team was prominent... So what exactly is your point about comparing us to the big programs you mentioned above... To a recruit saying UNLV does not compare to UNC, or Kansas...There's your reality.... So from a recruiting standpoint it just doesn't work the same...

  83. No 5 star recruits wants to play in the MWC. Why would they, so they can get buried away on the Mountain West channel, or the CBC network. No, they want to play in conferences on ESPN, or ABC, or CBS games. Sorry the days of Tark bringing in top flight athletes are long gone. You are who you are a Mountain West mid major.

  84. Purdue, Wisconsin big name for bball i think not.

    Villanova? Georgetown? They were about the same place as UNLV was a few years ago and look at the difference it makes hiring the right coach.North Carolina had Matt Daughterty and had some bad years so whats your point. The name alone doesnt bring them the recruits. You have to get a coach that can connect with kids and get them to believe in the program. He had that chance when we went to the sweet 16 and got alot of exposure...what did he do with that? Only guy i can think of is willis but not one big name high school recruit. You have to capitalize on exposure like that and he obviously doesnt have what it takes.

    like they mentioned above look at his track record..best recruit ever was Brian Cook. What other evidence do you need?

  85. Try telling that 5 star player that he should come to UNLV and be seen on the Mountain Network at 10pm EST instead of going to the ACC or Big East and playing on CBS or ESPN 2 twice a week during prime time. You can be the best salesman in the world but if your product is lacking then your going to struggle. Until we are out from under the TV contract and at least on local TV, let alone national TV we are playing behind the 8 ball. Hell local players cant even see the games on local TV how are players in other states going to see the Rebs on TV.

  86. lobo69, can you shed any light on Steve Alford letting Pierre Pierce play for Iowa after Pierce was arrested for sexual assault charges? "According to records, Pierce held the woman's hands over her head and covered her mouth when she tried to scream." Thousands of Iowa fans signed petitions to drop Pierces scholarship but, the kid could ball (team's leading scorer) so Stevie kept him aboard. Unfortunately Pierce wasn't finished. "On January 27, 2005, a disturbance was investigated at the West Des Moines home of a woman Pierce had been dating for 212 years. He allegedly choked her, threatened her with a knife and stripped her after an argument over her new boyfriend." This time, even Stevie saw the light and dismissed Pierce from the team.

    Also, a July 07 article states "sub par academic performance of many of his players". Hopefully that has changed too.

    Now be honest. Do you really have spare time to post here? You do realize that New Mexico's 2 "Mega Events" are only about 8 months away. Doesn't it take all hands on deck to make the "worlds largest enchilada"? Or, I'm sure your help is needed to start rolling out all those colorful hot air balloons. It is an international event you know, you wouldn't want to disappoint the world.

  87. bsull he was trying to capitalize on exposure... Case in point QT....But try telling a kid to pick us over Kansas (UNLV, Kansas were his 2 top choices)... Didn't happen.... We had to snag him after Kansas was not getting him enough pt... Then he came here which was his 2nd choice...

  88. Kruger is getting better at recruiting. We are in the conversation for some 5 star guys and are getting to 150 players consistently. Being ranked in the top 25 and getting big crowds for home games certainly does help.
    Do I think we will actually get CJ? Probably not. We were in the final choices of a few highly rated recruits and actually said no thanks to them (Victor Rudd and Clarence Trent. They are both in the Pac 10 and look at them now. This league is better than last year. If we put this years UNLV team in the conference, they finish in the top 3 and lose maybe 4 games in conference. 2 top 15 teams? 3 ranked teams for the 1st time ever? You can say what you want about the Pac 10 being down, but you can't argue that the MWC isn't a tougher league.
    By the way Matt Daugherty was still getting All Americans all over the place at North Carolina. He was at UNC, it take 10 years of mediocrity before big time recruits don't siagn at UNC. He is just not a very good basketball coach, at least not at the biggest stages. Look at Billy Gillespie.
    If you ant to look at Kruger's track record, I think his Final Four appearance looks pretty good. How many active coaches have one of those?