Rebels will open NCAA tourney Friday against Illinois

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Steve Marcus

Members of the UNLV men’s basketball team celebrate as their name is announced in a NCAA tournament selection show being shown at the Cox Pavilion at UNLV on Sunday, March 13, 2011. The Rebels will play Illinois on Friday in Tulsa, Okla.

Updated Sunday, March 13, 2011 | 4:13 p.m.

UNLV on Selection Sunday

Members of the UNLV men's basketball team celebrate as their name is announced in a NCAA tournament selection show being shown at the Cox Pavilion at UNLV on Sunday, March 13, 2011. The Rebels will play Illinois on Friday in Tulsa, Okla. Launch slideshow »

The UNLV basketball team received an at-large bid Sunday to the NCAA Tournament, receiving a No. 8 seed in the Southwest Region. They open the 68-team tournament Friday against Illinois in Tulsa.

The Rebels, who last year fell to Northern Iowa in the final seconds in the first round, will be looking for their first NCAA Tournament win since 2008. The winner of the UNLV-Illinois game advances to play Sunday against the winner of No. 1 seed Kansas against Boston University.

UNLV (24-8) opened the season with nine wins and was ranked as high as No. 20 in the polls. It has victories against three teams that have beaten the nation’s No. 1 team — Wisconsin, Virginia Tech and Kansas State.

But UNLV’s hot start fizzled in December, with the Rebels posting a 3-3 record in their next six games. They went 0-5 against league powers BYU and San Diego State, including falling by two points against San Diego State two days ago in the Mountain West Conference semifinals.

The Rebels were able to rally through the trials and tribulations of the season, winning six straight games before being knocked out of the league tournament. Tough road wins at New Mexico and Colorado State three weeks ago essentially secured the at-large bid.

UNLV is playing in its fourth tournament in the last five years. As a No. 7 seed in 2007, the Rebels beat Georgia Tech in the first round and No. 2-seeded Wisconsin in the second to reach the Sweet 16. In the following year, they were seeded eighth and beat Kent State in the first round before losing to eventual national champ Kansas.

The program has four times reached the Final Four, including winning the 1990 national championship. The Rebels are 33-16 all-time in the tournament.

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  1. GO REBELS!!!

  2. Kansas in the 2nd round Three years in a row. Complete crap.

  3. Let's make a run! We'll beat Illinois and we can beat Kansas if we play like we've been playing.

  4. Are you kidding me? Three times in a row that we're on the 8/9 line opposite Kansas?

    What a raw deal...

    Lunardi had us as a 6 playing Illinois at an 11.

  5. @ Clifton7 - technically it's the third round.

    Why does the sidebar say we're facing Tulsa?

  6. While I am not surprised that we got a JOB from the NCAA AGAIN, it still angers me. I am glade we got in, but an 8 seed, AGAIN, really? Set to possibly playing Kansas, AGAIN. And not one word from Greg Anthony about us getting an 8 seed.

    OK, rant is over. Now go out and whoop some @$$ REBELS. Show what we have this year. Illinois is a very beatable team. Focus on them and get to the next game, after that who knows, anything can happen.

  7. I def believe we can make it to the sweet sixteen, We are a tough team with a lot of fight, and this is a team that brings a lot back. We are gonna be running for a few years. Kruger slowly but surely is getting us to the final four and a national championship. Next year sdsu is done, byu is done, unlv will be the favorite for next year. Let run rebs!!!

  8. The NCAA and selection committee are a joke. Glad the Rebels are in. Not too disappointed with an 8. But back to Tulsa and Kansas again if we win=Lame! Kansas State as a 5? Really? Hope Utah State knocks em off. Las Vegas should have hosted a regional 5 times by now. The NCAA still can't get over Tark. I watched the HBO special last night and all i can say is wow. I don't know who's worse, NCAA or Maxson? UNLV will become the Harvard of the west? HAHAHAHA! MORON! Not only have we not become the Harvard of anything but we have brought basketball back to at least respectable after you tried to kill it. Nice Try.
    Go Rebs!

  9. Right when I saw that Kansas was in the Southwest I knew that the REBELS was going to be in the same bracket as them it just doesn't surprise me anymore.

  10. I like how everyone is saying when we play Kansas this..... or when we play Kansas that........ Wasn't everyone on here saying that last year, and then you lose in the 1st rd to No.Iowa? Try focusing on the team in front of you first. And Ryan Greene leading the players on by asking them about the potential match-up vs Kansas doesn't help. Q should be worried about Illinois and Illinois only.

  11. If you want a sub-plot how about talking about the match-up vs Illinois is a battle of former Findlay Prep teammates. Guard DJ Richardson for Illinois and Carlos Lopez for UNLV were on the undefeated, national champion Findlay Prep team together. Also, Brice Massamba the year before.

  12. Canes4life, you actually make a great point and this is one of the posts I can support. One game at a time. And the sub-plot should be the real story.

  13. I completely understand and agree with the criticism about the NCAA marrying UNLV to Kansas year after year. You would think that they would at least TRY to introduce SOME imagination into the process-especially when they are adding teams.

    When they rolled out Duke's part of the chart, I was hoping we could get somewhere in there. Lord, I would LOVE to have a chance to get back at Rat-Face and his band of Higher-Than-Thous.

    That written, I have to remember that we went 0-5 against the other two MWC teams that were allowed into the tourney and given seeds higher than ours. IF WE HAD JUST WON ONE GAME out of those five I could argue for a better seed for us, but we just could NOT get the job done.

    Time to go out and win money for the university; God knows Sandogibbons is cutting the rest.

  14. canes- please don't say us. you are not us. you said you're a georgetown fan. you write by far the most negative comments about the players, coaches, and future players. please don't say us.

  15. Rebels are in. Stop whining about the seed. You have to go through goods teams in all brackets after the first round. It's time to prove you belong

  16. don't say "we" as if you are one of us

  17. byu is gonna lose to st johns in the second round

  18. Should have been a #7 seed. What a joke that a UCLA is a #7. Illinois is a walk-over. The Big Ten is pathetic. Sucks that we have to play the best team in the country in Kansas, in the second round.
    And how do USC, VCU, and UAB get in? St Marys get screwed along with Colorado.

  19. I would say third time is a charm but that didn't help against San deigo st. if we get to Kansas then we have to use the bottled up anger from Q's situtation and for our seeding to win.

  20. Seeding shmeeding. Go, fight, Win!

  21. blueandgold why all the hate to K-State, we gave you a win in December. UNLV and K-State have a lot of ties. Kruger and Hanson both played at K-State. If I was UNLV, I would watch the KU v K-State game to prepare for Kansas and call Frank Martin. I agree the NCAA sure has it in for UNLV.

  22. I was ticked off when I saw the Rebels as an 8 seed opposite Kansas - AGAIN! Three times in a row - are you kidding me??!! Especially after I saw Michigan as an 8 seed and West Virginia as a 5. I thought for sure the Rebels would be a 6 seed, no worse than a 7. However, like Djkgroup said, perhaps we could have the Quintrell Thomas factor in the potential second round matchup against Kansas. You know he'd be looking to have a huge game against his former team. He would take the matchup against the Morris twins personally. But first things first - let's take care of Illinois first. I think the Rebels have proven they can play with anybody in the country when they play well, and the good news is that they wouldn't have to play SDSU again until the national championship, so at least we're done seeing DJ Gay, Kawhi Leonard and company. I expect the Rebels to beat Illinois, and I think it will be a much tighter game against Kansas than a few years ago. And I'm probably the only fool looking beyond that and seeing a potential Sweet 16 rematch with Louisville if the Rebels could knock off Illinois and Kansas. I'd love to get the opportunity!

  23. Clearly UNLV was seeded within the expected 6-8 seed range, but it is especially disappointing to be seeded so low given our recent successes and consistency -- plus we played #2 seed SDSU down to the wire, it was anyone's game.

    Complaining aside, I hope we take care of business and embarrass Illinois like Michigan just did; strike that - better than Michigan did.

    GO REBELS!! ITS TOURNEY TIME
    www.RebelReign.com

  24. I'm annoyed at the possible Kansas matchup, but lets not act like BYU and think the seed is the only reason we can win. UNLV is a team that can play and beat anyone in the nation, whether we are a 10 seed or a 1 seed. BYU needs the deck stacked for them.

    Looking at possible Kansa matchup, of course QT, but don't forget AM and Elijah Johnson scenario.
    Lets hammer Illinois so they still feel the effects when we meet them again next year.

  25. Hammer chief illiniwick or whatever his politically incorrect name is - go Rebs