Sam Morris / Las Vegas Sun
Monday, Jan. 16, 2012 | 10:47 a.m.
The UNLV basketball team dropped two spots Monday in the Associated Press rankings, falling to No. 14 after losing by two points Saturday at San Diego State in the Mountain West Conference opener.
In the coaches’ poll, the Rebels (16-3, 0-1 MWC) fell from No. 12 last week all the way to No. 20 — four spots behind San Diego State, which came in at No. 16. San Diego State (15-2, 1-0), which is riding an eight-game winning streak, is also No. 16 in the AP rankings.
UNLV on Wednesday will return to action with a home game at the Thomas & Mack Center against TCU (10-6, 0-1). On Saturday, the Rebels will host New Mexico (15-2, 1-0) in one of the most anticipated league home games of the season.
New Mexico didn’t crack the top 25, but its 61 votes were the 30th most in the country. New Mexico on Wednesday will get its first of two cracks this week at a ranked team when it hosts San Diego State.
Illinois, which UNLV last month beat 64-48, returned to the rankings at No. 22 by the Associated Press and No. 25 by the coaches. Undefeated Syracuse is still ranked No. 1 in both polls, while North Carolina is No. 8 in the AP. UNLV beat North Carolina 90-80 in November for its signature win of the season.