REBELS BASKETBALL:

UNLV falls three spots to No. 20 in both polls

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Sam Morris / Las Vegas Sun

UNLV guard Justin Hawkins drives to the basket against Wyoming during their game Saturday, March 3, 2012 at the Thomas & Mack Center. UNLV won the game 74-63 to wind up an unbeaten season at home.

The Rebel Room

Getting ready for the league tournament

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Las Vegas Sun reporters Ray Brewer and Taylor Bern talk about the UNLV basketball team's 74-63 victory against Wyoming on Senior Night in the regular season finale. They also breakdown next week's Mountain West Conference tournament — where UNLV is the No. 3 seed.

The UNLV basketball team dropped three spots in both polls Monday, falling to a No. 20 national ranking by the Associated Press and in the coaches’ poll after splitting a pair of games last week.

The Rebels (25-7, 8-5), who play at 8:30 p.m. Thursday at the Thomas & Mack Center against Wyoming in the Mountain West Conference quarterfinals, were ranked No. 17 last week in both polls.

They squandered a 15-point halftime lead last Wednesday and scored just 18 second-half points in losing at Colorado State but rebounded by beating Wyoming on Senior Night to cap an undefeated record in home games.

UNLV, which is the No. 3 seed in the Mountain West tournament, isn’t the league’s only ranked team. San Diego State is ranked No. 18 by the Associated Press and No. 21 in the coaches’ poll, while New Mexico is receiving votes in both polls.

All three teams are likely to receive a bid into the NCAA Tournament, while Colorado State is believed to be firmly on the tournament bubble heading into the this week’s league tournament.

Ray Brewer can be reached at 990-2662 or [email protected]. Follow Ray on Twitter at twitter.com/raybrewer21.

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  1. The only ranking that counts now are the wins in the Mt. West and in the NCAA tournaments. The better we do in the Mt. West tournament the better we get in the NCAA tournament. First we need to get past Wyoming and with a more convincing win than Saturday. The first half was to close for me. The Rebels need to get mean and run up a 15-20 pt. lead, then keep the pressure on and not let up like they have done the past few games. A good convincing blow out Thursday night will set them up for the game Friday against New Mexico (most likely). Energy needs to be high for the next stretch of the season, no more letting 10-18 point leads evaporate. Defense needs to be aggressive ALL the time and the offense needs to be more hot than cold. The cowboys will be gunning for the Rebels given the recent loss and New Mexico will want revenge for their loss against the Rebels a few weeks ago. It's going to be tough but I really think that if the Rebels keep their focus, bring energy and use the home court advantage they stand a good chance of taking first or second in the conference. Then we see how we stand with the NCAA -- a 4 or 5 would be nice but we will have to get past Wyoming first.

  2. Play every game here on out like it is your last, Rebels. Every team is going to give it their final shot, and can't leave any questions on the floor about effort. Time to go all-in and parlay, cause it's March!

  3. that is a good point. I remember six or seven years ago, when UNLV was always on the tournament bubble at this part of the season and needing to win the tournament.