UNLV Rebels Are Most Disappointing Team In Mountain West Conference


Stephen R. Sylvanie- USA TODAY Sports

The UNLV Runnin’ Rebels beat the Wyoming Cowboys 49-46 on Saturday night, however, it does not show how bad the Rebels have been all season long.

UNLV was touted as one of the best Mountain West Conference teams heading into the season, but thus fa, it has proven high expectations can turn into bad realities.

On the season, the Rebels are 16-8 and 7-4 in MWC play. Currently, UNLV is third in the MWC and will face the Utah State Aggies next Saturday, giving them ample time to prepare and execute — something coach Dave Rice desperately needs this season.

The Rebels have played extremely poorly this season despite their decent overall record. They were supposed to be ranked all season long with a chance at getting a top-five seed in the tournament in March.

Winners of five of their last six, the Rebels are turning it around of late compared to their lackluster non-conference performance and early conference games. After a disappointing start to the conference season — losing to the Air Force Falcons and the Nevada Wolfpack in back-to-back games — UNLV has picked up the pace by beating the New Mexico Lobos, Utah State Aggies, Fresno State Bulldogs and the Boise State Broncos.

However, if the Rebels can somehow beat San Diego State Aztecs on Mar. 5 they can prove worthy of the preseason conference rankings. But for now they are one of the most disappointing teams in the country, let alone the conference. 16-8 is something to write home about if it were any team but UNLV in the MWC. The preseason expectations have outweighed the regular season performance. They are on their way into turning their season around and will make an argument to burst the bubble on the NCAA Tournament.

John Lloyd is  a Pac-12 Basketball Writer for Rant Sports. Follow him on Twitter @JohnHLloydIII

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  • Michael Fieldman

    Who are you?.. The Rebels beat Wyoming 48-46* first off… secondly, this was always a rebuilding year for the Rebels from day 1. They had 7 players leave and 8 new guys come in. They lost one of their assistant coaches and replaced him as well. They were projected 2nd in the conference and are currently third. Lunardi had them at a 10 seed in preseason and they were not ever ranked this year, not even in preseason. So please tell me how you figure that “They were supposed to be ranked all season long with a chance at getting a top-five seed in the tournament in March.”

    C’mon man.. at least look into what you say in your articles before you publish.. At least get the scores to the games you mention right.

    • Guest

      Wyoming is a nobody team. UNLV beats them by only two points, at home, and scores only 48 points. Regardless of the typos and messed up score report, the author is spot on. UNLV is having a horrible season and it all stems down to one reason => Dave Rice. All the talent is there. The best front court in the nation, yet a team with absolutely no consistency. Hopefully UNLV gets its act together, otherwise all these 5 start McDonald’s recruits will be headed elsewhere to seek out coaches that will actually prepare them for the next level. Anyone watching him can notice that he’s only flailing his arms around to make it seem like he’s doing something. Hell, at the Wyoming game I even saw him put in eye drops during the middle of play!!! But clearly that didn’t even help him see what was going on.

  • JasonTLV

    I find it funny that so many sports writers were projecting UNLV as 4th in the MWC, but now that they are about where projected, they are “the most disappointing”. That said, I actually don’t know how Mr. Sylvanie felt pre-season. Maybe he felt they should win the conference.

    However, from an “inside fandom” perspective, we fans are also disappointed. The Rebels are supposed to be much better and consistent on defense, and our point guard play… well… the team has gone as the point guard has gone. When we have good play there, we usually win. Since we had 5 potential players that could have filled the pg spot, fans felt that the position had received due attention thru recruitment. That hasn’t played out so well. Therefore, there is some deserved disappointment.

    Deville is coming along, though. Hopefully he stays consistent.

    Overall, I think it’s kind of like talking about your mom… It’s ok for fans to say something about the team, but everybody else needs to shut their traps!