Nevada Basketball: Three Keys for Nevada Vs UNLV
The Nevada Wolf Pack travel south to Las Vegas to play against the UNLV Runnin’ Rebels. Here are Nevada’s three keys for this match-up with UNLV
Three Keys for Nevada-UNLV
The Nevada Wolf Pack (19-1, 6-1 Mountain West) and the UNLV Runnin’ Rebels (11-8, 5-2) face off in the Silver State showdown in Las Vegas on Tuesday night. Tip-off for this contest is set for 8pm at the Thomas & Mack Center.
The Wolf Pack are coming off a 100-60 victory over Colorado State last Wednesday night in which Nevada head coach Eric Musselman earned his 100th victory in his college coaching career. While UNLV is coming off a 94-77 loss to San Diego State on Saturday night. The Rebels lead the all time series by a count of 60-27 but the Wolf Pack have won four of the last five games with Nevada’s only loss to UNLV in that stretch was last season in Reno when UNLV defeated Nevada 86-78 in a game in which Nevada was without the services of Caleb Martin.
In this contest between these two in-state rivals, here are the three keys for the Wolf Pack to come away with a win over UNLV.
– Nevada must be ready to crash the glass
This UNLV team is excellent at rebounding the ball especially on offensive rebounds. The Runnin’ Rebels are second in the Mountain West in rebounding margin at +6.8, first in the conference in offensive rebounds (15.0 offensive rebounds per game) and offensive rebounding percentage (39 percent). Given how UNLV as a team is only shooting 43 percent from the field (Good for ninth in the Mountain West),the Rebels makeup for that lack of offense in excellent rebounding.
It is critical for Nevada to attack the glass against UNLV and keep UNLV from getting second chances to score. If Nevada can go toe to toe on the glass against UNLV, the Wolf Pack have an excellent chance to defeat UNLV.
– Nevada must defend the Rebels balanced scoring
The Rebels have three players ranked in the top 20 in the Mountain West in points per game in guards Kris Clyburn (13 ppg), Amauri Hardy (12 ppg) and forward Joel Ntambwe (12 ppg). Of the three players, it is the the 6 foot 9 freshman Ntambwe from Kinshasa, Congo who shoots the ball from three well as he is hitting 42 percent from three.The Runnin’ Rebels offense has been helped out a lot by this balance scoring of these three players. For Nevada to win on Tuesday, the Wolf Pack defense will have to on defense focus on these three players and elevate their defensive play.
-Have a repeat performance of the Colorado State game last week
The Wolf Pack played their best game of the season last week at home against the Rams. It was a dominating performance that we were waiting for Nevada to have during this season. The Wolf Pack will need to be at their best against a UNLV team looking to score a major upset against their in-state rivals. On paper, the Wolf Pack have the better team as opposed to UNLV but the game is in Las Vegas and I expect the Rebels to bring plenty of energy to this game. It is critical for Nevada to go out and play excellent basketball in order to win on Tuesday.
Game tips at 11 p.m. ET on ESPNU or stream it on SlingTV.