How UNLV can win the Mountain West tournament

How UNLV can win the Mountain West tournament

Mountain West Basketball

How UNLV can win the Mountain West tournament

By

 

How UNLV can steal an NCAA Tournament bid



Contact/Follow @MWCwire

It starts with the Mountain West’s leading scorer

If there’s one team capable of stealing an NCAA Tournament bid, it’s the UNLV Runnin Rebels. It’s only the first year of Kevin Kruger‘s tenure in Vegas — but UNLV has shown the capability of beating anybody in the conference. So, today we’ll discuss why UNLV can win the conference tournament, which would mean stealing a bid.

A postseason bid of some kind likely awaits UNLV, whether of the NCAA Tournament variety or an NIT selection. I’d imagine UNLV falls in the range of appearing in the NIT at large conversation. As the fifth seed, the first matchup comes against No. 4 Wyoming and the Runnin’ Rebs will be trying to burst the Cowboys NCAA Tournament bubble. 

Bryce Hamilton:

If you’ve tuned into Mountain West hoops over the past four years, the name Bryce Hamilton is very familiar. The 6-foot-4 senior can absolutely fill up the scoring column, averaging 21.6 points while shooting 37 percent from three. Hamilton scored 47 points in the Runnin’ Rebels’ stunning victory in Fort Collins a few months back. It’s easy to tell when Hamilton turns the switch into an outstanding game and starts early on. He can get on rolls where it doesn’t matter who’s defending him; the shots start falling. The Mountain West tournament may be his Swan Song in Vegas unless he returns for his super senior year, but capping off his fantastic career with an NCAA Tournament appearance would be fitting. 

Defense: 

The rim-protecting ability of the Runnin’ Rebels frontline is awe-inspiring. Between Royce Hamm, Victor Iwaukor, and David Muoka, there aren’t many easy buckets coming inside. Hamm brings the defense and rebounding, hauling in 9.3 rebounds per game. Since February, UNLV ranks 66th in the country in defensive efficiency per BartTorvik. There are versatile defenders and athleticism across the floor for Coach Kruger’s squad, which limited Wyoming to 57 points last week and Colorado State to 51 points last month. 

2022 Mountain West Tournament Bracket, TV Schedule Announced

Donovan Williams

I put the question mark next to Donovan Williams because UNLV needs him to win the conference tournament. While Hamilton is terrific, several players need to bring consistent scoring performances to win. In a stretch from December 22nd to January 20th, Williams scored 15+ points in six straight games, but an injury held the consistency back. He only reached double-digit scoring once in six games since returning from his brief injury absence. There’s a ton of talent there but putting it together is massive this time of year. If Williams doesn’t round back into form, UNLV might be searching for another scoring option outside of Hamilton.


Advertisement

Latest

More MWWire