Runnin' Rebels Return To Rankings
Feb. 8, 2010
LAS VEGAS - The UNLV men's basketball team, which improved to 19-4 overall and 7-2 in the Mountain West Conference after beating then-No. 12 BYU in front of a sold-out Thomas & Mack Center, returned to the national rankings in both the Associated Press and USA TODAY/ESPN Coaches' polls, which were released Monday.
UNLV, which had spent four weeks in the national rankings earlier this season, is No. 23 in the AP poll and No. 25 in the coaches' poll. With the Runnin' Rebels jumping back into the rankings this week, it marks the first time in league history that three Mountain West Conference teams are ranked, as they join No. 15/19 New Mexico and No. 17/17 BYU.
The Runnin' Rebels stormed out to a 47-18 lead Saturday and never looked back in beating the Cougars, 88-74, in front of a raucous crowd of 18,557, the largest at the TMC since 18,723 turned out to watch UNLV beat Georgetown in 1993. The win moved UNLV into a tie for first place atop the Mountain West Conference standings, and the 19-4 start matches that of the 2006-07 Runnin' Rebel squad that advanced to the Sweet 16.
UNLV remains at home for another key Mountain West Conference tilt, hosting No. 15/19 New Mexico on Wednesday night at 8:00 p.m. (PST) in a matchup of two of the three league leaders. It marks the first time that the Runnin' Rebels have been ranked when hosting another ranked team during the regular season since that memorable matchup with the Hoyas in 1993 (UNLV was No. 15, while Georgetown was No. 18). UNLV's matchup against New Mexico is also the first regular-season meeting of ranked conference opponents at the Thomas & Mack Center since 1991, when the top-ranked Runnin' Rebels beat No. 12 New Mexico State, 86-74, in a Big West Conference tilt.
Wednesday's game will also be just the third time in league history that two ranked MWC teams will play each other. The first such meeting came in the 2007 MWC Tournament, when No. 25 UNLV beat No. 23 BYU for the conference championship, while the first regular-season tilt between two ranked MWC teams was then-No. 23/rv New Mexico's win over then-No. 12/10 BYU on Jan. 27 of this year. It is also the first time since the 1998-99 season that the Runnin' Rebels have played consecutive ranked teams in the Thomas & Mack Center, as UNLV lost to No. 4 Cincinnati and No. 25 Oklahoma State in back-to-back games late in December of that season.
Tickets start at just $10 for Wednesday's game and fans can purchase them by going to www.unlvtickets.com or by calling (702) 739-FANS.
Associated Press Top 25 Rank Team (1st Place Votes) Record Pts
1. Kansas (55) 22-1 1,613 2. Syracuse (8) 23-1 1,553 3. Kentucky (2) 22-1 1,514 4. Villanova 20-2 1,366 5. West Virginia 19-3 1,361 6. Purdue 19-3 1,301 7. Georgetown 17-5 1,211 8. Duke 19-4 1,142 9. Kansas State 19-4 1,139 10. Michigan State 19-5 968 11. Wisconsin 18-5 871 12. Tennessee 18-4 850 13. Ohio State 18-6 845 14. Texas 19-4 789 15. New Mexico 21-3 725 16. Gonzaga 19-4 693 17. Brigham Young 22-3 532 18. Butler 20-4 422 19. Northern Iowa 21-2 298 20. Georgia Tech 17-6 269 21. Temple 19-5 223 22. Vanderbilt 17-5 222 23. UNLV 19-4 209 24. Baylor 17-5 202 25. Pittsburgh 17-6 149