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Runnin' Rebels Return To Rankings

UNLV returned to the national rankings on Monday.

UNLV returned to the national rankings on Monday.

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

USA TODAY/ESPN Coaches' Top 25 Rank Team (1st Place Votes) Record Pts 1. Kansas (29) 22-1 773 2. Kentucky (1) 22-1 731 3. Syracuse (1) 23-1 728 4. West Virginia 19-3 657 5. Villanova 20-2 639 6. Purdue 19-3 599 7. Duke 19-4 574 8. Georgetown 17-5 560 9. Kansas State 19-4 506 10. Michigan State 19-5 455 11. Gonzaga 19-4 427 12. Tennessee 18-4 417 13. Wisconsin 18-5 401 14. Texas 19-4 361 15. Butler 20-4 326 16. Ohio State 18-6 302 17. Brigham Young 22-3 298 18. Northern Iowa 21-2 221 19. New Mexico 21-3 211 20. Georgia Tech 17-6 150 21. Temple 19-5 131 22. Cornell 20-3 112 23. Pittsburgh 17-6 89 24. Vanderbilt 17-5 76 25. UNLV 19-4 55

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