It’s not opening night, but it’s the next closest.
UNLV plays an exhibition against Montana State-Billings at 7 p.m. Friday at the Thomas &Mack Center, the first hints of what could be expected this season. The game that will be streamed at unlvrebels.com.
“I feel good about this team,” point guard Noah Robotham said. “If you put the work in and the effort, it will show. But it’s one thing to say, we have to go out there and prove it. We have an opportunity Friday night. We’ve been playing against each other since June. I think it will be good to play against a new team and see a different offense and defense. Things are looking good, though.”
Here are three questions entering the game?
How will Robotham look at point?
The Akron transfer and Bishop Gorman graduate is the likely starter, and the Rebels need his leadership and skill. Robotham seemingly has embraced the leadership role.
He started three seasons for the Zips and knows how to run an offense, but whether Robotham can take that experience and apply it against the likes of Cincinnati and Illinois as well as Mountain West competition is the question. How he performs Friday should provide some insight.
“Noah was here as a redshirt, so obviously he had a great opportunity to learn what we do systemwise offensively,” coach Marvin Menzies said. “We’re doing some different things defensively, so that’s some new stuff for him, but he’s doing a phenomenal job for us so far.”
Which freshmen will stand out?
One who won’t is guard Trey Woodbury, a Clark High grad who will miss about two weeks with a knee injury.
The Rebels, though, have guard Bryce Hamilton, their top-rated recruit from the most recent class.
“I’ve seen where Bryce has been pegged in a lot of different ways to be this impact guy, and I think you guys (media) have to wait and see how other guys have developed and how much has he developed,” Menzies said. “He’s definitely going to have as much opportunity as anyone else, but we’re going to play the guys that will help us win the game. He’s a true talent. The guy does things at practice where you’re like, ‘I’m glad we have him on our squad.’ All the freshmen actually are really exceeding my expectations on how they’re receiving information right now, so it should be fun to coach them for sure.”
How will the rotation sort out?
This is an opportunity for the coaches to see how players respond in different situations before the Nov. 10 season opener against Loyola Marymount at the Mack.
“I want to see how some of the guys five and six through 10 and 11 perform,” Menzies said. “So I want to get a bunch of guys on the floor if I can as well as seeing how they respond to the things we’re doing defensively from a principle standpoint of who we are. I’m really going to watch that side of the ball a lot.”
Who: Montana State-Billings vs. UNLV (exhibition)
When: 7 p.m. Friday
Where: Thomas & Mack Center
TV/Radio: unlvrebels.com (stream); KWWN (1100 AM, 100.9 FM)