The Rebels take the court at the Thomas & Mack Center tonight in search of a victory on the heels of two straight losses.
The good news for UNLV is that the team has endured two previous two-game losing streaks this season and on each occasion the Rebels have responded with a winning streak.
They will need to do so again if they hope to have any chance of an at-large NCAA tournament selection because a loss in either of the next two games would be difficult to overcome.
The Rebels will be double-digit favorites in each of the next two contests, beginning with tonight’s matchup with Texas Christian.
The Horned Frogs started out conference play looking like contenders. They built a 4-1 Mountain West record that included a home win over UNLV.
Things have changed.
TCU has dropped four straight games and the team quickly is sliding in the standings.
A sweep at the hands of the Horned Frogs would not look very good to the selection committee.
The Rebels will be in a similar position on Saturday when they look to avenge a loss to lowly Colorado State.
Wallace gets start
The Rebels are staying with a four-guard lineup, but it is not necessarily the four who were expected to get the call.
Kendall Wallace is starting along with Wink Adams, Rene Rougeau, Oscar Bellfield and Joe Darger.
UNLV has gone to an extra session in back-to-back games and come away with nothing to show for all the extra work.
It marks the first time in the 51-year history of the program that the Rebels have dropped consecutive overtime games.
The team would be well-served to put TCU away early and not have to play meaningful minutes down the stretch tonight.
UNLV will go with a four-guard lineup for the foreseeable future.
The two centers on the roster, Darris Santee and Brice Massamba, combined to play just two minutes during Saturday’s overtime loss to New Mexico.
Actually, that was two for Santee and none for Massamba.
Joe Darger has proven during the past two seasons to be a capable interior defender, but on offense, it really leaves the Rebels without a post presence. Darger is an outside shooter, so it essentially leaves UNLV with five perimeter players on offense.
The lineup will cause matchup problems for just about every team UNLV plays, but it also will cause the Rebels to shoot a lot of 3-pointers. On Saturday, UNLV made 8 of 24 attempts from beyond the arc.
Expect the number of attempts to increase as this lineup meshes together.
UNLV assistant coach Lew Hill is back on the sidelines with the team tonight. He was taken to the hospital after the loss to San Diego State last week.
All it takes is a couple of losses for fans to start jumping off the bandwagon. As the Rebels built a 17-4 record, fans started showing up in droves.
The Thomas & Mack was loud and full for several games.
Now, after two straight losses, there are plenty of empty seats in the lower bowl as well as the customary empty sections in the balcony.