The CSU menâ€™s basketball team heads on the road for its second conference road game tonight, when they play the University of Nevada-Las Vegas.
UNLV, currently fourth place in the Mountain West Conference standings, is traditionally one of the top teams in the conference. In order for the Rams to be considered an upper-echelon MWC team, they must prove they can defeat the leagueâ€™s top teams.
The Rebels present a lineup similar to CSUâ€™s (12-5, 2-1) in that it is undersized but athletic. The Rebels pose a balanced attack with four players averaging more than 10 points per game, with none averaging higher than 13.
â€œTheyâ€™ve got talent,â€ said coach Tim Miles. â€œOne thing they donâ€™t lack is talent, so youâ€™ve got to be ready for all of those guys. (Sophomore guard) Anthony Marshallâ€™s been playing outstanding. (Senior guard) Treâ€™Von Willis is one of the top players in the league. Theyâ€™re going to be a handful.â€
UNLV (14-4, 2-2) uses its quickness and athleticism to run a high-pressure defensive system that gets in passing lanes and disrupts the rhythm of opposing offenses.
The Rebels allow just over 60 points per game and opposing teams have managed to shoot just 38 percent from the field against them, the lowest mark in the MWC.
Transition points off turnovers are the key to the UNLV offense, which makes it imperative for the Rams to limit their mistakes.
Miles feels that the plethora of guards that can handle the ball on his squad makes this yearâ€™s team well equipped to handle the Rebel pressure.
One of those guards, sophomore Wes Eikmeier, agrees that the ability to play four different point guards as well as having forwards who are adept at ball control will be useful in breaking the Rebels defense.
â€œIf someoneâ€™s not having a great night, someone else can step up and take care of the ball and make shots,â€ Eikmeier said. â€œThe more ball handlers you have against a team that pressures like that, itâ€™s a big key.â€
The Rams realize this is another chance to notch a big win on the road over a quality opponent.
â€œThis is one of the games we marked down on the schedule,â€ said senior Andy Ogide. â€œThis is a game weâ€™ve got to get if we want to get into the NCAA tournament.â€
Tonightâ€™s game tips off at 8:30 p.m., and can be seen on The Mtn.
Menâ€™s Basketball Beat Reporter Kevin Lytle can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Go to the game
- Opponent: UNLV Rebels
- Where: UNLV
- When: 8:30 p.m.
- Watch: The Mtn.