As college basketball fans around the country begin to fill their brackets, Rebel fans have needed to fill out theirs with pencil. UNLV has one week left of regular season play before the NCAA Tourney Committee meets next Wednesday to begin to decide the Rebels' fate. Depending on who you ask, national analysts have not yet considered the Rebels in "bubble trouble." However, on this site's latest UNLV poll, it appears that Rebel fans are a little torn as to what work needs to be done in the short remainder of the season. My guess: UNLV MUST WIN THESE LAST TWO GAMES.
Looking at poor, little Air Force: What was once one of the top 25 programs just 3 years ago, is now struggling for just one in-conference win. Before I jinx the Rebels, all I will say is this: UNLV will win this game. It is senior night at the Thomas and Mack. It is the last home game before the conference tourney where the Mack is turned into "everyone's home game." It will be a special night for Wink Adams and the rest, and although the Falcons may be seeking their first win, there is simply no way for them to win.
SDSU is another story. After a heartbreaking loss at home a month ago, the Rebels travel to San Diego for their final conference game of the season, and for the seniors, their final conference game of their careers. No problem? This game is complicated by three factors: One, it is SDSU's senior night. Two, the Aztecs are still vying for an at-large bid (which even with a win over UNLV should not happen). Third, both teams will probably battle for 4th or 5th place seeding in the conference tourney. And let's just pause a moment to understand what I just mentioned: UNLV, the proposed conference champion, is battling for 4th place seeding in a tournament played on their own home court! Moving on.
UNLV will have a tremendous challenge on their hands, but a week of rest and regrouping may be exactly what the team needed after the 10 point loss to Utah. UNLV needs to play the entire game with a sense of urgency. They truly have everything to lose. They already look back at some of the season with disappointment and they cannot finish the regular season schedule with that sinking feeling because it won't bode well in the conference tourney. Most of you know by now the major contributors on SDSU's squad and a couple of them are seniors, so as much as this game will mean to them, UNLV has to steal their thunder...on the Aztecs' home court...on senior night...let's just say it's going to be a battle royale.