UNLV Basketball
Photo Credit: UNLV Basketball

2020 UNLV Men’s Basketball Preview

https://franchisesportsmedia.com

 

UNLV starts their 2020 season off at home against Montana State on Wednesday night at Thomas and Mack. Coach TJ Otzelberger looks to have his Runnin’ Rebels competing for the Mountain West title and an invite to “big dance.”

 

UNLV
Photo Credit: UNLV Athletics

TJ Otzelberger is set to tip-off his second season as head coach of the UNLV Runnin’ Rebels. The Rebels went 17-15 a season ago with a 12-6 record in the Mountain West Conference but lost in the Mountain West tournament quarterfinals. Coach Otzelberger did this with a team that was not gull of his players. UNLV comes into the 2020/2021 season with high hopes to finish atop the Mountain West Conference and with players that fit what Coach TJ wants to do.

Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the Mountain West Conference had to make changes to the scheduling. Each team will play 10 two-game series with a one day break in between. The Runnin’ Rebels play their first Mountain West game on December 20th at Wyoming.

Before they start their Mountain West games, UNLV does play some key out of conference games. On November 30th, they travel to play at the 16th ranked team in North Carolina. Later on, they will either play Stanford or Alabama. Then on December 4th, the Runnin’ Rebels will travel to Kansas State. When it comes to playing the Mountain West, UNLV got a promising draw as two of the top three teams from a year ago both come to the Thomas and Mack. Both San Diego State and Utah State are traveling to UNLV this season.

 

There will be a lot of new players out there for the Runnin’ Rebels

 

UNLV Basketball
Photo Credit: UNLV Athletics Twitter

Rebels fans can be excited to see David Jenkins Jr play for the first time in the Scarlet and Gray. Jenkins transferred last year with Head Coach TJ Otzelberger from South Dakota State. They will now try to have more success together in Las Vegas. Jenkins did not play last year because of the transfer rules. He will take over for Amauri Hardy in the Runnin’ Rebels lineup after Hardy transferred to the University of Oregon.

By all accounts, Jenkins was the best player on the team last year, and it showed in practices. He is the unquestioned leader of the Runnin’ Rebels and is 110% Coach Otzelberger’s guy. Jenkins trusts Coach TJ Otzelberger and knows his system, how and how well it works, and expects his teammates to do the same. Jenkins is an NBA prospect and could be the MWC Player of the Year when it is all said and done.

Another key player for UNLV this season will be Bryce Hamilton. UNLV won 5 of the last 6 games last season, and Hamilton was the main reason. He was selected to first-team all-Mountain West after averaging 16 points and 5 rebounds. This was done even with him on the bench for most of last season before starting the final 11 games. Having a strong backcourt of Jenkins and Hamilton will be the key for the Runnin’ Rebels and Coach Otzelberger to get back to the top of the conference.

For the Rebels big men, it starts with senior center Cheikh Mbacke Diong. Diong has gotten better every year of his collegiate career, and they will need him to continue to improve on the glass and defensively. Another factor that is promising for UNLV is they had arguably the best recruiting class in the Mountain West. Incoming freshmen such as Nick Blake and Jhaylon Martinez have the Rebels set up for success for years.

 

UNLV looks to start 1-0 on Wednesday hosting the Montana State Bobcats

 

UNLV Basketball
Photo Credit: Caleb Grill Twitter

It should be a fun year for the Rebels as they get ready to tip-off on Wednesday for the first time. They host Montana State. Montana State is coming off a 16-15 record a season ago. Montana State was not great on the road with a record of 5-10, and the Rebels will look to continue that trend to start this new season. The star for the Montana State Bobcats is the 6’9 240 pound forward Jubrile Belo. UNLV will have a tough matchup down low as their big men will be tested.

Every season’s first game can never be taken as a preview for the rest of the season. Teams need a couple of games to develop chemistry with new players and get game fit for the rest of the season. However, Montana State is a good first matchup for the Rebels before moving on to play in the Maui Invitational.

It is an exciting time for the Runnin’ Rebels as they can really put other teams on notice this season. Coach TJ Otzelberger has UNLV headed in the right direction and look for them to have a big season starting on Wednesday.

 

UNLV tips off their 2020 season on Wednesday at 6:30 PM against the Montana State Bobcats at Thomas and Mack. The game can be seen on the Stadium app. 

2020 UNLV Men’s Basketball Preview          2020 UNLV Men’s Basketball Preview        2020 UNLV Men’s Basketball Preview          2020 UNLV Men’s Basketball Preview          2020 UNLV Men’s Basketball Preview          2020 UNLV Men’s Basketball Preview          2020 UNLV Men’s Basketball Preview          

-Jarret Thompson – Franchise Sports Media

Follow The Franchise on Social Media

https://twitter.com/TheFranchiseLV

https://facebook.com/TheFranchiseLV

https://instagram.com/TheFranchiseLV