UNLV vs Air Force
Photo Credit: UNLV Athletics

FSM Essential Preview: UNLV vs. Air Force – Game 26, Mountain West Tournament Round 1

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UNLV (11-14) vs. Air Force (5-19)

 

UNLV opens up the Mountain West tournament with Air Force.


The Mountain West Conference tournament tips off on Wednesday, and UNLV plays Air Force as one of three matchups in the first round. The Runnin’ Rebels finished 7th in the Mountain West in the regular season with an overall record of 11-14 and a conference record of 8-10. They will play the number 10 seeded Air Force Falcons who finished 5-19 on the season and 3-14 in conference play.

UNLV will need to go on a run in this tournament and win the entire thing to clinch a berth in the March Madness tournament. Nothing is impossible. However, they need to take one game at a time and first focus on their opening opponents in Air Force.

 

Both teams have lose their previous two games leading into the tournament. 

 

UNLV vs Air Force
Photo Credit: UNLV Athletics

UNLV fell to the Mountain West regular-season champions in San Diego State and then lost at Wyoming to end their regular season. Both of those games were made up as Covid caused them to be delayed earlier in the season.

The Runnin’ Rebels have been at their best this season when their two leading scorers in Bryce Hamilton and David Jenkins are consistent together. In the sense that both of them are executing offensively in the same game. Too often this season, one of them goes cold offensively, not helping the other. Bryce Hamilton, who was just named second-team All-Mountain West is averaging 18 points this season and will need to be the leader of this Runnin’ Rebel team if they want to make a run.

Air Force is coming off two games in which they didn’t put up much of a fight. They lost back-to-back games to Colorado State by more than 20 points. AJ Walker is the main man for this Falcons team leading the team with 15 points per game. He is also the leader on his team in assists and steals.

 

 

 

UNLV will look to continue to dominate Air Force as they have been for years.

 

UNLV vs Air Force
Photo Credit: UNLV Athletics

The Runnin’ Rebels won both games against Air Force this season, both of them being at the Thomas and Mack in Las Vegas. UNLV won the first game by 10 points, in which Bryce Hamilton finished with 22. They won the second game by a score of 69-64, led by a stellar performance from David Jenkins Jr. who had 26 points.

The key for Air Force has been defense, where they force many turnovers. The Falcons have forced opponents into committing turnovers on 21 percent of all possessions. UNLV will need to take extra care of the ball, continue to share the ball, and score early on.

A dominant performance could go a long way in building momentum for the Runnin’ Rebels. They are heavy favorites in this game, as they should be. They are the better team, and the fans will be looking for a great effort from the team resulting in a win.

 

 

 

 

The UNLV Runnin’ Rebels play the Air Force Falcons in the first round of the Mountain West tournament at 1:30. The television announcers will be Nate Kreckman and Marty Fletcher. Jon Sandler and former Runnin’ Rebel Curtis Terry will handle the UNLV radio call, which may be heard live on ESPN Radio 1100 in Las Vegas.

 

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-Jarret Thompson – Franchise Sports Media

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