UNLV vs Boise State


UNLV vs Boise State


Runnin’ Rebels (8-8, 3-0) | Boise State Broncos (10-6, 2-2)


UNLV has gotten out to a 3-0 MWC start for only the 2nd time in program history, but given the way the team looked just five games ago, no one would have guessed the Rebels would be undefeated in the conference. Coach TJ Otzelberger was fed up with his team’s shoddy out of conference performances, and also fed up with individual players not buying in. Because of this, he implemented a lot of changes within his lineup. Most notably star guard Amauri Hardy and former Pac-12 6th Man of the Year Donnie Tillman were benched in favor of Marvin Coleman and Nick Blair, a pair of former walk-ons.

Fast forward to today’s matchup at Boise against the Broncos, and Otzelberger is looking like a genius. UNLV is like a completely different team since he decided to police his players with tough love. The defense has been elite, the effort has been over the top, and the results are making fans excited.

That being said, the MWC is a different monster when it comes to road games.

Utah State has learned that first hand. The Aggies were the overwhelming consensus pick to win the league, but they have suffered blowout losses away from Logan to UNLV and Air Force (Picked 7th and 8th by preseason prognosticators). Every single year this kind of thing happens.

Right now, Boise State is 10-6. They don’t have a marquee victory, but they did beat Pacific in triple OT. So far, the Broncos have dropped conference games at New Mexico and UNR. Pacing the team in scoring is guard Derrick Alston, who averages just shy of 20 points per game. He also leads the team in assists with 3.2 assists per game. The team’s leader on the glass is RJ Williams, who pulls down 8.2 rebounds per game.

Gone are the days where Leon Rice was a semi-permanent fixture in the NCAA Tournament. His teams that starred Derrick Marks and Anthony Drmic were always problematic. That doesn’t mean that UNLV can take this game lightly, however. Even though Boise has plateaued as a program and the Rebels are on a four-game win streak, they’d be wise to remember what got them there. If Otzelberger’s club continues its fierce defense and high octane energy, they can steal a road win here. If they revert to bad habits, it’ll be 3-1 as they head to Wyoming on Saturday.


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Isaiah Torres

Twitter: Isaiah_Torres24

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