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UNLV BASKETBALL:

Rebels still unranked in AP poll, rise to 20th in ESPN/USA Today

Undefeated New Mexico rises to 13th in AP poll, K-State 12th

Image

Leila Navidi

UNLV head coach Lon Kruger talks to his team during Saturday’s game against South Carolina Upstate at the Thomas & Mack Center.

Monday, Dec. 21, 2009 | 12:44 p.m.

USC Upstate vs UNLV

Kendall Wallace and Oscar Bellfield led the Rebels with 16 points each as UNLV cruised to an 88-58 victory over South Carolina Upstate on Saturday night.

Three wins on the heels of the season's first loss earned UNLV some more votes in this week's AP Top 25 poll, but not enough to put Lon Kruger's club back in the rankings.

UNLV (10-1) received 126 votes — 30 more than last week — and was the second team listed in the 'Others receiving votes' portion of this week's tally, just one vote behind Florida State.

Meanwhile, UNLV's standing in the ESPN/USA Today coaches poll moved up slightly, as the Rebels rose from No. 23 a week ago to No. 20.

This week's AP Top 25 includes three teams with 3-loss records, and nine with 2-loss records.

UNLV defeated Southern Utah (77-59), Weber State (72-63) and South Carolina Upstate (88-58) this week, and Tuesday begins stretch of three games in four days at the Diamond Head Classic in Honolulu. The first game is at 7:30 p.m. against SMU and can be seen on ESPNU.

For the second straight week, the Mountain West Conference's only ranked team in the AP poll is New Mexico (12-0), which is ranked 13th. BYU received 20 votes.

Kansas State, who handed UNLV its lone loss of the season Dec. 12 at the Orleans Arena, was equally impressive following a week-long layoff, winning at Alabama on Saturday night, 87-74. The Wildcats are now the No. 1 RPI team in the nation, while UNLV checks in at No. 41.

The top eight in this week's AP poll all remained the same from a week ago: Kansas, Texas, Kentucky, Purdue, Syracuse, West Virginia, Duke and Villanova.

Ryan Greene can be reached at ryan.greene@lasvegassun.com or 702-948-7844.

Discussion: 24 comments so far…

Comments are moderated by Las Vegas Sun editors. Our goal is not to limit the discussion, but rather to elevate it. Comments should be relevant and contain no abusive language. Comments that are off-topic, vulgar, profane or include personal attacks will be removed. Full comments policy.

  1. I'm so befuddled at the ranking system. Gonzaga at 25, with 3 losses and just got blown out by Duke?

    Butler 8-3 and ranked 20th?

    Who does everyone think the best basketball team in college is this year?

  2. Frank Stallone

  3. North Carolina is top ten with three losses. It all has to do with the name. BS

  4. A lot of the people that vote in the AP poll are East Coast writers that would never dream of following up on a Mountain West team. New Mexico is real good and if they even had one loss, they'd be out of the AP as well.

    I put way more weight on the Coaches Poll. The coaches actually pay attention to everything that's going on in the country.

  5. Lobo ... I'm assuming you're a New Mexico guy. That said, take a look at who UNC has played compared to who New Mexico has played. Despite the records, I'd say the Tar Heels deserve to be ranked ahead of your Lobos.

    JerryWayne ... Both polls have their flaws. The AP poll probably does carry some east coast sway, but I wouldn't call it bias. I'd say it comes from the fact that they never see most teams west of the mississippi actually play. As for the coaches poll, I think it's debatable how many of the coaches actually vote in it and instead have someone else in their office fill it out ...

  6. Polls mean so little any ways, why even pay attention to them? Football polls matter thanks to the system, but basketball polls are about as important as popularity polls in politics.

  7. @ wildbill

    Because it gives attention to the schools. They may be political, but they still put schools on the map, and get people interested in the teams. he media as well pays more attention to ranked schools. Recruits are more apt to be interested in a good school than a bad school, and that is often measured by how good a team is (ranked).

  8. Quite frankly, for this week, I'd rather us be ranked in the ESPN/USA Today Poll as we have the opportunity to have that number next to our name three times on ESPN.

  9. I'd love to know when coaches have time to "pay attention to everything that's going on in the country." You think Lon Kruger spends a lot of time watching a bunch of other teams (not on our schedule) play? And as Ryan said, a lot of them don't even fill out their own ballot.

    You can place some of the blame on the MWC's horrible TV contract. Even people in our own city don't get most of the games, especially if they use DirecTV. How do you expect east coasters to follow us, aside from reading the scores in the paper?

  10. Like wildbill said polls don't mean anything it's how you do towards the end that counts and as for UNC, Gonzaga, and Butler being ranked look at who they have lost too UNC lost to three undefeated top 5 teams (Syracuse, Kentucky and Texas) they are ranked high because they play elite teams. I'm glad UNLV is not ranked to high I get worried to much when they do. I like it better when we're under the radar then make some noise in the tournament because in the that's where all the college teams want to be.

  11. We succeed as an underdog, that is good. If we go in overlooked vs New Mexico, I will like our chances MUCH MORE than if people were saying we were going to win

  12. Tarkus, maybe not I-AA or division II, but ask Kruger about a division I school and I bet he knows something about them.

  13. What does that mean, "something"? He surely hasn't seen most of them play. He may have some idea of their recruits, but you can't judge teams based on that, or there would be no point in playing the games.

  14. I hope you Rebel fans don't expect UNLV to get fair treatment from the Voters. The Rebels are considered a nuisance to the good ole boy network. They will ignore us as long as possible.

  15. And that is a good thing rebeltom. As long as UNLV is in the tournament, fine with me.

  16. I'll take the coaches opinion over reporters any day of the week.

  17. Ryan,
    If the AP poll sways toward east coast teams because they never see most teams west of the Mississippi actually play, I'd call that "bias".

  18. by "something" I mean: recruits, notable wins, standing in conference, hot streak/cold streak. Even if Kruger has six extra hours in his day he wouldn't be able to watch every team. If ya wanna argue just to argue I'm sure you could keep going, but it's his job and his staffs to know about them.

  19. I'm not arguing just to argue, but I fail to see why Kruger and his staff would concern themselves with teams not on their schedule.

    Regarding writers vs. coaches, I'll bet you writers watch a LOT more games than coaches do, though the timezone thing certainly hurts teams on the west coast. Add the MWC's horrible TV contract, and it further weighs them down.

  20. The coach may not be the one that follows teams not on the schedule..but there are people on the staff that scout whoever is on ESPN that day or maybe a future tournament opponent (Kansas-NCAA hates us)

  21. Well I'll take being ranked in the coaches poll because it is the ESPN Coaches' Poll. Therefore whenever looking for scores on any ESPN network or espn.com, then UNLV is conveniently found right in the top 25 section.

    So being in the ESPN poll is good, it gives us more exposure around the country

  22. hey why dont they do it like h/s wrestling,if u defeat the guy ahead of you ,you get his spot

  23. So if SMU were to upset Kansas, they should be the #1 team in the nation?

    You have to look at a team's body of work, not a single game. Comparing polls to wrestling is like comparing apples to oranges.

  24. hey if u beat # 1,u should b # 1,these nebulous polls are a colossal waste of time

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