Breaking down UNLV’s basketball game against No. 8 UNR at 8 p.m. Tuesday at the Thomas & Mack Center:
UNR defines this era of positionless basketball, with three guards who are each 6 feet 7 inches and can also play forward. Jordan Caroline (18.7 points per game, 9.7 rebounds), Caleb Martin (18.1 points) and Cody Martin (10.9 points, 5.2 assists) are all matchup nightmares. UNLV, which is making a conference-best 41.9 percent from 3-point range against Mountain West opponents, must continue its hot shooting to have a chance.
Before the injuries to the frontcourt, the Rebels would have matched up nicely here. And there is hope that Mbacke Diong (ankle) will return soon. Joel Ntambwe has stepped up for UNLV, averaging 16.9 points and 7.0 rebounds against Mountain West competition and shooting 41 percent from 3-point range. But the Rebels have been outrebounded in three of their past four games after winning that battle in the first 15. UNR 6-11 post Trey Porter (7.2 points, 5.1 rebounds) owns the size advantage.
The Wolf Pack aren’t exceptionally deep, but Jazz Johnson (11.0 points) has been a key player off the bench. UNLV coach Marvin Menzies hasn’t been afraid to throw even walk-ons on the floor, and the Rebels have had success with their reserves.
San Diego State, with its size and length, was a terrible matchup for the Rebels, and UNR looks to be at least as challenging. Plus, the Wolf Pack didn’t play last weekend, giving them extra time to prepare. UNLV had a short turnaround after Saturday’s 94-77 loss to the Aztecs.
UNR -9½; total 153½