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March 1, 2013

One more for the road

ONE MORE FOR THE ROAD - It's been true for the Runnin' Rebels, but road wins have come few and far between throughout the nation this season. That is just the culture of college basketball in 2012-13.

UNLV will get one more opportunity to prove itself away from the Thomas & Mack Center on Saturday whenever the Rebels head north and tangle with the UNR Wolf Pack.

They may be hovering around the bottom of the Mountain West Conference pack but the Wolf Pack should be considered very dangerous in this rivalry game that the Reno fans will be salivating for. Throw in the fact that the Rebels haven't quite been themselves on the road on many occasions, and that makes this game even more interesting.

UNLV is coming off a quality road win at Wyoming, but the Rebels were never really tested in that contest. This game should be more of an indicator of where UNLV's collective head is at as the season winds down.

2ND HALF SURGING - The Rebels dug themselves too big of a hole to climb out of and take home the MWC regular season title, but their second half play isn't being ignored by the national folks.

If the Rebels can run the table, they would be winners of eight of nine to finish up the season. With all the bad losses that other teams are suffering around the nation, UNLV can only look much better in the NCAA selectors' eyes whenever pairings for the NCAA Tournament are selected.

It doesn't feel like the Rebels are playing that much better in the second half than they did in the first half, but that won't matter. Nearly every team in the nation is succumbing to the same fate that UNLV felt early in league action.

More importantly, the Rebels could, potentially, finish in second place in the first or second rated RPI conference. That would also have to mean something to the people that have to crunch the numbers.

MOSER'S RETURN - You can expect a couple things on Saturday - Mike Moser will return to the starting line-up at the four spot for the first time since his injury in December and he should sparkle in that role.

With Anthony Bennett likely out or seeing few minutes against Reno, Moser has the opportunity that he hasn't had this year. He will get the chance to put the team on his shoulders and carry the load for the Rebels.

Luckily, Moser is finally healthy both mentally and physically. You can see it in his eyes and his words that he is ready to show off what he can do.

It's not that the Rebels don't need Bennett, because they certainly do, but to have a back-up option the caliber of Moser is big for head coach Dave Rice. Moser should bring energy and passion in a road environment where UNLV is going to need it.



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