#7 UNLV Rebels: College Basketball 111 in 111

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Welcome to The Sports Bank’s third annual college basketball season preview series.  Two years we looked at 99 teams in 99 days.  Last year, we were slightly more aggressive and expanded to 111 teams in 111 days and will do so again as we look ahead to the 2012-2013 season.

We will rank the 75 power conference teams and top 36 mid-majors in reverse power ranking order.  We’ll break down rosters, transfers, incoming freshmen, non-conference schedules, and pick a player to watch for each team.

The UNLV Rebels experienced a scare in their lone exhibition game, needing overtime to get past Dixie State.  Dave Rice’s team opens their season tonight against Northern Arizona and have the talent to make a ton of noise on the national scene.

UNLV REBELS
Last Season: 3rd, 9-5 in MWC, 26-8 overall
Predicted MWC Finish: 1st

Projected Depth Chart
F/C: Mike Moser (Jr)/Carlos Lopez (Jr)/Khem Birch (So)
F: Anthony Bennett (Fr)/Quintrell Thomas (Sr)/Demetris Morant (Fr-redshirt)
SF: Savon Goodman (Fr)/Bryce Jones (So)
SG: Katin Reinhardt (Fr)/Justin Hawkins (Sr)
PG: Anthony Marshall (Sr)/Daquan Cook (Fr-redshirt)

Gone: SF-Chace Stanback, PG-Oscar Bellfield, C-Brice Massamba, SG-Kendall Wallace, PG-Reggie Smith (transfer-Eastern Illinois), G/F-Karam Mashour (transfer-Morehead State)

2012-2013 Outlook:
UNLV does lose a few key players from last year but brings back Mike Moser who made a huge impact in his first season with the Rebels after transferring in from UCLA.  Moser was a First Team All-Mountain West selection, averaging a double-double per night and causing problems for opposing teams due to his versatility.

Joining Moser in the frontcourt will be highly decorated freshman Anthony Bennett who was a gigantic late get for Rice. At 6-8, 230 pounds, he is physically imposing on the inside but can also shoot the three ball and get bigger defenders off the bounce.  A lot of major conference programs would love to have a duo like Bennett and Moser which is a huge advantage for Rice.

The Rebels also get former McDonald’s All-American and Pitt transfer Khem Birch eligible after the first semester.  He is extremely long and a talented shot blocker on the inside.  Add in upperclassmen Carlos Lopez-Sosa and Quintrell Thomas who were each valuable role players a year ago, and the Rebels certainly don’t lack any size or depth inside.  As a result, freshman Demetris Morant will redshirt this season.

There is experience in the backcourt with Anthony Marshall who now becomes the primary ball-handler after splitting that responsibility last season with Oscar Bellfield.  Marshall is aggressive on both ends of the floor and contributes in a variety of ways.  Reggie Smith’s decision to transfer and Daquan Cook choosing to redshirt does leave the Rebels without a true backup point guard.

Justin Hawkins is another veteran guard back in the fold though it appears freshman Katin Reinhardt will get the starting nod at the two.  Reinhardt is a dynamic scorer who gets buckets in a variety of ways.  Hawkins will be a valuable reserve since he figures to also see minutes at the point when Marshall needs a rest.  Again, this is another position where Rice has the luxury of two players ready and able to contribute.

The same thing can be said at small forward where freshman Savon Goodman and USC transfer Bryce Jones will battle for minutes.  Like Bennett, Goodman was a late signee and is at his best in transition or attacking the tin.  Jones broke bones in hand about a month ago but is already healed enough to be ready for the opener.  He’ll see some minutes at the two as well this year.

UConn transfer Roscoe Smith had his immediate eligibility request denied so he must sit out this season.  When he is able to suit up in 2013-14, Smith will add another long, athletic forward to the picture who will allow the Rebels to keep in running.

With size, versatility, and depth up-front, a dangerous scorer on the wing, and veteran lead guard; UNLV has the pieces in place to be the best non-power six team in college basketball.

Player to Watch: Anthony Bennett
UNLV will likely start the season with a smaller lineup featuring Moser and Bennett inside.  Adding Khem Birch in the middle would give Rice a huge frontcourt and Bennett’s versatility allows this to happen.  I think Bennett has a little bit of Royce White to his game and could be a one-and-done if he takes the MWC by storm this year.

Key Non-Conference Games:
11/23 vs. Oregon (Las Vegas Classic)
11/24 vs. Cincinnati/Iowa State (Las Vegas Classic)
12/9 at California
12/17 at UTEP
12/19 vs. Northern Iowa (MWC/MVC Challenge)
12/29 at North Carolina

OTHER 111 IN 111’S:
#9 Florida Gators
#10 Michigan Wolverines
#11 Syracuse Orange
#12 Duke Blue Devils
#13 Ohio State Buckeyes
#14 Arizona Wildcats
#15 North Carolina Tar Heels
#16 Michigan State Spartans
#17 UCLA Bruins
#18 Notre Dame Fighting Irish
#19 Cincinnati Bearcats
#20 Marquette Golden Eagles
#21 Creighton Bluejays
#22 Gonzaga Bulldogs
#23 Minnesota Golden Gophers
#24 Memphis Tigers
#25 Baylor Bears
#26 Wisconsin Badgers
#27 Tennessee Volunteers
#28 Pitt Panthers
#29 New Mexico Lobos
#30 St. Mary’s Gaels
#31 Georgetown Hoyas
#32 North Texas Mean Green
#33 Ohio Bobcats
#34 Texas Longhorns
#35 Miami Hurricanes
#36 Purdue Boilermakers
#37 Alabama Crimson Tide
#38 St. Joseph’s Hawks
#39 Murray State Racers
#40 VCU Rams
#41 Davidson Wildcats
#42 Stanford Cardinal
#43 UMass Minutemen
#44 St. John’s Red Storm
#45 Butler Bulldogs
#46 Florida State Seminoles
#47 Drexel Dragons
#48 St. Louis Billikens
#49 West Virginia Mountaineers
#50 BYU Cougars
#51 Temple Owls
#52 Washington Huskies
#53 California Golden Bears
#54 Kansas State Wildcats
#55 Nevada Wolfpack
#56 Colorado Buffaloes
#57 Iowa State Cyclones
#58 Northern Iowa Panthers
#59 Colorado State Rams
#60 Iowa Hawkeyes
#61 South Florida Bulls
#62 Valparaiso Crusaders
#63 Illinois Fighting Illini
#64 Arkansas Razorbacks
#65 Wichita State Shockers
#66 George Mason Patriots
#67 Virginia Cavaliers
#68 Villanova Wildcats
#69 Maryland Terrapins
#70 Marshall Thundering Herd
#71 Iona Gaels
#72 Northwestern Wildcats
#73 Oklahoms State Cowboys
#74 Rutgers Scarlet Knights
#75 USC Trojans
#76 UConn Huskies
#77 Harvard Crimson
#78 Xavier Musketeers
#79 Ole Miss Rebels
#80 Clemson Tigers
#81 Oregon State Beavers
#82 Texas A&M Aggies
#83 Providence Friars
#84 Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets
#85 Oklahoma Sooners
#86 Lehigh Mountain Hawks
#87 Washington State Cougars
#88 Long Beach State 49ers
#89 Belmont Bruins
#90 Vanderbilt Commodores
#91 Dayton Flyers
#92 Houston Cougars
#93 UCF Knights
#94 Old Dominion Monarchs
#95 Oregon Ducks
#96 LSU Tigers
#97 South Carolina Gamecocks
#98 Seton Hall Pirates
#99 Georgia Bulldogs
#100 DePaul Blue Demons
#101 Boston College Eagles
#102 Penn State Nittany Lions
#103 Arizona State Sun Devils
#104 Virginia Tech Hokies
#105 Texas Tech Red Raiders
#106 Auburn Tigers
#107 Wake Forest Demon Deacons
#108 TCU Horned Frogs
#109 Mississippi State Bulldogs
#110 Utah Utes
#111 Nebraska Cornhuskers

David Kay is a senior feature NBA DraftNBA, and college basketball writer for the Sports Bank.  He also heads up the NBA and college basketball material at Walter Football.com and is a former contributor at The Washington Times Communities.  David has appeared on numerous national radio programs spanning from Cleveland to New Orleans to Honolulu.  He also had the most accurate 2011 NBA Mock Draft and the most accurate 2012 NBA Mock Draft on the internet (Yup, repeat champ… #humblebrag.)

You can follow him on Twitter at David_Kmiecik.

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