99 in 99: #44 UNLV Rebels

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UNLV was supposed to return their top eight scorers from last season and be a Top 25 caliber team this season.  However, off-the-court issues and a season-ending injury have slightly cooled off the hype surrounding the Rebels this season.  Still, they should be bound for the NCAA Tournament for a second straight year.

The Sports Bank’s “99 in 99” ranks the 72 power conference college basketball teams and top 27 mid-majors.  Our countdown will lead right up to the start of the season and provide you will all the in-depth information about the top teams in the game.  Click here if you missed #45-#99.

By: David Kay

UNLV Rebels (T-3rd, 11-5 in MWC, 25-9 overall)

Projected Depth Chart

F/C: Brice Massamba (Jr)/Carlos Lopez (Fr)
F: Chace Stanback (Jr)/Quintrell Thomas (So)
G: Tre’Von Willis (Sr)/Karam Mashour (Fr)
G: Derrick Jasper (Sr)/Anthony Marshall (So)
PG: Oscar Bellfield (Jr)/Justin Hawkins (So)/Kendall Wallace (Sr-out for season torn ACL)

Gone: PG-Steve Jones, F-Darris Santee, F/C-Matt Shaw (tested positive for banned substance)

2010-2011 Outlook:
When the 2009-2010 season ended, UNLV looked poised to be a stacked team as their top eight scorers were all supposed to return.  A season-ending injury to the team’s top three-point shooter, Kendall Wallace, and forward Matt Shaw was ruled ineligible for his senior season after testing positive for a banned NCAA substance.

Still, the Runnin’ Rebels bring back a lot of talent including leading scorer Tre’Von Willis who will sit the first three games of the season after pleading no contest to a misdemeanor stemming from a women’s claim that he attacked her.  Willis will form a backcourt trio with the versatile Derrick Jasper and returning point guard Oscar Bellfield.  Even with the loss of Wallace, UNLV has two quality back-up guards in Anthony Marshall and Justin Hawkins who both saw decent bench minutes as freshman.

Former UCLA transfer Chace Stanback was extremely productive in his first season in Sin City and will anchor the frontcourt.  6-10 Brice Massamba started sixteen games at center and should return to that role.  Kansas transfer Quintrell Thomas becomes eligible after sitting out last year and should provide some muscle inside.  6-11 Freshman Carlos Lopez probably needs a year or two before he can contribute, but frosh wing Karam Mashour should find his way into Lon Krueger’s rotation.

The Rebels figure to be in a four-team battle in the Mountain West with BYU, New Mexico, and San Diego State.  All four teams could easily make the tourney for a second straight year which would only help the image of the MWC.

Tre'Von Willis UNLV

Player to Watch: Tre’Von Willis, G
The former Memphis transfer is a talented all-around scorer and was second to only BYU’s Jimmer Fredette in points per game last season in the Mountain West.  He is also an effective defender on the perimeter.  Missing the first three games of the season will not be a major issue since two them are exhibition games and the other is against UC-Riverside.

Key Non-Conference Games:

11/20 vs. Wisconsin
11/25 vs. Tulsa (76 Classic)
11/26 vs. Murray State/Stanford (76 Classic)
11/28 vs. Virginia Tech/CS-Northridge/Oklahoma State/DePaul (76 Classic)
12/11 at Louisville
12/21 at Kansas State

Other 99 in 99’s:
#45 Seton Hall
#46 Wichita State
#47 Washington State
#48 St. Louis
#49 Old Dominion
#50 Minnesota
#51 New Mexico
#52 UConn
#53 Northwestern
#54 UCLA
#55 Southern Mississippi
#56 St. Mary’s
#57 Texas A&M
#58 Louisville
#59 Arizona State
#60 Northern Iowa
#61 Creighton
#62 Clemson
#63 Cincinnati
#64 Texas Tech
#65 Miami, FL
#66 Charlotte
#67 UTEP
#68 Ole Miss
#69 George Mason
#70 Colorado
#71 Weber State
#72 Alabama
#73 Bradley
#74 Central Florida
#75 Wake Forest
#76 Georgia Tech
#77 USC
#78 Oklahoma State
#79 Cal
#80 Oklahoma
#81 Virginia
#82 South Carolina
#83 Indiana
#84 Stanford
#85 Oregon
#86 Penn State
#87 South Florida
#88 Arkansas
#89 Boston College
#90 LSU
#91 Providence
#92 Michigan
#93 Oregon State
#94. Nebraska
#95. Auburn
#96. DePaul
#97. Iowa State
#98. Rutgers
#99. Iowa

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