Nevada Sophomore Guard Marqueze Coleman
Returning to the court Wednesday will be the sophomore Coleman. During
his absence, the Wolf Pack had to tighten up the rotation, have star
point guard Deonte Burton play almost every single minute of every
game, and go to playing only seven guys in most games. With Coleman
back the bench scoring should improve, which was lacking during his
absence, and Burton should get a few valuable minutes of rest. Coleman,
before having eye surgery, was averaging 8.2 points and 3.2 rebounds a
game, often playing point guard and letting Burton handle the shooting
guard responsibilities. For Coleman, a return against the Rebels can be
good or bad. If Coleman comes out rusty and out of shape, he might
negatively affect the team in arguably their best game of the year. But
if Coleman can play his game, which is to attack the rim and finish
near the rim, and give Burton a few minutes of rest, his immediate
return will be a success. To upset the Rebels Coleman will likely have
to approach double digits in scoring and not turn the ball over.
UNLV Junior Forward Roscoe Smith
Who does Nevada defensive stopper A.J. West guard for a majority of the
game? Nevada is going to have to pick their poison by having West guard
either Pitt transfer Khem Birch or Connecticut transfer Smith, which
would leave a mismatch with the other Rebel. West will likely start on
Birch, which leaves undersized Wolf Pack forward Cole Huff with Smith
defensive duties. Huff is not an elite defender but he will have his
plate full with the Rebel's leading rebounder and second leading
scorer. The key to stopping Smith, who did not play last season due to
transfer rules, will be keeping him off the offensive glass where he
averages nearly four a game. Like Larry Nance Jr. of Wyoming, the key
to stopping Smith is to make him uncomfortable in the paint, where he
is very efficient, and allow him to take jump shots, where he is
inefficient. The Rebels have been an impressive +5.5 in rebound margin
on the year, and Smith is a big reason why.
UNLV Senior Guard Kevin Olekaibe
Nevada basketball fans are familiar with Olekaibe, but may be confused
on the team. Olekaibe used to play for the Fresno State Bulldogs in the
WAC and even for their first year in the MWC and would absolutely light
up the Wolf Pack on the scoreboard. After being granted a hardship
waiver by the NCAA, Olekaibe was allowed to transfer to UNLV to be
closer to home and was able to play right away. While Olekaibe is not
the best guard or most important guard on the team, that title goes to
junior Bryce Dejean-Jones, Olekaibe has the history and style of play
to give Nevada trouble in their first meeting of the year with the
Rebels. Olekaibe shoots seven threes a game and knocks them down at
36.5%. So while averaging 10.9 points per game this year, if Olekaibe
gets hot, he is hard to stop in stretches. It will be up to junior
Michael Perez and sophomore Marqueze Coleman to slow him down.
Nevada is hot right now. UNLV, coming off a loss to Air Force, is cold.
The seniors for the Wolf Pack have said beating UNLV, which they have
yet to do, is one of their biggest goals of the year. Like the Rebels
must have felt in football, if not now then when? On the year Nevada is
averaging 74.8 points per game, while UNLV is averaging 74.9, so this
game should be close.
Nevada 72 UNLV 70
Around the Rim: Nevada at UNLV Preview
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