Rebels picked to finish second in MWC poll

DENVER – Lon Kruger's UNLV men's basketball squad was picked to finish second in the Mountain West Conference preseason media poll released on Wednesday. But before Rebel fans put much if any credence into the prediction, think back to last year at this time.

UNLV, which compiled a 30-7 record and advanced to the Sweet Sixteen for the first time since 1991, was picked to finish just sixth in the 2006 MWC preseason poll.

Despite the rather lofty projection for a team that loses five key seniors and returns just one starter, Rebel senior guard Curtis Terry wasn't satisfied.

"We think we that we have the talent and the confidence to win the league and win a lot of games and get back into the NCAA Tournament," Terry, who along with Kruger represented the Rebels at MWC basketball media day here, said. "We're not trying to be cocky or toot our own horn or anything. But we believe that with the talent that we have and the experience that we gained last year in the tournament is going to help us and be in our favor. And we're going to take that and just roll with it."

UNLV's surprising NCAA run last season, with included an upset of No. 2 seeded Wisconsin in the Midwest Regional in Chicago, certainly didn't go unnoticed by the rest of the teams in the MWC.

"The big thing I've heard around here from a lot of the guys who were picked in the middle of the pack is that can still have a chance and they can still make it to the Sweet Sixteen like we did," Terry said. "So everybody is going to try and mimic and model after what we did last year. A preseason poll is just that … preseason. No games have been played yet, and nothing is going to be decided until we get into March and the conference tournament."

BYU, the 2007 MWC regular season champion, was picked to repeat in the poll. The Cougars (181 points) received 15 of 20 first place votes followed by UNLV (146, 2), Utah (142, 2), New Mexico (128, 2), San Diego State (128, 1), Wyoming (120), TCU (58), Air Force (54) and Colorado State (33).

Adams was one of five players picked to the preseason all-conference squad along with BYU C/F Trent Plaisted, New Mexico guard J.R. Giddens, Utah center Luke Nevill and Wyoming guard Brandon Ewing.

Ewing was also picked as the league's top returning player. San Diego State junior forward Ryan Amoroso, a transfer from Marquette, was named the league's top newcomer while BYU's Jimmer Fredette was selected as the top freshman.

UNLV's women's basketball squad, which finished sixth a year ago, was picked to finish sixth again. Wyoming was picked to finish first. No Lady Rebels were picked to the all-conference squad.

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