Make Your Case: UNLV Runnin’ RebelsPosted by jstevrtc on March 9th, 2010
As part of our ongoing quest to provide you with the best college basketball coverage in the nation, we have enlisted the help of some of the finest team-specific bloggers, campus newspaper scribes, and beat writers on the planet to help us. With the NCAA Selection Show coming up on March 14th there are still several teams on the proverbial “bubble.” We figured it might be interesting to see what kind of nonpartisan arguments these folks could make for their team deserving a spot in the NCAA Tournament. We welcome any discussion of their arguments and praise or criticism of their reasoning in the comment section. If your team is on the bubble and you would like to submit something, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Sage Sammons of the UNLV Rebel Yell now makes the case for the Runnin’ Rebels:
The UNLV Runnin’ Rebels should not be a bubble team. They have earned an at-large bid with what they’ve accomplished this season.
The only reason they are on they bubble is typically elite teams, such as Arizona and Louisville, have had a down year. In November, the polls were voting for the Rebels in the rankings for beating the Cardinals and Wildcats, within a week of each other.
Another reason they need to be locked in is the number of wins over top 25 teams, such as New Mexico in Albuquerque and BYU in Las Vegas. Both of those teams are are locks for the NCAA, and because of the lack of quality at-large teams, they will get good seeds. Wins over a possible two and four seed, one of those being away from home, should be good enough to guarantee the Rebels a spot.
But I do see the flip side.
Two losses to Utah, a team with a RPI of 150, really brings into question the Rebels’ chances as a tournament team. If you look at the other losses on their resume, all but one team should be a tournament team, and that’s USC, who will miss for their self-regulatory reasons. Losses to possible #1-seed Kansas State, BYU in Provo and New Mexico in Las Vegas shouldn’t count as blemishes on UNLV’s resume. A loss to San Diego State in San Diego is questionable, but the Aztecs have been one of the hottest teams at the end of this season, and they deserve a spot as well. In whole, of the Rebels’ seven losses, four are against tournament teams and three are against what should be top-four-seeded teams.
To get off the bubble, a team just needs to win. As the season has wound down UNLV have done just that. It may have been against the weaker end of the Mountain West Conference, but they have won big. Come MWC tournament time, they just need to do the same thing. I believe they will, as a three seed, win the MWC tournament and this talk of them being a bubble team will be popped.