(6) UNLV vs. (11) Colorado Preview
Senior NBA & College Basketball Editor
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(6) UNLV Rebels
Any concerns about how the Rebels would transition from Lon Kruger, who is now the head coach at Oklahoma, to first-year head coach Dave Rice have already been alleviated. Rice has guided the team to their third-straight tournament appearance. The team has really thrived in his system, which sees nine guys play 10 minutes or more. They’re led by UCLA castoffs Mike Moser and Chace Stanback. Moser, a sophomore averaging 14 points, 10 rebounds, two assists and nearly two steals, is one of the premier power forwards in the country and someone who NBA scouts will be watching closely. A victory out of conference against North Carolina proves that they can play with any team in the country. Overall, they were 7-5 against teams in the RPI Top 50. They shoot the three freely and push the tempo when the opportunity presents itself. As long as they defend well, they can string together some wins. They also have to make sure not to leave too many points at the free throw line, as they did in the regular season.
(11) Colorado Buffaloes
Although it doesn’t come with the same esteem that it used to, the Buffaloes are entering the NCAA Tournament as the Pac-12 tournament champs. Earning the guaranteed bid was the only way the Buffaloes were going to get into the tournament since the Pac-12 no longer warrants the several at-large bids like it used to. 2003 was the last time the Buffaloes were in the big dance. Their strength is in numbers as they have four different players averaging double figures, none more than 12. Sophomore forward Andre Roberson is their top prospect. He averaged a double-double on the year with 11 points and 11 rebound, while blocking nearly two shots a game. Carlon Brown, Austin Dufault and Spencer Dinwiddie deserve just as much attention because they can hurt you as well. Playing together is key for the Buffaloes, who are at their best attacking inside the arc rather than settling for shots outside of it. With a 6-5 record against the RPI Top 75, the Buffaloes are out to earn respect not only for themselves but their entire league.
HOOPSWORLD’s pick: UNLV. This is a game that could go either way. There’s NBA talent on both sides, but we give the Rebels the slight edge as they have more match ups they can take advantage of.
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