As the Rebels head into the Mountain West Conference tournament at 25-7, many fans are still wondering what was behind their sluggish finish to the regular season, which included road losses to Wyoming, TCU, New Mexico and Colorado State—often complete with strange second-half collapses.
From what I’ve seen, it’s a few things. For one, the fatigue factor is starting to set in, and that’s why some of the players are getting injured from game to game. As I watch the guys warm up before games some of them don’t have the bounce in their legs like they had a few games ago. At this stage of the season it’s important to get a good warmup as long as you don’t overdo it; save the dunking for the game.
It’s also a good idea to shoot more free throws before the game to get a better feel from the line. As a team, the Rebs are shooting less than 70 percent from the charity stripe. It’s very hard to win on the road if you’re not making them.
Just as importantly, UNLV can’t afford to give other teams more than 10 offensive rebounds in any game. All season, the defense has stopped teams when it needed to, but lately it has broken down at key times. On the offensive end, the Rebels have to be consistent in the second half of each game; they haven’t been able to put two good halves together.
I honestly feel that the Rebels have the best talent in the Mountain West, but in order to win the tournament, they’ve got to get that chemistry flowing again. Great teams rise to the occasion in March—this is the Rebels’ chance to prove they’re still the best in the West.