No offense to Northern Arizona or Jacksonville State (or Dixie State, for that matter), but No. 18 UNLV will get its first big test this weekend with back-to-back games against quality Division I opponents.
It starts with Oregon on Friday night, and the Rebels are preparing to play faster than they have all season. Like UNLV, the Ducks prefer to push the pace — and you know a Dave Rice-coached team will never back down from a track meet.
The Rebels went through a light practice on Tuesday, with most of the session dedicated to getting familiar with Oregon’s sets. Most of the action took place at walk-through speed, but expect that to change drastically when the two teams take the court on Saturday night.
“They’re a team that likes to get up and down also,” said Anthony Marshall. “They have some very quick guards, so they like to push the ball in transition. If they come in here and try to do that, that’s how we like to play, so I would guess it’s going to be an up-and-down game.”
The Rebels used their scout team to simulate Oregon sets at Tuesday’s practice, with particular attention on a full-court zone press that the Ducks like to use in an attempt to slow down their opponents in the backcourt.
Oregon has legit speed and quickness in guards Dominic Artis (a 2012 Findlay Prep grad) and Damyean Dotson, but the Ducks will also be the biggest team the Rebels have faced. UNLV has dominated the glass in its first two contests against undersized opponents, so continuing that effort will be essential.
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