Dec 5, 2011, 12:05 PM EDT
Starting 8-0 and beating the No. 1 team ensured UNLV opened its season with a splash.
It also painted a big fat target on their backs.
Just days after escaping with a double-overtime win at Santa Barabara, the Rebels were dusted by Wichita State on Sunday afternoon, 89-70. Not that UNLV coach Dave Rice will miss out on a teaching point with his team.
“It’s really important for us to learn that part of the responsibility that goes with starting out 8-0 and being ranked is that we’re going to get everyone’s best shot,” Rice told the Las Vegas Sun. “And we certainly got that today.”
No joke. Shockers guard Joe Ragland torched UNLV’s defense, hitting eight 3-pointers and scoring a career-high 31 points. The Rebels’ offense wasn’t much better at times, going nearly eight minutes without a made basket. By halftime, the game was a rout.
“Our guys were beating them (off the dribble), and they had to help,” Ragland said. “That kept leaving me wide open.”
The result? Wichita State scored nearly 1.5 points a possession, by far the worst of UNLV’s season and a number not seen since TCU scored 1.49 PPP in 2008. (Yes, TCU. Yes, I also was surprised.)
Not that UNLV’s defense will be its calling card this season. This team’s about running, scoring and scoring some more. The offense eventually clicked vs. WSU and produced at its normal output for the season. Super rebounder Mike Moser didn’t put up eye-popping numbers, but he grabbed boards at close to the same rate. (The problem was the Shockers didn’t miss.)
But that defense? That tempo? Neither worked Sunday. That’s bad news for the Rebels, too. A trip to slow-it-down specialist Wisconsin is Saturday.
You also can follow me on Twitter @MikeMillerNBC.
- Coach K: ACC will be ‘best conference in the history of the game’ 2
- Bringing in ex-Gator Cody Larson worth the risk South Dakota State 0
- FBI: San Diego point-shaving scandal netted ‘more than $120,000′ 2
- Pressure mounting on Texas head coach Rick Barnes? 0
- Former Memphis forward Tarik Black will spend senior year at Kansas 2
- Report: Baylor coach told Griner not to talk about her sexuality (13)
- Report: Kevin Stallings blocks Sheldon Jeter’s transfer to Pitt (5)
- Kentucky phenoms choose 2013-14 preparation over other possibilities (4)
- Duke signee Semi Ojeleye named Parade Magazine Player of the Year (3)
- Steven Pearl, BBQ jokes and a Tennessee radio ad (3)
- Watch LIVE: Sharks-Kings, Game 5
- PHT: Wings push Hawks to brink of elimination
- PHT: Kreider keeps Rangers alive | Highlights
- PBT: Hibbert says Battier's knee to groin intentional
- OlyTalk: Lochte says Phelps will return soon
- CSN: Francona returns to Boston | Legacy?
- Posnanski: Hornets more than a name to Charlotte