NCAA Basketball

Can No. 12 Nevada continue in-state dominance of UNLV?

Nevada has long played second fiddle to UNLV but that hasn't been the case in recent seasons.

The No. 12 Wolf Pack are clearly the state's top program heading into Wednesday's home matchup in Reno as they attempt to defeat the Rebels for the sixth time in the past seven meetings.

Nevada thumped the Rebels 87-70 in Las Vegas earlier this season and looks to complete the season sweep. The Wolf Pack (25-2, 12-2 Mountain West) also are looking to win their 17th straight home contest dating back to last season.

Nevada coach Eric Musselman is expecting a loud crowd when the Rebels come looking to post the upset.

"Bring your ear plugs if you don't like noise," Musselman said during a recent news conference. "I almost feel like the roof could come off on Wednesday. But the good thing is, for us, it's not going to be that much different.

"There wasn't a seat to be had the other night and a couple games before that."

The other night was Saturday's 74-68 win over Fresno State, a bounce-back performance that followed a 65-57 road loss at San Diego State last Wednesday.

Senior shooting guard Caleb Martin scored 24 points against Fresno State for his 15th 20-point outing of the season while senior power forward Jordan Caroline had 17 points after struggling to a season-low eight points on 3-of-12 shooting against San Diego State.

Musselman said Monday that Caroline is bothered by foot and ankle injuries. In addition, senior forward Cody Martin -- twin brother of Caleb -- has a bruised hip bone. Musselman expects both players to play against the Rebels.

Nevada dropped six places in the rankings due to its loss to San Diego State. After the victory over Fresno State, Musselman alluded to the high expectations and scrutiny the program is under this season.

"This stuff is really, really hard," Musselman told reporters. "To be 25-2, everybody starts writing and talking (after you lose a game). It's hard to win a game every night. We've got some banged-up bodies for sure. The last couple of games, we have a tired group."

UNLV (15-12, 9-6) is coming off a 60-59 loss at home to San Diego State after winning its previous three games.

The Rebels' ho-hum season has placed third-year coach Marvin Menzies on the hot seat and he isn't too happy about it.

"A non-issue," Menzies told reporters recently. "I know where I stand here with my athletic director, with my president. It can be a distraction because the players hear some of that stuff, so we talk about it with them and say, 'Hey guys, focus on us, focus on what's going on.'"

Senior guard Noah Robotham had his shooting focus in line as he matched his season high of five 3-pointers while scoring 18 points in Saturday's loss to the Aztecs.

"I got a lot of good looks," Robotham said afterward. "Once you're in a rhythm like that, it feels like you're in a workout. It was big for us because we were down ... and I think people around UNLV really love 3s, so it's important to make those."

Senior guard Kris Clyburn, who averages a team-best 13.3 points, scored 23 points in last month's loss to Nevada. Caleb Martin scored 26 points for the Wolf Pack in that game.

--Field Level Media

Updated February 27, 2019

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