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Arizona - UNLV Preview: These Aren't Your Daddy's Running Rebels (That's A Good Thing)

Arizona finishes up their non-conference schedule with a trip to Las Vegas to take on the Rebels as the Cats look for their 40th straight regular season non-conference win.

Casey Sapio-USA TODAY Sports

The third-ranked Wildcats enter the Thomas & Mack Center looking to close out another undefeated non-conference schedule and win their second true road game of the season. As per usual, expect Arizona to see the Rebels A-game as teams generally feed off the crowd energy that comes along with hosting a highly ranked opponent on your home court. But as per usual, expect Arizona to be up to the challenge.

After getting tested and barely pulling out a win against a feisty UTEP squad, Arizona will need to stay sharp as UNLV has one of the most dangerous scorers in the country in Rashad Vaughn. But as dangerous as Vaughn can be, UNLV has really struggled to score in their previous three games against Pac-12 competition. The Rebels only managed to score 60 against Stanford, 55 against ASU and 46 against Utah and this downward trend bodes well for the suffocating defense of Arizona. ASU currently ranks 99th in defensive efficiency in the country and Stanford currently ranks 118th. I'm not a statistician by trade but by my calculations I deduce that UNLV will not score many points in this one.

The continued maturation of Stanley Johnson is going to be a theme all season-long for this team and proving that sometimes these players aren't so different from you and I, Stanley Johnson was just as interested to see how he would respond to his first true road test as the rest of us were. Considering the freshman led the way with 17 points,  six boards and four steals I would say he responded just fine and that he continues to look more assertive and confident on the floor each game.

With the first road game of the season jitters (and the first 'overrated' chants of the season) out the way, expect Arizona to have a more impressive outing in this one and hopefully to hit a reasonable percentage of free throws as well. The veteran presence of guys like T.J. McConnell, Brandon Ashley and Kaleb Tarczewski who have played in many hostile environments should help Arizona get a rare road win against UNLV.

To have your burning questions about UNLV answered, check out this Q&A with our friends from Mountain West Connection. I still recommend reading it even though he claims that Arizona is the most winnable game against a Pac-12 team that UNLV will play this season. Considering the Cats are coming in on a 39-game regular season non-conference win streak and are ranked #3 in the country, I have to assume English is not his first language and he didn't understand the question.


8:15 PM MST

Where to Watch

CBS Sports Network. Start searching now to make sure you get the channel. If you don't get CBS Sports Network, I recommend a last minute trip to Las Vegas.