As a bitterly disappointing loss at New Mexico and a close call at home against Air Force showed, the 14-3 Rebels still aren’t hitting on all cylinders. There have been just a few games this year where you could see a hint of what things can look like when it all falls into place: Cal, Iowa State, UTEP and Northern Iowa.
Those were games that UNLV seemed to have a critical mass of players not only playing well, but doing so for most of the game.
It’s proven to be very hard to get all of these talented guys playing well at the same time. For one, there are not enough basketballs out there for each guy to score a lot of points, so they have to contribute in other ways — playing good defense, rebounding, running the floor to open up a spot for someone else.
When this team plays together, it’s scary how good it can be — and I think the challenge of the Mountain West schedule will bring that out. But with tough road games at San Diego State and Colorado State coming up, these Rebels will have to gel very fast.
Robert Smith, a star UNLV point guard from 1974-77, is part of the Rebel broadcast team on ESPN Radio 1100.