Polls need to notice UNLV

Jan 2, 2007 5:09 AM

Let’s make the case for UNLV being part of the AP Top 25.

The Running Rebels ruined Bob Knight’s record setting night at Texas Tech, then went on to Houston and knocked off the Cougars.

Head coach Lon Kruger has built a 13-2 team with great defense and timely 3-point shooting. UNLV handed Nevada (12-1) it’s only loss and the Wolf Pack responded by knocking off Gonzaga this past weekend.

We’re down to three unbeaten teams — UCLA, Clemson and the Oregon Ducks. For sure, it will be down to at least two next week when UCLA travels to Oregon to face the Ducks.

Right behind are Cal, Oregon State and Arizona State and Stanford. That’s 10, meaning no weak links in this league. This will be the best year ever in the Pac 10 for quality basketball from top to bottom.

You hear enough about the ACC, Big East and all the rest. About time some love is given to West Coast hoops.

Ohio State’s monster center Greg Oden is not likely to play more than a season for the Buckeyes. He is likely the No. 1 pick in the NBA draft. He would sure look good for the Philadelphia 76ers if they can get him.

WEDNESDAY

Clemson at FSU: The Tigers are off to their best start in some 20 years, but finally have a tough game not at a neutral court. FSU beat Florida by 4 in Tallahassee and is off a 30-point win over Providence. FLORIDA ST.

Utah at UNLV: Hopefully, the Vegas fans will fill the Thomas & Mack because Kruger’s kids are rapidly becoming one of the top stories this season. This should be a dilly. UNLV.

Villanova at W. Virginia: The Mountaineers come off a big home win against UConn. It’s tough to come right back and repeat the effort. The visiting Wildcats may come out of Morgantown with the win. VILLANOVA.

THURSDAY

USC at Oregon: You’ve just got to believe the Ducks are thinking UCLA in two days. Great spot for the Trojans, who were able to knock off Wichita State and Washington last week. USC.

Arizona at Washington: No team in the country can put runs together like the Wildcats. If Lute’s crew can do it in Spokane, they should get the win. ARIZONA.

Arizona St at Washington: I have the feeling it will be especially tough to beat any Pac 10 team on its home court. The Sun Devils have a tough task. WASHINGTON.

SATURDAY

Ohio State at Illinois: The more Oden plays, the better Ohio State is going to get. Throw the Florida result out. By the end of the year, nobody is going to want to face this team. Illinois is not as strong as in past seasons. OHIO ST.

UCLA at Oregon: The Bruins were finally tested this past weekend against Washington State, winning by just three at Pauley. Nevada was pointing all year for Gonzaga and won. Same situation here for the Ducks. OREGON.

Georgia Tech at Clemson: Tech is a rising team, but very young. The Jackets are 6-3 ATS, but 0-2 on the road. The Tigers are 3-5 ATS at Littlejohn, but they have won and covered their last two. This is an ACC game, so expect a full effort. CLEMSON.

UNLV at Air Force: The Rebs had won nine in a row and were 7-1 ATS in the last eight board games. This figures to be their toughest matchup, with the altitude and the fact Air Force also plays that down scale, half-court game. The Falcons had also won nine straight and were on a 4-0 ATS run. Could be a low 50s score. AIR FORCE.

Minnesota at Wisconsin: The Badgers were ranked No. 4 and are legit. This is not just a defense team anymore. They can run the court and put up the points. Minnesota is 0-3 straight-up on the road and will be hard-pressed to stay close in Madison. WISCONSIN.