Tonight the Utes look to get back on the winning end with a game against the UNLV Rebels. Utah, coming off a blowout loss to Air Force Wednesday night, lost to the Rebels in double OT last month. Utah actually played a decent game then, but that was far before their collapse and I'm guessing with nothing left to play for, their effort will be less than inspiring.
UNLV is 21-6 and 8-4 in Mountain West play this season and are coming off a 52-67 loss to San Diego State Tuesday night, but own a 6-5 road record altogether. The Utes are 7-5 at home this season, one of their poorest home records in modern team history. Utah is currently tied for 6th place in the conference and are on the verge of having their second straight losing season in over 30 years.
The Rebels average 75 points per game on 44% shooting and they only shoot 34% behind the arc, but with Utah's poor defense, that may not be a problem. Senior forward Wendell White is the team's leading scorer and rebounder with 16 points and 7 rebounds per game. Kevin Kruger -- the son of head coach Lon Kruger -- is the team's biggest three point threat, shooting 33% from behind the arc.
Utah hasn't really had a good game since defeating Air Force a month ago. Even though they own wins over Wyoming, TCU and CSU, they were anything but impressive. Since that game against the Falcons, Utah has had trouble even competing with average to decent teams. San Diego State used a huge run in the second half to erase a double digit Utah lead, winning by 10. BYU cruised to a dominate win over Utah and Air Force gave the Utes one of their worst losses in Mountain West Conference history. Tonight against UNLV I expect pretty much the status quo from Giacoletti. Utah will keep it close for a while, then an inevitable run will completely take them out of the game and the Rebels will coast to a victory. The Utes will be left with their second straight loss and no chance of having a winning conference record.
After tonight's game the Utes will most likely only have 5 games left before the season comes to an end. That means we're less than a month away from Giacoletti getting canned (or so we hope, anyway). It's like counting down the days until Christmas. Oh boy, I can't wait!