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Game Thread: Runnin' Utes Renew Rivalry with Runnin' Rebels

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Former conference foes come together tonight at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, Nev. No. 14 Utah enters the "neutral site" game 7-2.

Chris Nicoll-USA TODAY Sports

Utah is one of only six programs in Division I college sports to have two teams ranked in the Top 25 (Arizona, Louisville, Michigan State, Ohio State, and Wisconsin are the others), and they'll feature the other team, the No. 14-ranked Runnin' Utes (7-2) basketball team tonight taking on UNVL at 9:30 p.m. MT.

Tonight's game marks the first time, believe it or not, in Runnin' Rebels history that the UNLV basketball team will be playing on the Las Vegas Strip. It also marks the beginning of the toughest stretch in program history, as the Rebels will be playing against three Top 15 opponents (Utah, Arizona, and Kansas) in the next 16 days.

The MGM Grand Showcase also features No. 15 Oklahoma taking on the Pac-12's No. 16 Washington.

The Series:

Utah has dropped three in a row in the series, as well as a 20-point loss (58-78) in the Utes final game in the Mountain West Conference. UNLV leads the series with a two-game margin, 24-22.

The last time a nationally ranked Runnin' Utes team squared off against UNLV was 1995, 73-67 Utes win in the MWC basketball tournament.

It's What's Inside that Counts:

UNLV center is named Goodluck Okonoboh, a 6-10, 225-pound freshman, and he'll need good luck against one of the top centers in the West in Utah's 7-0, 235-pound Jakob Poeltl. Okonoboh averages 5.1 points and 5.9 rebounds per game, compared to Poeltl's 10.9 points and 9.4 rebounds per game. But the real danger for the Rebels comes if their center gets into foul trouble, as forward Christian Wood (6-11, 225) is the only UNLV player left over 6-foot-8.

Poll

Who wins tonight in the MGM Grand Garden Arena?

This poll is closed

  • 58%
    Utah blows out the home Rebels!
    (21 votes)
  • 41%
    Utah leaves Las Vegas with a close win.
    (15 votes)
  • 0%
    UNLV wins in a close one.
    (0 votes)
  • 0%
    The Rebels run away with this game "at home."
    (0 votes)
36 votes total Vote Now