LAS VEGAS, NV - MARCH 09: Oscar Bellfield #0 of the UNLV Rebels walks back to his bench late in the team's 72-67 loss to the New Mexico Lobos in a semifinal game of the Conoco Mountain West Conference Basketball tournament at the Thomas & Mack Center March 9, 2012 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)
This Thursday the UNLV Runnin' Rebels will be taking on the Colorado Buffaloes in Albuquerque, New Mexico in Colorado's first tournament appearance since 2003. UNLV is led by two excellent transfers from UCLA, Chace Stanback and Mike Moser. The Rebels also have Oscar Bellfield, an unselfish guard, who thrives in the open floor as well as Anthony Marshall, another player who likes to get out and run. Although they struggled down the stretch, UNLV is a very well-rounded team that can make you look lost at both ends of the floor and is arguably the toughest matchup the Buffaloes will have all year. A look at how Colorado can limit UNLV on offense after the jump...UNLV's Style of Play: Offensively, UNLV has a very similar style to Colorado. They like to push the ball in transition every moment they can and they have offensive sets, yet the players do most of the creating. UNLV likes to drive and kick and tire the defense with dribble penetration. At times they struggle in the half-court, however they combat that with their unselfishness and size. UNLV can also shoot the lights out; they are shooting 46% from the field this year and 37% from the three point line.
Key Players to Stop: Mike Moser - Moser is an incredible rebounder and a force down low. He can take players off the dribble and defend with the best of them. He is averaging 14 points and 10 rebounds and is an above average free throw shooter. Andre Roberson will most likely start on Moser. The key for Roberson will be not getting in foul trouble and forcing Moser to shoot low percentage shots. Also, when Moser tries to post up, if Roberson cannot front him, he needs to make Moser catch the ball as far out as possible.
Chace Stanback - Stanback is a 6'8" shooter. He is shooting 46% from beyond the arc on the season. For his size, he is only averaging 4.5 rebounds, so he stays out of the paint. Carlon Brown should start on Stanback. Brown is a good defender when he wants to be and the key for Brown will be to stay right on Stanback. He should chase Stanback through screens away from the ball and not let Stanback get any separation. If Brown or whoever guards Stanback can do that, his production will be limited.
Brice Massamba - Out of all the players in UNLV's starting lineup, Massamba is the one that could cause the most matchup problems. Massamba is 6'10", 245 lbs, and is an athletic big man. Based on how Colorado has fared all season long on defense down low, it just seems like Dufault and Harris-Tunks will have a hard time limiting second chances for UNLV when Massamba is in the game.
Final Word: The most important thing for the Buffaloes to do is to keep the Rebels from getting out on the fast break. If they can do this, they will force UNLV to play a half-court style that would limit open threes and let the Buffaloes be more physical on defense.