by Shawn Cunningham ( @vegasrebelfan )
A quick look at the numbers for the Runnin’ Rebels in the 15-year history of the Mountain West Championship tourney are a mixed bag. While the Rebels boast the all-time best winning percentage in the event (20-8), they have only actually cut down the nets three times – last in 2008. Overall there are several long-term trends the Rebels will have to shake up in order to pull out a magical run to a league title (and the NCAA tournament).
- – UNLV’s 8 championship game appearances (most recently 2013) are the most among any prior or current member of the Mountain West.
- – UNLV has never won a MW tournament seeded lower than 2nd.
- – Good news for optimists – the Rebels have only lost once in the Mountain West quarter-finals. Bad news is that was in 2009 – UNLV’s last NIT year.
- – The Runnin’ Rebels have defeated BYU in the title game in all three of their victories (2000, 2007, 2008).
- – The Rebels last won the MWC championship in 2008, behind an upset of top-seeded BYU and tournament MVP Wink Adams
- – UNLV has actually lost a remarkable seven consecutive tournaments of any kind held at the Thomas & Mack Center. Those include the last five MWC tournaments and the 2008 and 2012 Global Sports Classic Thanksgiving events. Ironically, the Rebels have won the last two tournaments held four miles away at Orleans Arena – over a No. 1-ranked North Carolina and Mississippi State.
- – UNLV has upset a higher seed in the tournament semi-finals in 2 of the last 4 years, but fell in the title game both times.
- – UNLV is undefeated against Wyoming in this event, and has lost to the Cowboys only twice ever at the Thomas & Mack Center.