Is it really a rivalry if the players have never played against each other?
UNLV and Nevada will meet Sunday and Tuesday in Reno. While the fanbases are familiar with hating each other, the actual players have rarely squared off head to head.
Mbacke Diong is the most experienced Rebel in this rivalry. Diong has faced off with Nevada six times in his career (he missed the Mountain West Tournament matchup in 2018). But Diong has never topped 10 points in a matchup with the Wolf Pack.
Bryce Hamilton is the most accomplished Rebel in this rivalry. He posted 49 points in two games last season. But Hamilton has never beaten the Wolf Pack, as UNLV is 0-4 in the rivalry in his two seasons.
With Marvin Coleman out due to injury, the only other Rebel to have faced Nevada is David Jenkins in a South Dakota State loss in 2018-19. Nevada held Jenkins to 5 points, his lowest of the season.
Somehow, Nevada’s roster has even less experience in this rivalry. Zane Meeks, KJ Hymes, Kane Milling and Robby Robinson have appeared in two games each. But that is the end of Nevada’s roster having experience against UNLV.
Plus all four of those players combined for 23 total points in last year’s two games. None of them ever reached double figures. Which will make Bryce Hamilton the only player on the floor Sunday to have eclipsed 10 points in this matchup.
The never ending turnover of college basketball rosters makes faces unfamiliar in even the fiercest rivalries. Any hatred on the court between UNLV and Nevada will likely have been born that day.