The worst losses of the T.J. Otzelberger era at UNLV

UNLV laid a dud at home Wednesday night losing to Fresno State.

In his first season, T.J. Otzelberger did a solid job of avoiding losses to bad teams. UNLV went 6-0 against teams ranked outside the top 200 in Ken Pom. 

For context Marvin Menzies’ final season included three losses to teams outside the top 200 in 13 tries.

But now the Rebels have started racking up bad losses to bad teams. Fresno State is now ranked 206th by Ken Pom. 

So here are the worst losses of the last two seasons. 

5) at Cal | 2019-20 | Ken Pom rank: 153

Final Score: Cal 79, UNLV 75 (OT)

It was the third game of the T.J. Otzelbrger era. And UNLV had 65-56 lead with six minutes to play. But Cal closed regulation on an 11-2 run. Then scored the first 5 points of overtime to seal a win. 

4) Texas State | 2019-20 | Ken Pom rank: 93

Final Score: Texas State 64, UNLV 57

Texas State ended up being a solid team last year, but the loss was still crushing for UNLV. The Rebels took a two point lead with just over nine minutes to play then watched the game slip away during a 16-2 Texas State run. 

3) Fresno State | 2020-21 | Ken Pom rank: 206

Final Score: Fresno State 67, UNLV 64

This year, UNLV continues to play close games. But they usually beat the bad teams (Air Force, New Mexico, San Jose State). This one was different. Despite a 7-0 run by Bryce Hamilton to take the lead with under two minutes, UNLV’s offense collapsed in the final 90 seconds. 

2) Pacific | 2019-20 | Ken Pom rank: 120

Final Score: Pacific 74, UNLV 66

Similar to the Texas State loss, UNLV was in a close game throughout until the end. Pacific used a 13-2 run to grow their lead to 12 in the final minutes. But this game could have been number one, as it was the cause of Otzelberger’s mass benching of starters in the Rebels next game against Robert Morris. 

1) Montana State | 2020-21 | Ken Pom rank: 208

Final Score: Montana State 91, UNLV 78

But the worst game is the one that kicked off year two. Bryce Hamilton and David Jenkins were going to be a dominant duo. The Rebels were going to head to Maui shortly after to prove their worth nationally. 

They got blown out by Montana State, trailing by 18 at halftime it was never a game. But it was the perfect foreshadowing for this season.

4 thoughts on “The worst losses of the T.J. Otzelberger era at UNLV

  1. Every year I take off work for NCAA tourney weekend 1st rounds. I wear my UNLV apparel proudly. I’m glad covid is killing most casino parties. I don’t want to be laughed at with my UNLV hat on. This offense is tough to watch. The whole team is playing out of position except for Diong. This is not runnin rebel basketball. There is a small number of passionate true fanbase left. The transplants will never care. Can’t really blame the kids. Grown up decisions are to blame

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