Mountain West Basketball Tournament - Quarterfinals Wyoming v UNLV

UNLV freshmen Daquan Cook and Demetris Morant will be redshirted

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With the amount of talent at Dave Rice’s disposal this season, there were questions as to who would either lose minutes or have to redshirt with an eye towards the future at UNLV.

Those decisions have been made apparently, as the Las Vegas Sun reported on Saturday that freshmen Daquan Cook and Demetris Morant will sit out the 2012-13 campaign.

While this leaves UNLV with nine scholarship players until Pittsburgh transfer Khem Birch becomes eligible at the end of the fall semester, both Cook and Morant were in positions where they’ll see a lot more playing time in the future than they would have this season.

Morant, with the logjam in the paint that includes veterans (Carlos Lopez-Sosa, Mike Moser, Quintrell Thomas) and newcomers (Birch, Anthony Bennett and combo Savon Goodman), was a player pegged by many to be a candidate to sit out this season so that isn’t much of a surprise.

But Cook’s decision could be seen as such, given the fact that the Runnin’ Rebels are lacking when it comes to depth at the point. Anthony Marshall will run the show there, and it was possible that Cook would have been able to help UNLV in regards to getting their senior an occasional breather.

“That was a hard decision to make because Daquan has improved as much as anyone since he got here,” Rice said. “He would play minutes for us this year, but he’ll play more minutes as a fifth-year senior than a freshman. … He needs to get older and stronger; everything else will come.”

Redshirt situations can change, but it will likely take a significant injury to a perimeter player for Cook play this season.

With the Baltimore native being just 17 years old, the extra year to practice and mature physically will be a valuable one. However as a result of the move UNLV fans may have to watch a few games with their fingers crossed, hoping that none of the team’s guards are lost for an extended length of time due to injury.

Raphielle also writes for the NBE Basketball Report and can be followed on Twitter at @raphiellej. 

BUBBLE BANTER: All of the action on the fringe of the NCAA tournament

Fred VanVleet
(AP Photo/Nati Harnik)
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Tonight’s bubble action. This post will be updated as the games are completed.

Cincinnati at UCF, 7:00 p.m.
Pitt at No. 12 Miami, 7:00 p.m.
No. 25 Wichita State at Drake, 8:00 p.m.
Ole Miss at Florida, 9:00 p.m.
Georgia at No. 22 Kentucky, 9:00 p.m.
Arkansas at Mississippi State, 9:00 p.m.

PREGAME SHOOTAROUND: A Big 12 and a Big Ten showdown

Denzel Valentine
(AP Photo/Al Goldis)
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GAME OF THE NIGHT: No. 10 West Virginia at No. 6 Kansas, 7:00 p.m.

The last time these two teams got together, West Virginia actually knocked off Kansas in Morgantown. It was the third time in the last three seasons that WVU has beaten KU at home. So there’s some revenge at stake here. But there’s also the whole Big 12 title race, which West Virginia currently leads. If the Mountaineers win tonight, they’ll be up by two games on Kansas with the tie breaker and just seven games left to play. The Jayhawks regular season title streak could be over if that happens.

THIS ONE’S GOOD, TOO: No. 8 Michigan State at No. 18 Purdue, 7:00 p.m.

We think the Spartans are back to their early season form after wins over Maryland (at home), Northwestern, Rutgers and Michigan. If Michigan State really wants to prove something to the college basketball world, they will go into West Lafayette tonight and get a win. Denzel Valentine vs. Raphael Davis will be fun.

FIVE THINGS TO WATCH FOR

  1. Pitt will pay a visit to No. 12 Miami in a game the Panthers could really use a win in. Pitt hasn’t been the most consistent team in the country and without adding a few quality wins they could be looking at the bubble.
  2. Duquesne will be paying a visit to No. 19 Dayton, who moved into a tie for first place in the Atlantic 10 thanks to VCU’s loss on Saturday.
  3. Georgia is right there on the bubble, and they will have a chance to try and push themselves into a better spot when they play at No. 22 Kentucky tonight.
  4. Creighton probably has to win out to have a shot of making the NCAA tournament, and that includes tonight, when they host No. 5 Xavier.
  5. No. 7 Virginia will be hosting Virginia Tech, who picked off the Wahoos in Blacksburg earlier this year.

THE REST OF THE TOP 25

  • No. 1 Villanova at DePaul, 8:30 p.m.
  • No. 25 Wichita State at Drake, 8:00 p.m.