Mike Moser, Chris Babb

A nagging groin injury puts UNLV forward Mike Moser’s ‘homecoming’ in doubt

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UNLV forward Mike Moser is one of the most versatile players in the country, but unfortunately for the junior from Portland he’s had to deal with a nagging groin injury since preseason camp.

In the second half of the Rebels’ 77-63 win over Hawaii on Saturday night Moser re-aggravated the injury, and it could very well rule him out of Tuesday’s tilt at Portland according to Taylor Bern of the Las Vegas Sun.

The game is supposed to be a homecoming of sorts for Moser, who is averaging 12.3 points and 9.2 rebounds per contest. His move to the three has required an adjustment of sorts, and Moser’s field goal percentage (39.1%) is some six points below the clip at which he shot in 2011-12 (45.0%).

With the groin injury bothering him and bigger games ahead of UNLV in the non-conference portion of their schedule (most notably their December 29 game at North Carolina) as well as in Mountain West play, this could be a good time to give Moser some rest if you’re head coach Dave Rice.

But the opportunity to play in front of friends and family make this a game that Moser won’t want to miss.

Moser has been working on the injury the entire season, leaving the practice court and heading straight for an ice bath. This may linger with Moser for the season, but it would be surprising if it forced him to miss an entire game, particularly next week, when UNLV is headed on its first road trip Tuesday for Moser’s homecoming game against Portland at 8 p.m. on ESPNU. Rice would probably have to fight Moser to keep him on the bench for that game considering Moser expects about 130 family and friends to attend.

Rice has multiple weapons at his disposal but there’s no glossing over the importance of Moser. With a game at California next Sunday on the horizon, will he make the move to rest his versatile forward?

UNLV’s bench is coming off of its most productive performance of the season, scoring 34 points with Savon Goodman (13 points, seven rebounds) and Quintrell Thomas (nine points, five rebounds) leading the way.

If Moser were unable to play the reserves (which also includes Justin Hawkins and Carlos Lopez-Sosa) would be able to state their case for more minutes not just now but when Khem Birch becomes eligible at the end of the semester.

With UNLV’s biggest battles yet to come, any extra rest they can get Moser would be a positive. It’s just a shame that a nagging injury may rob Moser of the opportunity to play a game in his hometown.

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

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.

 

PLAYER OF THE YEAR POWER RANKINGS: Buddy Hield isn’t going anywhere

Oklahoma guard Buddy Hield (24) drives to the basket as LSU guard Antonio Blakeney (2) defends in the first half of an NCAA college basketball game in Baton Rouge, La., Saturday, Jan. 30, 2016. (AP Photo/Bill Feig)
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It’s Tuesday, which means that it is once again time for the NBC Sports Player of the Year Power Rankings.

And you’ll be shocked to find out that Oklahoma guard Buddy Hield is still No. 1 in those rankings. By a pretty wide margin.

The rest of the top 10?

They can be found here, at the CBT FaceBook page. Follow that page for the countdown: