Stew Morrill hasn't hid his grumbling about non-neutral tournament sites - pretty much ever. Even last March, before the Aggies joined the Mountain West, Morrill was saying he didn't think there was a good reason the conference tournament is played at Thomas and Mack Center.
He reiterated that belief Monday, teeing off on a question about whether experience playing on UNLV's homecourt could help the team prepare for the Mountain West tournament in two months.
"I'd rather just play the Mountain West Tournament on a neutral site. That will always grate on me. I don't think anyone would feel like experiencing the Spectrum would be a good deal if they had to come back here for the tournament."
The Mountain West contract with Thomas and Mack runs through 2016. For now, it doesn't seem that Morrill's complaints - which are shared by Steve Fisher, notably - will get much changed.
As reported earlier, Kyle Davis' status to play against the Runnin' Rebels is in a bit of doubt. That could open up a spot for freshman Jalen Moore to get a start on Wednesday night.
While the staff hasn't said for sure what might happen, Moore started the last time Davis was out against Pacific. Moore is averaging 6.6 points per game in about 17.6 minutes per game during conference play. He may be a bit slight - he checks in at 190 pounds - to bang with the likes of Roscoe Smith and Khem Birch in the frontcourt, but his teammates are behind him should he get called up.
"I feel confident about it," Spencer Butterfield said. "Jalen works his butt off. Anybody else who has to step up will be ready. Hopefully we don't have too much of a dropoff even though we're going to miss Kyle out there."
It was mentioned in the Tribune's game preview that freshman guard Viko Noma'aea knows Vegas well and grew up a UNLV fan. But he's also familiar with plenty of people on the roster.
Noma'aea played against Bryce Dejean-Jones, Kevin Olekaibe and Demetris Morant in high school, and said it's somewhat surreal to be playing against them at the next level. That hasn't taken him off the ball, however.
"More importantly," he said, "we're trying to push for this win."
See you tonight.
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