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Mike Moser will be the X-factor for UNLV

There is a fair amount of hype for UNLV’s basketball team heading into this season, and deservedly so.

The Rebels bring back all but two of their rotation players to a team that made the NCAA Tournament last season. Potential MWC POY Chace Stanback returns for his senior year, as does a litany of back court options and three legitimate contenders to start at the center spot.

The x-factor on this team, however, is going to be Mike Moser, a UCLA transfer that is finally getting eligible this season. He sat out last year per NCAA transfer rules, but the UNLV faithful got their first glance at Moser over the weekend, and he certainly didn’t disappoint:

[Moser] scored a game-high 16 points to go with seven rebounds Sunday night, as he led the Black squad to a 46-39 victory over the White team at the Mack.


“I think last year was kind of like a little teaser, showing a little of what I can do,” he said. "(This year) I just tried to come out, have fun with the guys, share the ball, show that we can mesh together.

“We’re really good as a team. There’s no one great individual. I think that’s going to help us a lot this year.”

UNLV has already made it clear that they want to be a running team this season. With the amount of back court talent this club has on its roster, it only makes sense for them to want to play at a faster pace. Keep in mind, their new head coach -- Dave Rice -- was the guy in charge of the offensive attack at BYU the past six years. He knows what he’s doing.

What makes Moser so important is his versatility. He’s 6'9", which means that he has the length and the size to go into the paint and exchange elbows with some of the best power forwards in the country. On the offensive end, however, he has some impressive perimeter skills. He can knock down a three and score off the dribble. His presence at the power forward spot will be a matchup problem for opponents in the half court, to say nothing of Moser’s ability to beat an opponent’s big man down the court.

If Moser can continue to pay the way he did in UNLV’s weekend scrimmage, the Rebels have an even better chance at bringing home the MWC title.

Rob Dauster is the editor of the college basketball website Ballin’ is a Habit. You can find him on twitter @ballinisahabit.