UNLV is 8-1 and has a signature 90-80 win over North Carolina.

"You can just feel it—things are getting going around Vegas," says sophomore forward Mike Moser. "And they should be. We are going to do some great things this year."

"Coach (Dave) Rice came and told us we were going to get up and down and that he was going to let us be aggressive," says junior guard Justin Hawkins. "It was what everyone wanted to hear."

Former UNLV star Reggie Theus would have been the flashier higher, but the school went with UNLV instead.

"I had an advantage having been in the [Mountain West] conference. I knew what kind of team Coach Kruger left," says Rice, who was also an assistant at UNLV from 1994 to 2001. "I knew there was the talent here and the kind of kids who would be committed on defense and then capable of really pushing the ball and playing as fast as we can."