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MATCHUP OF THE WEEK
Seth Davis
January 26, 1998
UTAH AT UNLV SATURDAY, JAN. 24
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January 26, 1998

Matchup Of The Week

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UTAH AT UNLV SATURDAY, JAN. 24

UNLV's Keon Clark and Utah's Michael Doleac could knock heads on four occasions in the coming months: On Saturday and once more during the regular season, at the WAC tournament in March and at the NBA draft on June 24. Both senior centers are projected as first-round picks, which means a gaggle of scouts will be on hand to watch them jockey for post—and draft—position.

Although Doleac didn't start playing basketball until his junior year at Central Catholic High in Portland, he has improved steadily at Utah, and at week's end he led the Utes in scoring (15.5 points per game) and was second in the WAC in free throw percentage (86.0). With Finnish phenom Hanno M�tt�l�, a 6'10" sophomore forward, getting 13.4 points and 5.6 rebounds a game and junior point guard Andre Miller (14.4 points per game) proving he's one of the nation's most underrated performers, Utah (15-0, 3-0 in the WAC) was one of only two unbeatens left in the country. If the Utes, who were to play Air Force on Thursday, are still undefeated when they get to Vegas, they could break an 85-year-old record for the best start in Utah history with a victory over the Rebels.

To do so they'll have to rein in Clark, who has been a force inside since returning on Jan. 4 from an 11-game suspension for accepting a plane ticket from an agent. Clark scored a career-high 28 points against Air Force in his second game back and was averaging 18.3 points through Sunday. With junior forward Kevin Simmons also back in the lineup after a 14-game suspension for accepting a plane ticket, UNLV (8-7, 1-2) finally has all of its players in uniform. Not a moment too soon.

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