The matter of the University of Nevada-Las Vegas versus the NCAA seems destined to remain in courtrooms forever -- or at least for a few months more. But now it could be the UNLV players, rather than Coach Jerry Tarkanian, who appear as litigants.

According to Steve Stein, a Las Vegas lawyer who is representing the Runnin' Rebels players, his clients will file a lawsuit against the NCAA in January -- provided that all of the school's appeals of its sanctions fail -- to try to get their NCAA tournament eligibility restored. A 13-year legal struggle between the NCAA and Tarkanian concluded last summer with the Committee on Infractions imposing penalties on the national champions that include a postseason ban, but Stein pledges the fight is not yet done.

"I think we -- and when I say we, I mean the players because I don't give a damn about the school -- have a good case," Stein said. "I think we'd have a very good lawsuit. I like it a lot."

UNLV has proposed alternative sanctions to the infractions committee and is awaiting a response which is expected today. If that is unsuccessful in overturning the NCAA tournament exclusion, the school's final appeal would come to the NCAA Presidents Council in January, Stein said. And if that, too, is turned down, said Stein, "we could be in court the next day."

Stein said his case would be based upon the contention that the players essentially are being penalized for the school's ill-fated adherence to a court order. On NCAA orders, UNLV suspended Tarkanian for two seasons in 1977; Tarkanian, however, sought and received a permanent injunction preventing the suspension from being implemented, and the situation remained unresolved until last summer.

"Now it's these kids who are suffering for 13-year-old infractions," said Stein, who represented the UNLV players throughout the NCAA's investigation because his son is a friend of point guard Greg Anthony. "It's completely unfair, and I think we have some precedents on our side. . . . Nothing is cut and dried in court these days, but I believe we would win." Rewriting the Rules

When the NCAA rules committee decided this season to start awarding two free throws rather than a one-and-one opportunity beginning with the 10th foul committed in a half, the idea was to eliminate excessive fouling at the ends of games. But Hank Nichols, the national coordinator of men's basketball officials, isn't certain that will be the result.

"I don't know what the answer is yet," Nichols said. "I think if you gave teams six foul shots and the ball out of bounds twice, {opponents} would still foul if it was the only way to win. But now teams that spend 38 1/2 minutes building a lead won't have to keep making one-and-ones."

A somewhat curious rule change involves the 45-second shot clock. The clock no longer will be reset when a shot is blocked out of bounds, the idea being that the defending team should not be penalized for making a good play. Yet when a shot is blocked and remains in play, the clock still will be reset. "I think that still has to be addressed in the future," Nichols said. Home Court Streaking

Arizona's victory Monday night over Western Illinois was its 50th in a row at McKale Center. It is the nation's longest current Division I home court winning streak, but not the longest in school history; the Wildcats won 67 straight from 1942 to 1952. . . .

Princeton already is in midseason form. The Tigers beat Coastal Carolina, 42-39, on Sunday and defeated Lafayette, 45-36, on Tuesday. Tuesday's halftime score: Princeton 22, Lafayette 6. . . .The nation's most glaring offseason gaffe may have belonged to La Salle guard Randy Woods, who broke the jaw of Explorers Coach Speedy Morris's son Keith during a fall pickup game. The elder Morris suspended Woods for the season's first six games.

Starting with the 10th foul a team commits in each half, the player fouled will be awarded two free throws rather than one-and-one, which remains in effect for seventh, eighth and ninth team fouls.

A player fouled while attempting a three-point field goal will be awarded three free throws, instead of two.

A coach will be ejected after receiving two technical fouls for unsportsmanlike conduct, rather than three.

A player who gets into a fight will be suspended for his team's next game, and if he gets into a second fight later in the season, he will be suspended for the remainder of the season. Previously, the first fight brought probation.

The 45-second clock will not be reset when a shot is blocked out of bounds without being touched, but will be reset when a shot is blocked but remains in play. Previously, all blocked shots prompted a reset.