UNLV vs. New Mexico Pick
The Thomas & Mack Center should be on fire for NCAA basketball betting action on Saturday night in Sin City. The New Mexico Lobos will take on the UNLV Runnin’ Rebels in what should be one of the best games of the day.
UNLV is really coming on strong at the end of the year. This is a perplexing team that could be in some trouble in the first round of the NCAA Tournament, though. The Rebs have won seven out of eight and have covered four out of six, but the losses that are being suffered are being done so against bad, bad teams. For example, the Runnin’ Rebels were swept by the Fresno State Bulldogs.
Yikes. F Anthony Bennett and G Anthony Marshall though, are definitely the cream of the crop in terms of talent in the big time Mountain West. Bennett is averaging 16.2 points and 8.0 boards per game, while Marshall is averaging 10.6 points, leads the team in assists, and is good for four boards per game as well. The shooting from long range is very suspect for the Rebels though, and that very well could come back to haunt them in the dance. For now though, they’re doing just fine in the MWC Tournament, and another performance similar to the one they had against the Colorado State Rams will give them the conference crown.
Is a No. 1 seed totally out of the question for the Lobos? It probably is, but it’s fun to dream for the time being. If the Kansas Jayhawks and Louisville Cardinals both lose on Saturday, there is a possibility for the Lobos to move up to the top line, though it isn’t likely to happen that way. With G Demetrius Walker suspended for this tournament, Head Coach Steve Alford has a bench that is a bit thin. However, the defense has been awesome here in Vegas, allowing the Wyoming Cowboys and San Diego State Aztecs, two very good teams in their own right, to score just a total of 96 points in two games. New Mexico ranks 40th in the nation in total defense at 60.5 points per game, and that’s showing here at the Thomas & Mack Center this week. G Kendall Williams is one to watch out for as well. He is averaging 13.5 points and 5.0 assists per game, leading the team in both categories. F Cameron Bairstow had 16 points and 11 boards in the win over SDSU on Friday night.
The Lobos feel like they are ripe for the picking right now. They aren’t shooting the ball all that well, and they’re going against a talented team that could drop 75-80 points on them if they aren’t careful. We like the Rebs to claim the rubber match between these two teams this season and to get the Mountain West title. UNLV 71 – New Mexico 64
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