Mountain West Basketball: UNLV Runnin’ Rebels at #15 San Diego State Aztecs

UNLV Runnin’ Rebels at #15 San Diego State Aztecs
Wednesday, January 16, 2013, 10:00 pm Eastern, TV: CBS Sports Net
Viejas Arena – San Diego, California
Opening Line: SDSU -4 1/2
Current Line: SDSU -4
Opening Total: 135
Current Total: 134
Opening Money Line: SDSU -215 / UNLV +185
Current Money Line: SDSU -175 / UNLV +155

San Diego St is a 4 point favorite at home over Mountain West rival UNLV Wednesday night in San Diego.

The 14-3 UNLV Runnin’ Rebels are 1-1 in the Mountain West as they take on the arch-rival San Diego St Aztecs Wednesday night in San Diego. The #15 Aztecs are 14-2 overall, and 2-0 in the Mountain West.

This is one of the most intense rivalries on the West Coast. It could end after this season if San Diego St’s football team leaves for the Big East. The Aztecs’ other athletic programs would then join the Big West. However, there is now talk San Diego St might stay in the Mountain West for all sports. UNLV leads the all-time series 33-21. The Aztecs have beaten the Rebels 4 straight times in San Diego. UNLV won the last meeting between the teams 65-63 last February in Las Vegas. The last five games in this series have been decided by 6 points or less, and the last 3 were decided by 2 points each.

UNLV is coached by Dave Rice. The Rebels have losses at home to Oregon and at North Carolina and New Mexico. UNLV has key wins against Iowa St, UC-Irvine, Hawaii, Portland, Cal, UTEP, Northern Iowa and Air Force 76-71 in overtime last Saturday. UNLV is 6-10 ATS and the total is 4-5 this season.

San Diego St is coached by Steve Fisher.  The Aztecs have losses to Syracuse on an aircraft carrier, and against Arizona in a tournament in Hawaii. SDSU has won 3 straight games. The Aztecs have key home wins over UC-Santa Barbara, San Diego, and Colorado St Saturday 79-72 in overtime. SDSU has road wins over Missouri St, USC, and Fresno St along with neutral site wins over UCLA in Anaheim, and San Francisco & Indiana St in Hawaii. The Aztecs are 7-4 ATS and the total is 5-2-1 this season.

UNLV is outscoring opponents 78-64 this season. The Rebels are #28 in scoring nationally. UNLV is shooting 45.1% from the field and 34.1% from 3 point range. The Rebels make 70.3% of their free throws. UNLV averages 42.5 rebounds a game and gives up 29.1 per game. The Rebels are #8 in rebounding nationally. UNLV opponents are shooting 37.7% from the field and 29.5% from 3 point range. The Rebels are #21 in opponents’ field goal percentage and #32 in 3 point defense. The Rebels average 18 assists, 8 steals, 5 blocks, and 15 turnovers a game.

Forward Anthony Bennett averages 19.6 points, 9.3 rebounds, 1.1 assists, and 1.4 blocks per game. Guard Katin Reinhardt averages 9.9 points, 2.1 rebounds, 2.9 assists, and 1.2 steals a game. Bryce Dejean-Jones averages 9.7 points, 4.1 rebounds and 2.5 assists a game.  Forward Mike Moser missed seven games with a dislocated elbow. Moser averages 9.6 points, 7.2 rebounds, and 2 assists per game. Guard Anthony Marshall averages 9.1 points, 3.7 rebounds, 6 assists, and 1.4 steals a game.  Khem Birch averages 8.6 points, 6.8 rebounds, 1 assist and 2 blocks a game. Justin Hawkins averages 7.2 points, 3.4 rebounds, 2.1 assists, and 1.7 steals a game.  Savon Goodman, Quintrell Thomas, Daquan Cook, and Carlos Lopez-Sosa make up the rest of the rotation.

San Diego St is outscoring teams 72-59 this season. The Aztecs are #38 in points allowed. SDSU is shooting 45% from the field and 35.9% from 3 point range. The Aztecs make 67.1% of their free throws. SDSU averages 37.4 rebounds per game and gives up 31.3 per game. Aztec opponents are shooting 37.9% from the field and 31.2% from 3 point range. The Aztecs are #24 in opponents’ field goal percentage. SDSU averages 13 assists, 7 steals, 5 blocks and 13 turnovers per game.

Guard Jamaal Franklin averages 17.8 points, 10.3 rebounds, 3.5 assists, 1.3 steals, and 1.2 blocks per game. Guard Chase Tapley averages 15.1 points, 3.5 rebounds, 2.5 assists and 1.4 steals per game. Guard Xavier Thames averages 10.5 points, 2.2 rebounds, 2.7 assists, and 1 steal per game. James Rahon averages 7.1 points and 1.7 rebounds per game. Deshawn Stephens averages 6.9 points and 5.2 rebounds per game. J.J. O’Brien  averages 6.1 points, 4.1 rebounds, 1.8 assists, and 1.2 steals per game. Winston Shepard, Skylar Spencer, and Dwayne Polee II also get significant minutes. Guard LaBradford Franklin is out indefinitely due to personal reasons.

UNLV is 9-4 ATS in Wednesday games, 6-15 against teams with winning records, 5-16 after a straight up win, 2-14 in road games, and against teams with winning home records, 0-5 overall, and 0-4 after failing to cover, and against Mountain West teams. Six of the last seven games in this series have gone under the total, as have 4 of the last 5 in San Diego.

San Diego St is 7-3 ATS after a straight up win, and overall,  21-9 against teams with winning road records, 38-17-1 against teams with winning records, 4-9 in Wednesday games, 4-10 at home, and 2-6 after a straight up win. The Aztecs are 16-5-1 ATS in the last 22 games and 5-0 in San Diego against the Rebels.

Recent history says this game will be close and come down to the wire. UNLV is a better offensive and rebounding team, but San Diego St is a better defensive team. Both teams had to escape with overtime wins last Saturday. Perhaps they were looking ahead to this game. I like San Diego St to win at home.

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