NCAA Basketball Betting Preview and Predictions: Oregon Ducks at UNLV Runnin’ RebelsOregon at (18) UNLV
TV: CBS, 9 PM
Spread: UNLV -11.5
Betting Odds from Bookmaker
The Oregon Ducks are rebuilding. They have six freshman, and coach Dana Altman knows it is going to take time to adjust. He said “It’s just going to take some time,” so Ducks fans will have to be patient, because this team is a year or two away from being a threat. They got into the NIT last season and made it to the quarterfinals, where they lost 90-86 to Washington. Losing Olu Ashaolu, Devoe Joseph and Garrett Sim will be a big blow though, as the trio averaged 38.1 points per game last season.
They have only five returning players, and only one of which averaged double figures last season. The 6’6? E.J. Singler, a senior forward from nearby Medford, put up 13.6 points per game last year in just under 31 minutes per night. Singler is the younger brother of Detroit Piston Kyle Singler, and is one of the better front court players in the PAC-12. “He’s done an outstanding job for us the last two years, but we’re going to ask him to do even more this year,” Altman commented. Singler hustles and is willing to sacrifice his body, so he should set a good example for the young players on this Oregon squad.
Singler is leading the team in scoring thus far, with 12.8 points per game in just 25 minutes per night. He’s shooting just 38.9 percent from the floor, so he has some improvements to be made before this Ducks team can begin to roll.
Joining Singler in producing has been Tony Woods, Damyean Dotson and Dominic Arts. The trio combines to average 32.8 points per game, for the Ducks who average 76 points per game as a team and are shooting 47.6 percent from the floor.
They’ve won their first four games, but none of the opponents have been very good (Northern Arizona, Portland State, Vandy and Jacksonville State).
Athlon Magazine predicts a 9th place finish in the PAC-12, as the team will likely not win anywhere near the 13 games they won in conference play a year ago. Still, the Ducks do have some talent and Singler will have a great senior season. As to whether it translates to being drafted in the NBA like his brother, that is both dubious and unpredictable.
The Ducks have been good so far, but this will be their first real test tonight against the UNLV Runnin’ Rebels and college basketball oddsmakers don’t predict success for the Ducks, who are 11.5 point underdogs playing on the road in Las Vegas.
Last year, the Runnin’ Rebels finished 26-9 with a 9-5 MVC record. They were a one and done in the tournament, losing in the opening round to Colorado, 68-64. They lost Oscar Bellfield, Brice Massamba and Chase Stanback, all of whom played big roles last year for the squad.
This year, hopes are high for the 18th ranked Runnin’ Rebels. They’ll face stiff competition from San Diego in the MVC conference, but should have absolutely no problem earning an at large bid in March.
They’ve rolled over two horrible opponents thus far in Northern Arizona and Jacksonville State. In the 77-58 win over Jax State, 6’8″ junior forward Mike Moser shot 6-of-12 from the floor and 6-of-7 from the line en route to 19 points and was joined by four other teammates in double figures, including guard Anthony Marshall, who averaged 12.2 points per game last year for UNLV.
Moser won the Newcomer of the Year award for the MVC last year and was the first honorable mention AP All-American for UNLV since 2003. He’s the key to UNLV’s success, but Marshall will play an instrumental role, to be sure. Marshall was a second team All-MVC pick last year and also made the conference’s all defensive squad. He’s nicknamed “The Mayor” due to his great dunking skills.
Expect UNLV to make a push in March, and while Oregon won’t be the toughest of tests, it should be a good gauge after facing two even worse opponents in their first two games. They won’t face a nationally ranked opponent until December 29th, when they square off in Chapel Hill against the Tar Heels.