Aztecs and Rebels Renew Rivalry in Vegas: San Diego St at UNLV

San Diego St Aztecs at UNLV Runnin’ Rebels, Thomas & Mack Center, Las Vegas, NV
Saturday, February 11, 2011, 8:00 pm Eastern, TV: CBS College Sports
Opening Line: UNLV -1
Current Line: UNLV -2
Opening Total: 129 1/2
Current Total: 128 1/2
Money Line: UNLV -130 / SDSU +110

San Diego St travels to Las Vegas to take on UNLV in a crucial Mountain West game. UNLV is a 2 point favorite at home.

San Diego St is 24-1 overall and 9-1 in the competitive Mountain West. The Aztecs are ranked #6 in both polls. They travel to Las Vegas to take on the 18-6 UNLV Runnin’ Rebels in a critical MWC clash. UNLV is 6-4 in conference. Both of these teams look like they will make the NCAA tournament, but the Rebels need a win here to bolster their resume. San Diego St needs to keep winning to have a shot at a 2 or a 3 seed in the tournament. These two teams played in San Diego January 12 and the Aztecs escaped with a narrow, hard-fought 55-49 victory. The Rebels certainly had a chance to win but couldn’t make a field goal down the stretch and the Aztecs held on for the gritty win.  San Diego St’s only loss is at #8 BYU. The Aztecs have other wins over Gonzaga, St. Mary’s (CA), Wichita St, Cal, TCU twice, Utah twice, New Mexico, Air Force, Wyoming, and Colorado St. The Aztecs have won 4 in a row since the loss to BYU, including an 85-53 destruction of Utah at home Tuesday night. UNLV has losses to Louisville, UC Santa Barbara, BYU twice, and Colorado St in addition to the loss as San Diego St. They have wins over Wisconsin, Tulsa, Virginia Tech, Nevada, Kansas St, TCU twice, Air Force, New Mexico, Wyoming, and Utah. The Rebels won at TCU Wednesday night 94-79. That broke a seven game stretch for the Rebels where they didn’t score more than 65 points in any of those games. The whole team was mired in a shooting slump, but we don’t know if they have really turned the corner offensively as they scored 83 against TCU the last time they played them last month.The Rebels have won 4 out of their last 5 games.

UNLV leads the overall series between the teams 32-18, but San Diego St has won and covered 6 of the last 7 and 3 straight. The two teams played in the Championship game of the MWC tournament last year in Las Vegas. Four of the last 5 have gone over the total. The Aztecs are 6-0 in road games when the total is between 120 and 130 the last two seasons. SDSU is 29-16 the next game after allowing 60 points or less the last 3 seasons. San Diego St is 17-7 ATS versus teams allowing 64 points or fewer the last 3 seasons.

San Diego St forward Tim Shelton (foot) and guard Chase Tapley (ankle) are both listed as doubtful tonight. Both Tapley and Shelton missed the Aztecs last game.  The Aztecs are led by Kawhi Leonard. He is averaging a double double with 14.9 points, and 10.7 rebounds to lead the team in each category. He also averages 2.7 assists and leads the team in steals with 1.4 a game. Senior point guard D.J. Gay is averaging 12 points, 2 rebounds, and 3.4 assists to lead the team and 1 steal a game. Forward Malcolm Thomas averages 11 points, 82 rebounds, 2.1 assists and leads the team in blocks with 2.2 a game. San Diego St is outscoring opponents 73-59 on the season. The Aztecs shoot 47.9% from the field and 35.2% from 3-point range. Aztec opponents are shooting 39.4% from the field. SDSU makes 66.9% of their free throws. The Aztecs average 37.1 rebounds a game and have a rebounding margin of +6.7. San Diego St averages 14.2 assists and 10.7 turnovers a game. SDSU forces 12.6 turnovers a game on defense. The Aztecs average 6.1 steals and 4.8 blocks a game.

UNLV has no significant injuries right now.  Guard/forward Chace Stanback is the teams leading scorer with 13.5 points a game. He also averages 5.7 rebounds to lead the team, 1.6 assists, and 1 steal a game. Senior guard Tre’von Willis is averaging 12.6 points, 3.2 rebounds, 3.3 assists, and 1.8 steals a game to lead the team. Guard Oscar Bellfield averages 10.8 points, 2.3 rebounds, 3.8 assists to lead the team, and 1.1 steals a game. Guard Anthony Marshall averages 10.1 points, 4 rebounds, 3 assists, and 1.2 steals a game. UNLV is outscoring opponents 73-63 on the season. The Rebels shoot 46.5% from the field and 31.4% from 3-point range. UNLV opponents are shooting 39.7% from the field. The Rebels make 68.8% of their free throws. UNLV averages 34.7 rebounds a game and have a rebounding margin of +0.6. The Rebels average 15.5 assists a game and 12.5 turnovers a game. They force 17.1 turnovers a game on defense. The Rebels average 8.4 steals and 4 blocks a game.

The Aztecs are much better at rebounding. Both of these teams are really good at defending, and usually when these teams get together it is a hard-nosed defensive struggle, almost like a rugby match on the basketball court. I think these teams will play in the 50’s like they usually do so the under is a good play in this game.

Our college basketball handicappers are red hot in 2011. Don’t miss out on any more winners this season.

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