East Region Betting Preview: #5 UNLV Runnin’ Rebels vs #12 California Golden Bears

2013 NCAA Tournament – East Region Second Round
#5 UNLV Runnin’ Rebels vs #12 California Golden Bears
Thursday, March 21, 2013, 7:27 pm Eastern, TV: tru TV
HP Pavilion – San Jose, California
Opening Line: UNLV -2 1/2
Current Line: UNLV -2 1/2
Opening Total: 132
Current Total: 131
Opening Money Line: UNLV -130 / California +110
Current Money Line: UNLV -145 / California +125

UNLV is a 2.5 point favorite against Cal in San Jose in the East Region second round.
UNLV is a 2.5 point favorite against Cal in San Jose in the East Region second round.

The 25-9 UNLV Runnin’ Rebels were 10-6 in the Mountain West. They finished third in the conference and lost to New Mexico 63-56 in the Mountain West Championship game last Saturday. The Rebels  were one of 5 teams from the Mountain West to qualify for the NCAA tournament. UNLV was named the #5 seed in the East.

The Rebels will take on the #12 California Golden Bears in San Jose. Cal was 20-11 overall and 12-6 in the Pac 12. The Golden Bears tied for second in the Pac 12 with Arizona and Oregon. The Golden Bears were seeded third in the Pac 12 tournament  but were upset 79-69 by Utah in overtime in the Pac 12 quarterfinals. The winner of UNLV and Cal will play the winner of #4 Syracuse and #13 Montana.

UNLV and California played earlier in the season in Berkeley. In that game UNLV forward Mike Moser dislocated his elbow in the first half and missed 7 games because of the injury. UNLV was also without forward Khem Birch, who wasn’t eligible at the time after transferring from Pitt. Birch was the Mountain West Defensive Player of the Year. The game was back and forth, and UNLV came out on top 76-75 on a tip-in at the buzzer from Quintrell Thomas. UNLV leads the series 5-1 against Cal all-time.

UNLV is coached by Dave Rice. The Rebels have losses at home to Oregon and Fresno St and at North Carolina, New Mexico, Colorado St, Boise St, Fresno St, and Air Force.  UNLV has key wins against Iowa St, UC-Irvine, Hawaii, at Portland, at Cal, at UTEP, Northern Iowa, Air Force, New Mexico twice, Boise St, Colorado St, San Diego St twice, Wyoming twice, and Nevada twice. UNLV is 13-20 ATS and the total is 9-17 this season.

UNLV is outscoring opponents 72-63 this season. UNLV is shooting 43.9% from the field and 33% from 3 point range. The Rebels make 70.5% of their free throws. UNLV averages 40.1 rebounds a game and gives up 29.5 per game. The Rebels are #6 in rebounding nationally. UNLV opponents are shooting 38.8% from the field and 31% from 3 point range. The Rebels are #21 in opponents’ field goal percentage and #47 in 3 point defense. The Rebels average 16 assists, 7 steals, 6 blocks, and 14 turnovers a game. UNLV is #9 in the country in assists.

Forward Anthony Bennett averages 16.2 points, 8 rebounds, 1 assist, and 1.2 blocks per game. Guard Anthony Marshall averages 10.6 points, 4 rebounds, 5.8 assists, and 1.3 steals a game. Guard Katin Reinhardt averages 10.1 points, 2 rebounds, 2.6 assists, and 1.1 steals a game. Guard Bryce Dejean-Jones averages 9.8 points, 4.4 rebounds and 2.4 assists a game. Khem Birch averages 7.5 points, 5.8 rebounds, 1 assist and 2.6 blocks a game.  Forward Mike Moser averages 7.5 points, 6 rebounds, and 1.4 assists per game.  Justin Hawkins, Savon Goodman, Quintrell Thomas, Daquan Cook, and Carlos Lopez-Sosa make up the rest of the rotation.

California is coached by Mike Montgomery. Cal has losses at Wisconsin, UCLA, Stanford twice, Colorado, Arziona St and home losses to UNLV, Creighton, Harvard, and Washington. The Bears have lost two straight after a 7 game game winning streak.   The Golden Bears have key wins at home over Pepperdine, UC-Santa Barbara, and Washington St, Oregon and Oregon St twice, Arizona, USC twice, UCLA, Utah, and Colorado and against Drake, Georgia Tech and Pacific in a tournament in Anaheim. Cal is 12-16-1 ATS and the total is 9-16 this season.

Cal is outscoring teams 68-64 this season. The Bears are shooting 44.6% from the field and 30.4% from 3 point range. California is #308 out of 347 teams in three point shooting. Cal makes 72.5% of their free throws. The Golden Bears  average 37.2 rebounds per game. The Bears give up 31.3 rebounds per game. California opponents are shooting 39.6% from the field and 33.6% from 3 point range. The Bears average  14 assists, 6 steals, 5 blocks, and 13 turnovers per game.

Guard Allen Crabbe averages 18.7 points, 6 rebounds, and 2.6 assists per game. Guard Justin Cobbs averages 15.5 points, 3.5 rebounds, 4.8 assists, and 1.1 steals per game. Forward Richard Solomon averages 8.4 points, 6.6 rebounds, and 1.2 blocks per game. Forward David Kravish averages 8.1 points, 6.9 rebounds, an assist, and 1.7 blocks per game. Guard Tyrone Wallace averages 7.2 points, 4.5 rebounds, and 2.6 assists per game. Robert Thurman also gets significant minutes. Forward Christian Behrens is out for the season with a knee injury.

California is 4-1 ATS against teams with winning records, 6-2 after failing to cover, 1-5 in NCAA tournament games, 0-5 in non-conference games, and 0-4 against Mountain West teams. The underdog is 4-1 ATS in the last 5 in this series.

UNLV is 4-1 ATS in neutral site games, 7-15 overall, 4-9 in Thursday games, and 0-4 in NCAA Tournament games. UNLV is 4-1 ATS in the last 5 against Cal.

Cal is a trendy upset pick, because they were so hot before their recent two game slide. UNLV  struggles in the half court offense especially when they settle for bad threes. The Rebels are at their best when they drive to the hole. If they do that then I like UNLV to advance.

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