UNLV Runnin’ Rebels vs Kansas State Wildcats
Tuesday, 12/21/10, 9:00 PM EDT, TV: ESPN2
Opening Point Spread: Kansas State -5
Current Betting Line: Kansas State -4.5
Opening Total: 138
Current Total: 138
UNLV dropped two consecutive games after starting the season a perfect 9-0 and stopped the losing streak with a 72-50 home win over Southern Utah on Saturday. “Any time you lose a couple you want to bounce back and not only win a game but play better,” said coach Lon Kruger. “I thought we were pretty sharp defensively and moved the ball offensively.” The key to the victory over the Thunderbirds was leading 37-18 in the first half and shooting 50 percent from the floor after the break. The Runnin’ Rebels have three players averaging in double figures in scoring and six more averaging at least 4.8 points per game. UNLV is averaging 75.6 points per game on offense and limiting opponents to 61.2. The squad is 8-5 ATS as an underdog over the past three years and currently getting points on the college basketball lines page.
The Runnin’ Rebels will be meeting the Wildcats for the sixth time on Tuesday night and lead the series 3-2, but lost the last meeting 95-80 last year at the Orleans Arena in Las Vegas on December 12, 2009. This year’s version of Kansas State will be the highest-ranked team that UNLV will have faced during the regular season since losing to then-No. 6 Louisville at the Thomas & Mack Center on November 21, 2007. The team will rely heavily on its shooting against one of the best defensive units in the country, coming in 10th in the country in field goal percentage at 49.9.
Kansas State is set to play its second ranked foe in as many games on Tuesday and is coming off a 57-44 loss to Florida on Saturday. The Wildcats suffered from one of their worst offensive performances in nearly five years by shooting just 27.3 percent, including 6-of-27 from the field in the second half. “We were executing and getting shots and doing the things we talked about trying to do and the ball didn’t go in the basket,” said coach Frank Martin. “And then it broke our spirit.” The program is 6-3 at the Sprint Center, including a 4-1 mark during the regular season. Earlier this year, the Wildcats split two games in the arena, defeating Gonzaga, 81-64, before losing to Duke, 82-68. The team is 26-17 ATS as a favorite the past three years.
The Wildcats had their 14-game winning streak in December snapped against the Gators, but will now look to extend their 28-game home winning streak against non-conference opponents at home. This neutral-court event will count as a home game due the the athletic department controlling the game operations and all ticketing. Kansas State boasts a 31-1 mark in all non-conference home games under Martin.
Bettors will be interested in the Runnin’ Rebels being 3-7 ATS against the Big 12, while the Wildcats are 11-5-1 ATS in non-conference contests.
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