Mountain West College Basketball Betting Preview: #15 New Mexico Lobos at UNLV Runnin’ Rebels

#15 New Mexico Lobos at UNLV Runnin’ Rebels
Saturday, February 9, 2013, 9:00 pm Eastern, TV: NBC Sports Network
Thomas and Mack Center – Las Vegas, Nevada
Opening Line: UNLV -5
Current Line: UNLV -5 1/2
Opening Total: 133
Current Total: 133 1/2
Opening Money Line: UNLV -240 / New Mexico +200
Current Money Line: UNLV -240 / New Mexico +200

UNLV is a 5.5 point favorite at home against New Mexico in a key Mountain West game.
UNLV is a 5.5 point favorite at home against New Mexico in a key Mountain West game.

The #15 New Mexico Lobos are 20-3 and in first place in the rugged Mountain West with a 7-1 record. The Lobos travel to the 17-6 UNLV Runnin’ Rebels who are 17-6 and 4-4 in conference.

The two teams opened the Mountain West schedule against each other last month in Albuquerque. New Mexico won that game 65-60. UNLV leads the series 28-18, including 17-6 in Las Vegas. UNLV has won 30 of their last 31 home games, and 12 straight at home against Mountain West teams.

New Mexico is coached by Steve Alford. The Lobos won their first 12 games, but then lost 2 of their next 3 games. New Mexico lost at home to South Dakota St and at St. Louis and San Diego St. New Mexico has key wins over Davidson, George Mason & UConn in a tournament in the Virgin Islands, Portland, Indiana St, USC, Valparaiso, New Mexico St twice, UNLV, Fresno St, Colorado St, Nevada and Air Force Wednesday 81-58 along with road wins at Cincinnati, Boise St, and Wyoming.  The Lobos are 12-8-2 ATS and the total is 7-9 this season.

New Mexico is outscoring teams 68-61 this season. The Lobos are shooting 41.9% from the field and 34.9% from 3 point range. New Mexico makes 73.1% from the free throw line. New Mexico averages 35.3 rebounds per game, and gives up 29.6 to opponents. Lobo opponents are shooting 39.7% from the field and 35.3% from 3 point range. New Mexico averages 14 assists, 7 steals, 4 blocks, and 13 turnovers.

Guard Kendall Williams averages 13.6 points, 3.8 rebounds, 4.6 assists, and 1.1 steals per game. Guard Tony Snell averages 11.9 points, 2.3 rebounds, and 2.7 assists per game. Center Alex Kirk averages 11.2 points, 7.3 rebounds, and 1.4 blocks per game. Forward Cameron Bairstow averages 8.2 points and 4.9 rebounds per game. Guard Hugh Greenwood averages 8 points, 5.4 rebounds, 2.5 assists, and 1.1 steals per game. Chad Adams, Demetrius Walker and Jamal Fenton make up the rest of the rotation.

UNLV is coached by Dave Rice. The Rebels have losses at home to Oregon and at North Carolina, New Mexico Colorado St, Boise St, and Fresno St 64-55 Wednesday. The Rebels have lost 2 straight games  UNLV has key wins against Iowa St, UC-Irvine, Hawaii, Portland, Cal, UTEP, Northern Iowa, Air Force, at San Diego St, Wyoming, and Nevada. UNLV is 8-14 ATS and the total is 6-9 this season.

UNLV is outscoring opponents 75-64 this season. The Rebels are #39 in scoring nationally. UNLV is shooting 44.8% from the field and 33.3% from 3 point range. The Rebels make 70.2% of their free throws. UNLV averages 41.3 rebounds a game and gives up 28.9 per game. The Rebels are #9 in rebounding nationally. UNLV opponents are shooting 38.5% from the field and 29.5% from 3 point range. The Rebels are #24 in opponents’ field goal percentage and #28 in 3 point defense. The Rebels average 18 assists, 8 steals, 5 blocks, and 15 turnovers a game. UNLV is #5 in the country in assists.

Forward Anthony Bennett averages 18.3 points, 8.5 rebounds, 1.1 assists, and 1.1 blocks per game. Guard Anthony Marshall averages 11 points, 3.9 rebounds, 6 assists, and 1.3 steals a game. Guard Katin Reinhardt averages 9.6 points, 2 rebounds, 2.7 assists, and 1.1 steals a game. Guard Bryce Dejean-Jones averages 9.2 points, 4.4 rebounds and 2.5 assists a game. Khem Birch averages 8.1 points, 6.1 rebounds, 1 assist and 2.2 blocks a game.  Forward Mike Moser missed seven games with a dislocated elbow. Moser averages 7.4 points, 6.4 rebounds, and 1.6 assists per game.  Justin Hawkins averages 6 points, 3.2 rebounds, 2 assists, and 1.5 steals a game.  Savon Goodman, Quintrell Thomas, Daquan Cook, and Carlos Lopez-Sosa make up the rest of the rotation.

New Mexico is 5-1-1 ATS against teams with winning records, 20-6-1 in Mountain West games, 6-2 in road games, 39-13-1 after a straight up win of 20 points or more, 6-2 against teams with winning home records, 29-11-2 after a straight up win, 10-4-1 in Saturday games, 35-14-2 overall, and 65-30-7 after a cover. The road team and underdog are 7-3 ATS in this series recently. The Lobos are 5-2 ATS against the rebels overall, and 4-1 in their last 5 trips to Las Vegas.

UNLV is 10-25 ATS in Saturday games, 2-6 after failing to cover, and against teams with winning records, 5-16 in Mountain West games, 1-4 at home and 2-9 overall. The under is 6-2 in this series recently and 4-1 in Las Vegas.

During UNLV’s two game losing streak, the same problems that plagued them last year reared their ugly head. One, they can’t win on the road. Two, they have problems with zone defenses in the half court and have to rely on two many 3 pointers. The Boise St loss can be somewhat excused because  the Broncos are a good team and have a tough home court advantage in the Taco Bell Arena. However, there is no reason UNLV should have lost to a terrible Fresno St team, on teh road or not. This is a must win for the Rebels against the conference leader. New Mexico would like to win this game, but they don’t have to. UNLV comes out with the close gutty win.

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