2012 Mountain West Tournament – Semifinals
#3 UNLV Runnin’ Rebels vs #2 New Mexico Lobos
Thomas & Mack Center – Las Vegas, Nevada
Friday, March 9, 2012, 11:30 pm Eastern, TV: CBS Sports Net
Opening Line: UNLV -2 1/2
Current Line: UNLV -3 1/2
Opening Total: 136
Current Total: 135
Opening Money Line: UNLV -140 / UNM +120
Current Money Line: UNLV -170 / UNM +150
UNLV is 20-0 in games played in Las Vegas and 6-7 on the road. The Runnin’ Rebels extended that streak with an ugly 56-48 win over Wyoming in Thursday’s quarterfinals of the Mountain West tournament. At one point the Rebels were up by 22 in the second half but then went more than ten minutes without a field goal. The Cowboys pulled to within 6 points at one time, but UNLV held on for the win. UNLV is ranked #20 in both polls.
Next up for the Rebels is a match-up with #2 seed New Mexico. The 25-6 Lobos have won 3 straight games including a 79-64 win over Air Force in the quarterfinals. New Mexico finished tied with San Diego St for the regular season title at 10-4, but the Aztecs got the #1 seed in the tournament because of the tiebreaker.
UNLV is 28-16 all-time against New Mexico, including 17-5 in Las Vegas. The two teams split the season series with each winning by double digits on their own home court. UNLV beat New Mexico in Las Vegas 80-63 January 21, and New Mexico won 65-45 in Albuquerque February 18.
UNLV is coached by Dave Rice. The Rebels have wins over Nevada, USC, North Carolina, UC-Santa Barbara, UTEP, Illinois, Cal and Hawaii. The Rebels swept Air Force and Boise St, but split with every other team in the conference, with the home team winning each game. UNLV has additional losses to Wichita St and Wisconsin.
New Mexico is coached by Steve Alford. The Lobos have wins over Arizona St, Washington St, Boston College, Missouri St, USC, Oklahoma St, New Mexico St and Saint Louis. New Mexico swept Wyoming, Boise St, and Air Force, and split with the other 4 teams in the conference. The Lobos have losses to New Mexico St and Santa Clara.
UNLV is outscoring opponents 77-66 this season. UNLV is #22 in scoring nationally. The Rebels shoot 46.5% from the field, including 37.1% from 3 point range. The Rebels make 67.6% from the free throw line. UNLV is #29 in rebounding averaging 38.2 rebounds a game, and has a rebounding margin of +3.9. The Rebels average 17.9 assists, 13.8 turnovers, 4.9 blocks, and 8.6 steals a game. UNLV is second nationally in assists per game. UNLV opponents are shooting 40.6% from the field including 33.3% from 3 point range. The Rebels force 15.2 turnovers a game.
Forward Mike Moser averages 14.2 points, 10.8 rebounds, 2.4 assists, and 1.8 steals a game. Moser leads the Rebels in scoring, rebounds and steals and is shooting 34.2% from 3 point range. Chace Stanback averages 12.8 points, 4.6 rebounds, and 1.3 assists a game. He makes 46.6% from 3 point range. Anthony Marshall averages 11.9 points, 5.3 rebounds, 4.6 assists, and 1.5 steals a game. Point guard Oscar Bellfield averages 9.7 points, 2.2 rebounds, 5.3 assists a game to lead the team, and 1.1 steals a game. Bellfield shoots 36% from 3 point range. Justin Hawkins averages 8.1 points, 2.8 rebounds, 1.7 assists, and 1.6 steals. Carlos Lopez leads the Rebels in blocks with 1 a game.
New Mexico is outscoring opponents 73-59 this season. The Lobos are #13 nationally in points allowed. New Mexico is shooting 46.3% from the field and 38.5% from 3 point range. The Lobos make 70.1% of their free throws. New Mexico averages 37.9 rebounds a game with a rebounding margin of +6.7. The Lobos average 16.3 assists, 13.4 turnovers, 7.1 steals, and 3.3 blocks a game. New Mexico opponents are shooting 38.2% from the field and 30.6% from 3 point range. The Lobos are #6 in opponent’s field goal percentage and #29 in 3 point percentage. New Mexico forces 14.7 turnovers a game.
New Mexico forward Drew Gordon averages 13.3 points, 10.8 rebounds, 1.2 assists, 1.2 steals, and 1 block a game. He leads the Lobos in scoring, rebounding, and blocks. Kendall Williams averages 12.1 points, 3.3 rebounds, 4.2 assists, and 1.3 steals a game. He leads the team in assists and steals, and makes 36.5% of his 3 point attempts. Tony Snell averages 10.8 points, 2.7 rebounds, and 2.3 assists a game. He makes 38.8% from 3 point range. Demetrius Walker, Jamal Fenton, and Hugh Greenwood also get significant minutes.
New Mexico is 20-8 ATS and the total is 15-12-1 this season. UNLV is 12-17 ATS and the total is also 12-17 this season. New Mexico is 5-2 ATS in their last 7 games at UNLV, and 5 of the last 6 overall have gone under the total, including the last 4 in Las Vegas. The Lobos are 10-2 ATS in Mountain West games, 20-6 overall, 6-2 against teams with winning records, 19-7-1 after a straight up win, 8-3 in road games, 57-25-5 after a cover, and 1-4 in Friday games. The Rebels are 7-3 at home, 2-6 at home against teams with winning road records, 2-7 against teams with winning records, overall, and in Mountain West games, 2-8 after allowing 50 points or less, and 0-5 after a straight up win.
Though UNLV is the higher seed and will wear their road uniforms, everyone knows this is really a home game for UNLV, where the Rebels are undefeated. However, New Mexico is a very good team that isn’t afraid to win on the road. UNLV can’t afford to have the scoring droughts that have plagued them in second halves recently. The Rebels have blown many huge leads because they force 3 pointers and bad shots. If they do that against New Mexico, then the Lobos will blow them out, whether the game is in Las Vegas or not.
Our college basketball handicappers are red hot and are releasing winners and key plays every day from now until the national championship game in New Orleans next month