NEW MEXICO (15-3, 1-1 MWC) AT NO. 20 UNLV (17-3, 1-1 MWC)
Time/TV: 10:15 p.m./The Mtn.
Location: Thomas & Mack Center
New Mexico 60 (No. 4 MWC)
UNLV 7 (No. 1 MWC)
Line: UNLV -7.5 (Total 152)
New Mexico Players to Watch: F Drew Gordon, 6-9 Sr. (12.4 ppg, 10.5 rpg, 50% FG); G Tony Snell, 6-7 So. (13.4 ppg, 3.2 rpg, 2 apg); G Phillip McDonald, 6-5 Sr. (6.6 ppg, 1.7 rpg, 46.3% FG). McDonald had a team-high 20 points in New Mexico’s 75-70 loss to San Diego State on Thursday. He is 26th all-time in scoring at UNM with 1,060 points. McDonald is 12th in the nation at 51.9 percent from behind the 3-point line.
UNLV Players to Watch: F Mike Moser, 6-8 So. (13.9 ppg, 11.2 rpg, 2.5 apg); G Anthony Marshall, 6-3 Jr. (12.3 ppg, 4.9 apg, 4.5 rpg); F Chace Stanback, 6-8 So. (14.4 ppg, 4.8 rpg, 45.9% 3s). Marshall is coming off of a career-high 27 points and also had nine assists and three blocks in the Rebels’ 101-78 win over TCU. Marshall has scored 53 points in UNLV’s last two games.
Storylines: Both teams are 1-1 in the Mountain West after losses to San Diego State last week. UNLV rebounded from its loss to the Aztecs with a 101-78 victory over TCU. The Lobos, who had won 13 straight after a 2-2 start, fell to the Aztecs at home, 75-70 on Wednesday.
Keys: UNLV has one of the most impressive stat lines in the country. The Rebels are ninth in the nation in scoring (81.6), fourth in assists (18.8), 15th in assist-to-turnover ratio (18.8-13.7), 17th in rebounds per game (42.4) and are plus-4.9 on the boards per contest. The Rebels are also 26th in blocks per game (5.4), 29th in field goal percentage (47.9) and 32nd in steals per game at 8.6 per contest. New Mexico has also put up some strong numbers. The Lobos are 11th in assists per game (17.2), 13th in 3-point percentage (40.3), and 27th in assist-to-turnover ratio (17.2-13.7). They have been a slightly better rebounding team than UNLV, averaging 42.7 per game, which is plus-7.5 for the season. UNLV broke the century mark with its win over TCU for the first time in 11 years. Gordon scored a combined 52 points and grabbed 27 rebounds in two regular-season games against the Rebels last season. With a win, UNLV would be 18-3, which would be its best start since going 26-2 in 1991-92.
UNLV is 10-0 at the Thomas & Mack Center, winning by an average of over 22 points per game.
The Bottom Line: Both teams appear to be NCAA-bound, but UNLV is the slightly better team. Throw in the home-court advantage and it should be a sound victory.
The Pick: UNLV 85, New Mexico 76