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New Mexico at UNLV
When and where: Jan. 18, 2020. Thomas & Mack Center, Las Vegas, NV, 6 p.m.
New Mexico travels to UNLV in a Mountain West Conference basketball game featuring two teams that usually vie for the league title. This year, the Rebels are 4-1 in conference play while the Lobos are 4-2.
Lobos has won two of three
New Mexico may be 15-4 on the season, but in the past couple of weeks have kicked off a player averaging a double-double and suspended their leading assist man.
On Wednesday, New Mexico traveled to Fort Collins, Colorado, and were blown out by Colorado State, 105-72. The Rams led by 23 at the half and then outscored the Lobos by 10 more in the second half.
JaQuan Lyle leads the team in scoring with 16.9 points per game while Vance Jackson is now the top rebounder averaging 4.8 per game. Caldwell, out on suspension but still on the team, averages 5.6 assists.
The Lobos have had a top offense scoring 80.1 points per game, ranking 23rd nationally. They shoot 49.9 percent from the field (7th). The defense, however, gives up 74.1 points per game, ranking 291st.
Rebels have won six of seven
UNLV was sitting at 4-8 in mid-December when they got hot and rattled off six wins in seven games, including four conference games. The Rebels’ lone loss in this span was at Boise State.
On Wednesday, UNLV defeated visiting San Jose State, 98-87. The Rebels led by six at the half and then outscored the Spartans by five in the second half.
Hardy leads the Rebels with 14.9 points per game while Diong is the top rebounder at 9.1 per game. Injured guard Elijah Metro-Long leads the team in assists with 3.8 per game.
UNLV scores 70.4 points per game, ranking 213th nationally. The Rebels are a little better on defense, giving up 68.4 points per game (168th).
The Bottom Line What to bet on this game.
Full-Game Side Bet
UNLV started the season slow under new coach T.J Otzelberger, but caught fire at the end of December and have now won six of their past seven games. The Rebels started to play better when the coach benched a couple of starters and inserted Marvin Coleman and Nick Blair into the starting lineup. Since then, they’ve hustled quite a bit more. New Mexico has been good pretty much all year, but now face the rest of the season without double-double machine Carlton Bragg, who was kicked off the team, and also J.J. Caldwell, who has been suspended. If Wednesday’s game against Colorado State is an indication of what to expect going forward, the Lobos will have a long stretch run to the season.
Full-Game Total Pick
Both UNLV and New Mexico have made their reputations as high-scoring teams. And while the Lobos have lived up to that reputation this season, the Rebels are have a quite pedestrian offense. UNLV is a poor shooting team, both from the field (43 percent, 216th) and from three-point range (31.7 percent, 256th). The Lobos’ offense has been excellent (80.1 pointer per game, 22nd) but that number was built with Bragg and Caldwell in the lineup. Without those two, it may be a long rest of the season.