The Pepperdine Waves travel to the desert for a clash with the UNLV Runnin’ Rebels at the Thomas & Mack Center in Las Vegas. There aren’t any marquee games on the schedule tonight, but Marquette and Creighton might peak the interest of most people. I’m not that high on Marquette while others seem to believe otherwise.
Despite their win over Wisconsin, Marquette has to beat a team like Creighton on the road to garner more respect from me. In their first big test of the season, Marquette came up short against UCLA. We will have you covered for the Marquette-Creighton game, so be sure to pay attention to the college basketball page for more picks.
Pepperdine are off to an up and down start in their 2020-21 campaign. I would say there has been more good than bad for the Waves. They were a competitive team against UCLA and San Diego State. A couple of bounces go their direction, and they would have beaten two very good programs. UCLA and San Diego State are both likely going to the NCAA Tournament, so no shame in two close losses.
The Waves came a point away from beating UCLA in regulation. They ultimately went to overtime, where the Bruins outlasted Pepperdine by a score of 107-98. It might have been a loss, but credit the Waves for going toe-to-toe with a superior program talent wise. They just about pulled off another upset over San Diego State on December 6, but came up short in a 65-60 loss.
Flip those two games and Pepperdine would be going into Monday night with a perfect record of 6-0. They weren’t able to upset UCLA, but knocked down another Pac-12 school on December 9 in a 74-62 win over the Golden Bears of Cal. Kessler Edwards got hot for 26 points in the program’s first win over Cal.
UNLV are coming off a much needed 68-58 win over Kansas State on December 5 to move to 1-4 on the season. They avoided a winless 0-5 hole, but still have a lot of work to do. In their biggest matchup of the season, the North Carolina Tar Heels toyed with the Runnin’ Rebels for a 78-51 win. UNLV also has losses against Montana State, Alabama, and Davidson. Pepperdine presents another tough challenge on Monday at the Thomas & Mack Center. Head below for our free Pepperdine vs. UNLV pick for December 14, 2020.
Pepperdine Waves vs. UNLV Runnin’ Rebels NCAA Betting Odds:
Pepperdine vs. UNLV Prediction:
UNLV must be prepared going into this contest on Monday night. If they play a lazy game, then Pepperdine should be able to pull away for a win in Las Vegas. Pepperdine were a run of the mill program last season, as they posted a record of 16-16 before the season was called. The Waves had an offense that could shoot the lights out, so that was certainly working in their favor. Pepperdine scored an average of 76.3 points a game for 46th out of 353 teams in the NCAA.
However, with one of the worst defenses in the nation, Pepperdine was seemingly stuck in mud. The Waves gave up an average of 77.1 points per game for 330th. There weren’t a lot of teams in the NCAA that were worse defensively than the Waves. There have been positives for the defense thus far in the 2020-21 campaign. For instance, they held San Diego State to 65 points and Cal to 62 points.
There has also been reminders of the porous unit from last year. Pepperdine recently gave up 89 points in a 89-84 loss to Cal State on Saturday. The offense is still dangerous, though, as the Waves go into Las Vegas with an average of 82.7 points scored per game for 51st in the country. The Runnin’ Rebels have conceded 78 points per game, with UNC really the only dangerous offense out of their schedule.
Montana State easily cut through UNLV for 91 points, while Alabama scored 86 points, and Davidson filled the net for 73 points. Expect a dangerous offense like Pepperdine to impose their will on the Rebels in this contest. The defense isn’t elite by any means, but they should show improvement and emphasize defense after Cal State touched them up for 89 points. We saw what they are capable of when they focus like they did against Cal and San Diego State. I’m on Pepperdine in a 80-73 type of game on Monday night in Las Vegas.