Utah State Aggies vs. UNLV Runnin’ Rebels – NCAAM March 11

Mountain West Quarterfinal

(2) Utah State (18-7, 15-4) vs. (7) UNLV (12-14, 8-10)

  • Time: 6 PST – 8 CST – 9 EST
  • Place: Thomas & Mack Center, Las Vegas, Nev.
  • TV: CBS Sports Network

Opening Tip:

Utah State has work to do to solidify itself inside of the NCAA Tournament bubble and the Aggie know there can be no slip up against UNLV, who annually plays this tournament on it’s home floor.

The Aggies have won four in a row and finished second in the league and will be looking for a 3-peat as they won this tournament the past two seasons.

Another tough season for the Runnin’ Rebels had lost three out of four before they rolled to an easy 80-52 win over Air Force yesterday.

The two teams split the season series as the Runnin’ Rebels took a 59-56 win in Las Vegas on Jan 25 and Utah State won 83-74 two days later.

Vs. The Spread:

UNLV:

  • The Runnin’ Rebels are 4-10 ATS in their last 14 games
  • The total has gone OVER in UNLV’s last 5 games
  • The OVER has been the play in 5 of the Runnin’ Rebels’ last 6 games

Utah State:

  • The Aggies are 1-5 ATS in their last 6 games
  • The total has gone OVER in 4 of Utah State’s last 6 games
  • Utah State is 16-4 SU in it’s last 20 games.

Last Time Out:

David Jenkins scored 21 points and hit six threes as UNLV rolled to an 80-52 win over Air Force. UNLV shot 57 percent from the floor and out rebounded the Falcons, 38-17. Bryce Hamilton had a big game for UNLV as well as he totaled 18 points.

Utah State scored a 57-51 win over Fresno State last Sunday as Neemias Queta had 13 points and 11 rebounds while Justin bean had 13 points and 12 boards. Utah State’s defense held the Bulldogs to 34.6 percent from the floor as the Aggies held Fresno State’s leading scorer Orlando Robinson to 12 points on 4-of-15 shooting

Teams Spread Money Line Total Points
UNLV +10½ (-110) +400 O 137 (-115)
Utah State -10½ (-110) -505 U 137 (-105)

Advantage, UNLV:

Who would have thought that slower possession length would be the way UNLV would want to play in any game at any time as long as college basketball exists. It’s coach T.J. Otzelberger’s method as the Runnin’ Rebels average 18.5 seconds per offensive possession. Point guard David Jenkins, Jr., and Bryce Hamilton are the forefront of the UNLV offense. Hamilton can’t the three (33) and get to the line, but using his athleticism as a slasher is his best attribute. Jenkins makes 43.2 percent of his triples and he can also get to the rim. Check Mbacke Diong is a solid 6-11 center who had made 61.7 percent of his shots and leads with 27 block

Key Runnin’ Rebels Stat:

Hamilton averages 18 points per game and is the league’s third leading scorer. He also leads UNLV with 3.0 steal per game and steals at 1.3 steals. Hamilton could be a problem for the Aggies with his athletic ability and the fact that he can figure in both the offensive and defensive attacks in several ways.

X-Factor:

Caleb Grill is the three leading three-point shooter behind Jenkins as he has netted 53 on the year. Grill starts at a 2-guard but has tallied 61 assists, behind Nick Blake who has also worked his way into the back court by averaging 20.8 minutes per game.

Advantage, Utah State:

Utah State Aggies LogoCenter Neemias Queta brought home plenty of hardware as the MW Player of the Year by the media and the MW Defensive POY by league coaches. Queta is dominant on both ends of the floor as he shot 54.6 percent and got to the line 116 times while blocking 75 shots and accruing 29 steals. His dominance allows the Aggies 3-point game to flourish as they have made 34 percent this season. The Runnin’ Rebels are last in the league in defending the three as they do so at a 36.5 percent clip.

Key Aggies Stat:

Brock Miller and Steven Ashworth lead the Utah State three-point attack as both shoot around 39 percent. The Aggies have four other players that go for double figures from behind the arc. The team has totaled only 16 combined in the last three games, so they are looking to get this part of their identity squared away in order to advance in the tournament.

X-Factor:

Alphonso Anderson and Marco Anthony are a pair of key contributors as role players. Anderson has made 19 triples and can get to the line while Anthony has averaged 10 points per game as he transferred from Virginia after being member of the Cavaliers’ national championship team in 2019.

Winner: Utah State 73, UNLV (+10½) 68

The Bets
Utah State -10½
-110
Utah State
-505
OVER 137
-115
Sub Categories:
Kenneth Cross / Author

Kenneth Cross is a new entry to The Sports Geek staff as he has 25 years of experience in print, broadcast, and internet sports journalism. Cross is a lover of all sports, but college basketball is his passion. He estimates that he has seen around 1,500 college basketball games - live and in-person - and hopes that grows this season. If you listen to Radio, you have likely heard him on Sundays covering the Carolina Panthers for some 20 years. Now in Tampa Bay, he works as a national radio correspondent.