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It’s Bad to Worse for the UNLV Runnin’ Rebels

It’s Bad to Worse for the UNLV Runnin’ Rebels

In a season that started out with so much promise, things just seem to be going from bad to worse for the UNLV Runnin’ Rebels. The Rebels dropped to 13-9 after a humiliating 67-52 home loss to San Diego State on Saturday and also lost their heart and soul and arguably best player Ben Carter who will be lost for the season with a torn ACL. The Rebels shot just 33% from the field and just 21.4% from behind the arc in a game they were never in. UNLV fell to 4-2 under interim head coach Todd Simon who took over for Dave Rice who resigned/was fired on January 10th. The Runnin’ Rebels are up against it again tonight as they face New Mexico, a team they embarrassed just three, at The Pit in Albuquerque. The current Vegas line at this writing is Lobos -3 with the total openingat 150 but has been bet down to 147 1/2.

The loss of Oregon transfer Carter (8.6, 6.0) is huge for UNLV. Carter was the energy guy and played a huge roll as the first one off the bench. He’s was a lunch pail guy that didn’t need touches and did all the dirty work and hustle plays so lacking in Vegas this year. He cannot be replaced. Five players average between 12.8 and 9.0 ppg. but the real story behind UNLV is that they are the most talented team in the Mountain West … are content to jack three’s at a very poor percentage, are brutal from the foul line and generally show up to play whenever they want. On any given night (wins against Oregon, Indiana) they can be very good. Most nights they are not very good and find ways to not close people out and give games away.

New Mexico struggles in non-conference play thanks in large part to key injuries and to a challenging schedule. The Lobos are healthy at this point and have won six of their eight conference games, good for second behind San Diego State. Elijah Brown, son of former Cavs and Laker HC Mike Brown, is the straw that stirs the drink at New Mexico. The 6’4 shooting guard transfer from Butler is averaging 20.3 ppg. and shhot better than 46% from the field, 40+% from behind the arc. Cullen Neal (14.4, 4.2) is the coaches son and is a heady point guard that runs the Lobo attack. Tim Williams is the New Mexico man in the paint and the Samford transfer is far and a way the Lobos best paint player averaging 16.7 ppg. to go along with 7.6 boards.

This has been an unusual series with the road team winning four of the last five. The teams have split the last four years with the Rebels winning the last two here in one of the more historically daunting home venues in college basketball. Mountain West home teams of less than five points are an eye opening 3-8 ATS but the Lobos have won their last three games here by 12+ points. This is a real gut check game for UNLV who hasn’t stepped up to the occasion most times over the last five years. New Mexico is playing their best ball of the year and will have payback on their mind for an 86-64 drubbing in Sin City back on January 12th in the first game after Rice was replaced. Same
year revenge and the Ben Carter injury will have us seriously looking at the home team here tonight.

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