2012 College Basketball Picks: San Diego State @ UNLV Odds and Predictions – Free NCAAB Picks 2/11/2012

Free College Basketball Picks and Spreads: San Diego State @ UNLV 2012 NCAA Basketball Vegas Odds, Free Picks, and Expert Predictions on NBCS 2/11/12: The top spot in the Mountain West Conference will be up for grabs Saturday when the 14th-ranked San Diego State Aztecs (20-3) go on the road to face the 16th-ranked UNLV Runnin’ Rebels (21-4). The game is a rematch of an earlier meeting that the Aztecs won 69-67 at home on a last-second shot. This time, the Runnin’ Rebels will have the home crowd on their side as they look for revenge and first place in the conference. In fact, UNLV is undefeated on its home court this season and is a 10-point favorite against its conference rival.

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In the first meeting, UNLV guard Anthony Marshall kept his team in the game basically by himself. He scored 26 points, while no other player managed to crack double figures. Meanwhile, SDSU guards Jamaal Franklin and James Rahon both went for 20-plus points, and Franklin hit the eventual game winner with less than a second remaining. Despite losing the game, the Runnin’ Rebels may actually be the more confident team heading into the rematch. After all, they played one of their worst games of the year but lost by just two points on the road.

Looking at the stat sheet, UNLV appears to be the more balanced team. The Runnin’ Rebels are eighth in the country in scoring offense, third in assists per game and 19th in rebounding. In contrast, the Aztecs don’t rank in the top 50 in any of those categories. That being said, SDSU was able to dictate the tempo in the first meeting, turning the game into an ugly, low-scoring affair. If the Aztecs can do the same Saturday, UNLV’s impressive numbers will once again mean nothing.

If the Runnin’ Rebels are going to turn the tables this weekend, they have to take advantage of their size in the post. Power forward Mike Moser is averaging a team-best 14.5 points per game and 11.5 rebounds, and small forward Chace Stanback is second on the team with 13.7 points. However, neither player cracked double figures in the January showdown with the Aztecs, even though San Diego State starts four guards. Moser in particular should be able to dominate in the paint.

While the smaller lineup could leave the Aztecs susceptible to Moser and Stanback on the defensive end, it could also pose issues for UNLV’s defense. Franklin, Mahon, Chase Tapley and Xavier Thames are averaging 52.1 points per game combined. Franklin and Tapley are the main scorers, with Franklin doing a lot of damage by penetrating and getting to the foul line and Tapley shooting 43.3 percent from beyond the 3-point line. In the first meeting with UNLV, the Aztecs’ unconventional four-guard lineup confused the Runnin’ Rebels on both ends of the court.

In January, UNLV played out of its comfort zone. San Diego State controlled the tempo, and the Runnin’ Rebels’ normally high-powered offense was in disarray. Playing at home with nearly a month to make adjustments from the January meeting, UNLV should have the upper hand. After all, the Runnin’ Rebels essentially played their worst game of the season against SDSU in January and only lost by a basket in the final seconds. UNLV has a size advantage that it failed to take advantage of the first time around. The Runnin’ Rebels won’t make that same mistake twice. That being said, San Diego State’s style of play is conducive to creating close games, and in its two losses to ranked opponents this year, SDSU has stayed within 10 points. The Aztecs should be able to do the same again Saturday.

Prediction: San Diego State Aztecs (+10) Cover the Spread

College Basketball: San Diego State @ UNLV
Date: 2/11/12
Time: 4:00 PM EST on NBCS
Vegas Odds Favorite: UNLV -10 Total: Over/Under 143.5

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