Back 'Over' With Your NCAA Basketball Picks As UNLV & Boise St. Light Up The Scoreboards

Willie Bee

Tuesday, February 23, 2016 2:14 PM GMT

Tuesday, Feb. 23, 2016 2:14 PM GMT

Slumping with four losses in their L6, Boise St. will get into tourney mode on Tuesday vs. UNLV. Find out the reasons why we're backing the total for our NCAA basketball picks.

It has been a rather difficult season for the UNLV Rebels, and former head coach Dave Rice already paid the price for it in what was nothing short of a knee-jerk reaction by the university to fire him. There still may be more fallout from that decision since rumors are that several players and recruits will not be there next season.

If there's any light at the end of the tunnel, it is knowing UNLV will host the Mountain West Tournament slated to begin in about two weeks. Having the home fans behind you is nice, but the Rebels would rather not have to play in the first round, something they will have to do as the current 6th-place team in the MWC standings.

They can possibly slide up a notch if the Rebels can win out. If so, that means heading out on the road and upsetting the Boise State Broncos Tuesday night, their 11 PM (ET) contest to be carried by ESPNU. The contest opened with the Broncos laying 7 and the spread has been slowly climbing to 8 at most shops, a few such as Bookmaker still listing it at -7½. Scoreboard players can find the total in the 150½-151½ range.

 

Rebels Seeking 1st Win In Boise Since 2012
The Broncos had won three straight from the Rebels before UNLV posted an 87-77 victory at Thomas & Mack Center on January 27 to halt that streak. The Rebels not only stopped the skid vs. Boise State, but also covered for their backers who were laying 3½ on the NCAA basketball odds, the final hopping past a total of 150.

Boise took an 8-point lead into the locker room before UNLV shifted into high gear in the second half, taking the Broncos out on 9-0 and 7-0 runs during the final 20 minutes. Patrick McCaw led all scorers with 25 points, his performance including a stellar 5-of-6 from beyond the arc. Mikey Thompson topped the Broncos with 19, though he also committed five of BSU's 18 turnovers.

Last season's tilt at Taco Bell Arena needed overtime to settle, Boise State coming away with an 82-73 decision as 5½ point chalk. The Broncos also held an 8-point halftime lead in that one before UNLV forced extra play, and the game easily got past a 129 point total. The last four games played in Boise were winners for bettors holding 'over' tickets.

 

BSU Slumping With 4 Losses Last 6 Games
Interim head coach Todd Simon has at least gotten the UNLV (16-12 straight up, 13-12 against the spread) ship righted after starting conference play with three losses. The Rebels immediately won three games after Rice's dismissal, and are 7-5 on the MWC fixture since dropping those initial three games.

They took one step towards closing in on fifth place with a 102-91 overtime victory vs. Nevada this past Saturday, UNLV's second game to go OT in 14 days. McCaw's 3-pointer sent the game past regulation and Jordan Cornish scored seven in overtime as the Rebels covered a -5 spread at home.

They lost 7-foot freshman Stephen Zimmerman to a knee injury earlier this month, and may be without sophomore Dwayne Morgan for a second straight game tonight. Morgan is listed as questionable with a shoulder injury.

Things started well in the conference for Leon Rice and Boise State (17-10 SU, 12-12-1 ATS). The Broncos began 4-0 on the MWC Slate before a tough loss to San Diego State, but they bounced back with two more wins after the defeat. They have since lost four of six, the most recent last Wednesday at New Mexico where the +2½ the Broncos were getting was just enough to cover the 80-78 setback.

Both the series trend and recent outcomes by both sides have me making my free NCAA basketball pick on the final skipping past the total.

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Free NCAA Basketball Pick: Over 150½
Best Line Offered: at Pinnacle

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