NCAA Basketball Picks: Southern Utah to Avoid Blowout Against UNLV

Charles Stark

Wednesday, November 18, 2015 12:19 PM GMT

Wednesday, Nov. 18, 2015 12:19 PM GMT

For Wednesday night's college basketball action we head to Las Vegas where the UNLV Runnin Rebels take on the Southern Utah Thunderbirds. NCAAB odds analysis and free picks inside.

NCAA odds
Oddsmakers have UNLV at a -15.5 favorite across the board (has now moved to -15), and, when we look at the matchups on paper, it makes sense.  For my NCAA pick of the day, though, I am going to back Southern Utah plus the points to lose by less than double digits. Good NCAA Basketball odds can be found on the Thunderbirds -106 at Pinnacle.

 

Southern Utah Thunderbirds
In their one game this year against Utah they scored 71 points, shot 50% from the field, and 52.6% from beyond the arc. They will have to shoot the ball well against a very athletic team in UNLV that defended the perimeter pretty decently against Cal Poly. Head coach Nick Robinson spent a lot of his time in the coaching ranks under Trent Johnson, and I have respect for Johnson who is a better than average NCAA coach. What I like about Southern Utah is they have all five starters back with two of them from Las Vegas in Travon Langston and Trey Kennedy. They are small starting four guards, but if they can knock down their three's like they did against Utah they should hang semi close in this game.

Defensively against Utah, the Thunderbirds allowed 82 points, 46.9% shooting from the field, and 27.6% from beyond the arc. What will be trouble for the Thunderbirds is the size advantage they will face against UNLV. They will need to be as opportunistic as possible and force the Rebels into tough shots because there is no way they will win the rebound battle. Limiting a lot of second chances will be key to staying within the number, but this is a veteran squad and they can score, which makes me like them getting the big number.

 

UNLV Runnin Rebels
Against Cal Poly UNLV scored 74 points, shot 45.1% from the field, and 21.4% from beyond the arc. This is kind of a make or break year for Dave Rice but the talent is there for them to make a run at the Mountain West title. They lost leading scorer Rashad Vaughn who went to the Bucks as the 17th pick of the draft, but they return Patrick McCaw and Jordan Cornish who can shoot the three. Add in senior Jerome Seagears and freshman seven footer Stephen Zimmerman and this team has some weapons.

Defensively against Cal Poly, UNLV allowed 72 points, 40% shooting from the field, and 28% from beyond the arc. As mentioned, I think there is no doubt they're going to win the rebounding game, but the key will be getting out and defending beyond the arc. If they do that, they can win this game by 20, but it seems to me Southern Utah has some solid veterans to score enough to keep this game relatively close until the end.

Athletically, this is no contes,t but 15 is a pretty big number. For one of your NCAA Basketball picks, I recommend taking Southern Utah to not pull off the upset but to hang within this number. Look for the Thunderbirds to make enough three pointers to keep this game kind of in reach until the latter part of the second half but to cover the spread.

Free NCAA Basketball Pick: Southern Utah +15 at BetOnline

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