With Oregon coming to the Thomas & Mack Center on Friday, followed by either Iowa State or Cincinnati on Saturday, this weekend represents the Rebels’ biggest test of the season to date.
UNLV has been up and down in their first two contests, both against lower-level opponents. Can the Rebels put together a full 40-minute effort on both ends of the court this weekend at the Global Sports Classic?
Let’s find out by playing a game of Over/Under. (Note: These lines are set by me. For entertainment purposes only.)
Over/Under: 25.5 minutes per game for Anthony Bennett
The freshman phenom has played like a star in his first two college games, but he hasn’t gotten the minutes of a star player (21.0 minutes per game). That’s in part because big men have to be in superior condition to play at UNLV’s pace, and also due to game situations. But now that the opponents’ talent level is ramping up, I expect Dave Rice to ride Bennett a little harder. I’m extremely tempted to take the over, but given the way Quintrell Thomas has come on strong as the backup, I still think Bennett will come in just a shade UNDER 25.5 minutes.
Over/Under: 5.5 turnovers for Anthony Marshall
Marshall’s play has been just about spotless so far, with 12 assists and four turnovers through two games. But the opposing defenses are about to get a little more daunting. Oregon isn’t particularly tough on D, but Iowa State and Cincinnati can both muck things up on the defensive end. The Rebels kicked the ball away a bit against Jacksonville State, but Marshall is one guy who never lost control. He stressed taking care of the ball when I talked to him after practice this week, and I think we’ll see more good basketball from him this weekend. Take the UNDER and feel good about it.
Over/Under: 4.5 3-pointers made by Katin Reinhardt
Reinhardt hasn’t shot the lights out yet (3-13 from long range), but some of his makes have come in huge situations. This isn’t a guy who’s going to shy away from his first big test as a collegian. He’ll keep firing, and the shots are eventually going to drop. If you gave me this line for any two-game stretch on the schedule, I’d take the OVER.
Over/Under: 28.5 points for Bryce Dejean-Jones
Who is the Rebels’ best pure scorer? I might have to say it’s Dejean-Jones, who moved into the starting lineup against Jacksonville State after posting 15 points in the opener. He’s averaging 11.5 per game right now, but he’ll do more work as he continues to knock off the injury rust. The only thing that’s keeping me from taking the over here is UNLV’s depth. Six players average double figures, and the shots are pretty evenly distributed. I can see BDJ scoring 17 against Oregon, 11 against Iowa State/Cincinnati and finishing just UNDER this line.
Over/Under: 12.5 rebounds for Quintrell Thomas
Rebounding will be a huge key for the Rebels all season. Any team that wants to fast break has got to take care of the boards, and so far Thomas has been extremely productive in that area. The senior is playing 15.5 minutes per game and grabbing just about every rebound in sight — his defensive rebounding percentage is 40.9, and he’s averaging 7.0 boards per game. Thomas has been so effective that he may start eating into Carlos Lopez-Sosa’s minutes, so I’m taking the OVER for this one.
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