It's hard to get a read on Tuesday's game at Portland for several reasons, most notably Mike Moser's health. But while his uncertain status may take this game off the boards in Vegas, I'm still forging ahead with a Moser-heavy "Over/Under" preview. (Note: These lines are set by me. For entertainment purposes only.)
Over/Under: 20.5 minutes for Quintrell Thomas
Even if Moser plays, I can't imagine him being near 100 percent after sitting out the previous two practices. So I see Quintrell Thomas getting the start and playing OVER 20.5 minutes. Thomas has been one of the team's pleasant surprises this season, providing tremendous interior defense and rebounding off the bench, so he won't be a liability if given extended playing time. The only way I see him not hitting this mark is if he gets into foul trouble, which has been a bit of a problem for Thomas.
Over/Under: 10.5 offensive rebounds for Portland
The Pilots are only averaging 9.4 offensive boards per game, but this is the area that Rice said he'd be most concerned about if Moser is unable to play. Moser brings down 9.2 rebounds per game, and his defensive rebounding percentage of 20.9 is tops on the team, so the Rebels would appear to be vulnerable with him hobbled. But Thomas has been boarding like a beast in limited minutes, and his defensive rebounding rate is not that far behind Moser's at 20.1 percent. Should Moser sit out (or play and prove ineffective), I trust Thomas to pick up the slack. Portland will go UNDER 10.5 offensive rebounds.
Over/Under: 23.5 points for Anthony Bennett
The conventional wisdom is that Anthony Bennett will get more touches and more scoring opportunities if Moser is sidelined, but I see Portland focusing most of their defensive attention on the freshman and forcing the rest of the Rebels to do the scoring. I also see UNLV having a big game in transition, and as we explored last week, Bennett hasn't been a big part of the fast break to this point in the season. If I had to project Bennett's line against Portland, I'd put him somewhere around 19-20 points. In other words, take the UNDER.
Over/Under: 22.5 made field goals for Portland
Portland is not a good offensive team (43 percent shooting, 62.9 points per game), and UNLV is one of the best defensive squads in the country. Even without Moser — their second-best defensive player at 0.516 points per possession allowed — the Rebels should be able to contain the Portland attack. Thomas doesn't represent a defensive drop-off, just a different type of defender. Expect Thomas to play center and Bennett to get most of the minutes at power forward. "With me and Anthony guarding the post, we'll be able to lock down better one-on-one," Thomas said. I agree. Portland will struggle to score in the paint and finish UNDER 22.5 field goals.
Over/Under: 11.5 made 3-pointers for UNLV
The Rebels have been shooting better as a team in recent games, so I'm tempted to take the over. And Portland isn't great at defending the 3-point line (37.0 pecent shooting for opponents), so I'm REALLY tempted to take the over. But UNLV should be able to exploit the paint effectively and score around the basket, so I don't see the need for the Rebels to launch 24 or 25 long balls. There's always a chance Katin Reinhardt gets hot and hits a bunch from long range, but taking the UNDER is the safe pick here.
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