MWC BBall: UNLV Aims for 10th Straight Win
The Mountain West Conference features two big games today, including a true test for UNLV as it seeks its 10th consecutive victory, and a tough road challenge for Air Force as it travels to the swamp to take on the 14th ranked Florida Gators. Here is the rundown on each contest and some solid point spread picks.
Air Force Falcons +21 at #14 Florida Gators -20.5
Although the Gators have dropped two of their last three to Kansas State and Arizona, they are still a team to be feared, especially at home where they are 7-0 so far this season. The Gators can rack up points just as well as they defend the hoop, scoring more than 72 points per game, while also holding opponents to under 36% shooting this season.
Gators defends will have their hands full today though, as Air Force comes in as the 15th best shooting team in the country, draining just over 49% of their field goals this year. The Falcons are lead by Michael Lyons, who is scoring 20.5 points per contest.
While the Falcons run their offense through one primary player, the Gators disperse the scoring amongst four players who all average double figures. Florida’s defense will be able to dial in on Lyons, limiting his production, while spreading the ball around offense with most likely successful results.
Although there’s no doubt the Gators should win this one at home, I do think 20 points is a bit much. The Falcons’ offense should be able to keep them in the contest unless they go ice cold. Take Air Force to cover +21 today.
#20 UNLV Runnin’ Rebels +4 at North Carolina Tar Heels -3.5
The Rebels are currently runnin’ hot on a nine game winning streak, but they’ll face their first true test today as they battle the Tar Heels at the Dean Smith Center in Chapel Hill, where the Heels are 6-0 this season. With a 9-3 record, the Heels are unranked and not off so their best start to say the least, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t still one of the most dangerous teams in the country; a squad that can turn it on at any time.
However, last year the Rebels proved they can hang with the big boys when they defeated the Tar Heels, which were No. 1 ranked at the time, in Las Vegas. This year they are returning most of the team that pulled off the upset last year and have even added a new star, freshman Anthony Bennett, who is leading the team in scoring and rebounds this season with averages of 19.5 and 8.5 respectively.
It appears that UNLV is on the upswing, whereas North Carolina is struggling lately and considering UNLV beat the Heels last year with arguably a lesser squad, it seems like it should get the job done today, even on the road. Look for the Rebels to keep things rolling and earn the victory, covering +4 in the process.