Game 3 of Saturday’s CBS College Basketball Triple Game pits San Diego State (8-3) against UNLV (8-5) in the Mountain West opener for both teams. As the league game begins, there is a clear separation between the two levels of MWC, with five teams in the top 65 of the NET rankings and the other six are at No.135 or below. UNLV is in the latter category at No. 136, but the Rebels will have the advantage on the field and start a four-game winning streak.
UNLV has beaten Seattle, Hartford, Omaha and San Diego by at least 13 points each in the last four games to turn the tide after a 4-5 start. First-year coach Kevin Kruger was promoted from the inside and did a solid job surrounding star goalie Bryce Hamilton with productive transfers. As they continue to regroup, the Rebels could end up being in the upper half of the league and not the lower half.
The Aztecs are still figuring things out offensively with the departure of last season’s top scorers Jordan Schakel and Matt Mitchell. But defensively, they allow only 58.5 points per game, the 18th at the national level. Big veteran man Nathan Mensah is a big reason why. Mensah leads Mountain West with 2.4 blocks per game. Cal Transfer Matt Bradley leads the way on offense with 14.7 points per game, but is shooting just 27.5% from 3 points after hitting 40.2% of his 3 points in three seasons with the Bears. As Bradley gets underway, SDSU will improve and potentially compete for an overall NCAA tournament offer.
How to watch San Diego State vs. UNLV live
San Diego State vs UNLV prediction, pick
It’s the first game since December 22 for both teams, so don’t be surprised if tired legs lead to an erratic attack from both sides. The kicker here is San Diego State’s elite defense, which maintains its opponents to just 58.5 points per game. The Aztecs should be able to send the defense back up and stifle the UNLV offensive. Prediction: San Diego State 65, UNLV 58
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