UNLV vs. #25 SDSU: Game Preview, How To Watch, Odds, Prediction
The Aztecs are playing so well that they’ve waged victory in venues where the playing field is level- and in venues where it is not.
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The Aztecs have won 30 of their last 34 home games. Steve Fisher Court at Viejas Arena is a seriously tough venue.
WHEN: Saturday, Feb. 11th – 1:00 p.m. PST / 4:00 p.m. EST
WHERE: Viejas Arena, San Diego, CA (Capacity 12,414)
RADIO: San Diego Sports 760 / SiriusXM App ch. 968
SERIES RECORD: San Diego State and UNLV meet for the 79th time Saturday afternoon. The Aztecs hold a 41-37 series advantage. The Aztecs have won the last four.
LAST MEETING: The Aztecs defeated the Runnin’ Rebels 76-67 at the Thomas & Mack Center in Las Vegas during their first conference meeting on December 31st, 2022.
WEBSITES: GoAztecs.com, the official San Diego State athletics website; UNLVRebels.com, the official UNLV athletics website.
ODDS: SDSU -9.5
San Diego, CA – The No. 25 SDSU Aztecs (19-5, 10-2 MW) host the UNLV Runnin’ Rebels (16-8, 5-7 MW) for game two of their in-conference series. In their first meeting the Aztecs bested the Runnin’ Rebels 76-67 at the Thomas & Mack Center on December 31st.
SDSU comes off of a crucial 63-61 road win against Utah State, for first place in the Mountain West. Wednesday’s match was riddled with questionable officiating; sketchy ejections and non-ejections- and not one, not two, but FOUR unexplained mid-game clock stoppages, along with a ten-minute unscheduled break to review player activity. The Aztecs escaped victorious in Logan from a match that, at least according to fans, appeared to be “rigged” against SDSU. In the end, the Aztecs outclassed the Aggies in more ways than one.
The UNLV Runnin’ Rebels moved to 16-8 after defeating Wyoming in Laramie. The Rebels pulled away from the Cowboys after the break and won by ten in a game where OU transfer guard EJ Harkless just took the game over and relentlessly manufactured points.
Tip-off is set for 1:00 p.m. PST, and the Aztecs open as 9.5-point favorites, as they seek a fifth straight win over the Runnin’ Rebels.
Who will win? Let’s take a closer look.
Why The Runnin’ Rebels Will Win
UNLV is scoring 76.1 points per game, while allowing 68.5 ppg and shooting 44.5% from the field. EJ Harkless is averaging 18.1 points and 5.1 rebounds, while Keshon Gilbert is averaging 12.3 points and 3.6 assists. Luis Rodriguez is the third double-digit scorer and Justin Webster is grabbing 2.2 rebounds.
The UNLV Rebels are shooting 35.7 percent from beyond the arc and 71 percent from the free throw line. The UNLV Rebels are allowing 35.1 percent shooting from deep and are grabbing an impressive 31.5 rebounds per game.
Against the Cowboys in Laramie, Harkless went off making a season-high five 3-pointers and leading all scorers with a career-high-tying 33 points, while Gilbert chipped in 10 points for UNLV.
The Runnin’ Rebels can get hot, and Harkless can get on fire.
Why The Aztecs Will Win
The No. 25-ranked Aztecs are in sole possession of first place in the Mountain West. At Viejas, the Aztecs have defeated UNLV in seven of its last eight meetings. San Diego State has won 30 of its last 34 conference home contests (30-4), since the start of the 2019-20 campaign, and overall has been victorious in 12 of its last 13 (12-1) and 22 of its last 24 (22-2) Mountain West home games.
In their last outing, Senior Matt Bradley finished the Utah State win with a game-high 18 points. It was his 15th 10-plus point game of the season Bradley sank his first seven field goal attempts and finished the night 7-of-10 from the floor, including 2-of-2 from the bonus distance. Senior Jaedon LeDee managed his first double double as an Aztec with 14 points and 10 rebounds at Utah State. He was 5-of-8 from the field and 4-of-4 from the charity stripe and four of his 10 rebounds were offensive boards.
Junior forward Michah Parrish put down double figures (12 points) for the sixth time in the 2022-23 campaign. He matched his season best with six boards at Utah State and in games in which he pulled down at least six rebounds, the Aztecs are 9-2. Junior guard Lamont Butler dished out a team-high five assists. It was the seventh time this season (6-1) and the 15th time in his career (31-2) that he paced the team in assists.
The Aztecs are very hard to beat right now at Viejas Arena.
What Will Happen
In their first conference match the Aztecs took care of business against the Runnin’ Rebels in Las Vegas. This time the Aztecs have home court, on the Mesa, surrounded by their fans.
The Aztecs are battle tested having played the seventh toughest schedule in the nation based on its average opponent’s NET rank through February 8.
The only schools in the AP Top 25 to have played a tougher schedule than SDSU are No. 9 Kansas with the toughest schedule in the nation and No. 3 Alabama with the fourth most difficult slate. UNLV in comparison has the 82nd most difficult schedule.
The Aztecs will have to work hard to contain Harkless and keep the Runnin’ Rebels from getting red hot. The Aztecs will manage a ten-point margin of victory, notching their 20th win of the season in front of their home crowd.
Final Score: SDSU 78, UNLV 68