New Mexico Lobos at UNLV Runnin’ Rebels (-2.5, 127.5)
Top-seeded New Mexico looks to defend its Mountain West Conference tournament title when it meets UNLV at the Thomas & Mack Center in Las Vegas on Saturday. The No. 14 Lobos, who have won back-to-back regular-season conference titles, cruised past San Diego State in the semifinals, which was a rematch of last year's championship game.
UNLV is clearly enjoying its homecourt advantage in the tournament. Playing in front of a raucous sellout crowd, the third-seeded Rebels pulled away from second-seeded Colorado State in Friday's other semifinal. The Runnin' Rebels are 18-2 at home and 35-3 over the past two years at the venue. UNLV has won three of the 10 MWC tournaments held in Las Vegas.
TV: 6 p.m. ET, CBS
ABOUT NEW MEXICO (28-5): The Lobos used a 24-4 run that spanned halftime to pull away from the Aztecs. New Mexico got a lot of energy from an estimated 6,000 of its fans that helped fill the arena. Lobo guard Kendall Williams looks to snap out of a scoring funk in the final. He has 13 points in his first two tournament games after leading the team in scoring during the season. The MWC Player of the Year had six assists against the Aztecs, though. Tony Snell led New Mexico with 17 points. He was injured when he collided with Aztec star Jamaal Franklin late in the game, but he returned to finish the contest. Alex Kirk added 15 points and nine rebounds. "In my opinion, (Kirk) is the best defender in the league," New Mexico coach Steve Alford said.
ABOUT UNLV (25-8): The Jekyll-and Hyde season continued for the Rebels on Friday. At times UNLV has been among the nation's best teams and at others it has been lethargic. On Friday they outgunned the NCAA-bound Rams 75-65, getting 21 points from Katin Reinhardt and 19 from freshman Anthony Bennett. UNLV owns a 64-55 victory over New Mexico after dropping a 65-60 decision at New Mexico this season. UNLV is 9-1 at home against conference teams with its lone loss a shocking upset by Fresno State.
* Under is 4-1 in the last five meetings.
* Under is 4-1 in Lobos’ last five vs. a team with a winning S.U. record.
* Lobos are 5-1 ATS in their last six games vs. a team with a winning percentage above .600.
1. Snell tied a school tournament record with five 3-pointers Friday.
2. UNLV is a conference-best 21-9 in MWC tournament play.
3. The No. 1 seed has won the tournament only twice in 13 years.