Santa Clara vs. UNLV (Las Vegas Classic)
Game Time: 7:30 p.m. PST
TV: CBS Sports Network
Team Records: SCU – 6-5 – UNLV – 6-4
Leading Scorers: SCU – Clark 16.4 – UNLV – Smith 12.6
Leading Rebounders: SCU – Brown 6.5 – UNLV – Smith 13.8
Leading Distributors: SCU – Roquemore 3.9 – UNLV – Dejean Jones 3.4
In a de facto home game for UNLV, the Broncos will look to spoil the time of hundreds of Rebels fans at the Orleans Arena in Las Vegas, Nev.
AP Poll: NR
Coaches Poll: NR
With a 6-4 record at this junction of the season, the Rebels have been sort of a disappointment this season. After being projected to finish second in the Mountain West in the preseason, UNLV has dropped games to UC Santa Barbara, Arizona State, Illinois and Arizona. The Rebels best win has either been against Radford or Nebraska-Omaha. Long story short, UNLV lacks a marquee victory in the non-conference slate.
Player wise, the Runnin’ Rebels have a good one in Roscoe Smith. Smith is averaging a double-double this season with 12.6 points and 13.6 rebounds per game, both of which are leading the Rebels.
Smith’s backcourt mate Khem Birch is the rim protector of the two. Birch is averaging 4.1 blocks this season, which is good for the fourth best BPG in the nation.
The Rebels backcourt is led primarily by Bryce Dejean-Jones, who can do a little of everything. His 12.1 points, 4.0 rebounds and 3.4 assists per game make him the most multi-dimensional player on UNLV and a matchup nightmare.
Keys to the Game
The Santa Clara backcourt is its biggest strength, and needs to be at its best tonight in order for the Broncos to pull off the upset. Jared Brownridge and Brandon Clark need to score a lot of points, and Roquemore needs to make his teammates better and dish out assists. That is the best way the Broncos have of pulling off the upset.
Spread the court
It would be in the Broncos best interest to lure UNLV center Khem Birch away from the basket. Birch is among the best shot blockers in the nation, and forcing him to step out and guard players on the perimeter would be in Santa Clara’s best interest.
However, with John McArthur being out, there are not a lot of bigs on this Santa Clara roster that can do that.
While Santa Clara is playing better as of late, the Rebels have too much talent and athleticism for the Broncos. Also, it does not help that the Rebels are basically playing in front of a home crowd.
UNLV 85, Santa Clara 67