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Preview: UNLV v. Texas Tech

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UNLV is averaging 77 points a game and is shooting 44.5% from the field. According to Ken Pomeroy's fancy stats, UNLV is the 43rd best team in the nation. UNLV rarely turns the ball over and I'm sure that much of this can be attributed to Kevin Kruger playing a 5th year after graduating last year from Arizona State (apparently, it's a new NCAA rule, which states that if you graduate before your eligibility expires then you can go play wherever you want without having to sit out a year).

Defensively, UNLV ranks 40th in the nation in adjusted defensive efficiency (i.e. points per 100 possessions). In fact, I believe they have been better defensively on the road than at home. They are also averaging 40.7 rebounds per game, which is 8 more than Tech's 32 boards a game.

Other than Kruger, UNLV is led by 6-6 Wendell White at 14 points and 4.6 boards per game. Jo'Van Adams is a 6-0 guard and also averages 14 points per game. Essengue and Terry round out the starting lineup. UNLV really lacks any formidable size and much like every other college team, really rely upon their guards.

Despite the rebounding differential, I expect Coach Knight to correct any issues Tech may have had against Butler in terms of rebounding. I doubt that Rizvic will get any significant playing time as the Runnin' Rebels are a fairly small squad. I also expect Tech to shoot better free throws this game. I don't believe that Knight would tolerate two less than stellar performances in a row.

I expect Tech to win this game. They are playing with passion and they are playing better than I expected. I have not heard one way or another on Burgess, but I'd like to see him in the game, as we could probably use some easy buckets against UNLV, in addition to Burgess's outstanding man defense. I'd also like to see Voskuil get some playing time off the bench, as it was fairly obvious that he's pretty darn useful behind the arc.

Give me the Texas Tech Red Raiders over the Runnin' Rebels of UNLV, 71-66.