The Rebels kick off the 2012-13 regular season tonight against Northern Arizona at the Thomas & Mack Center (7 p.m.). Take your pick on five key Over/Under numbers that could determine the winner.
Over/Under: 21.5 attempted 3-pointers by UNLV
In the Rebels’ lone exhibition game, a closer-than-anticipated overtime win over Dixie State, they ended up attempting 32 3-pointers while making just six. Afterward, most everyone agreed that the shot selection wasn’t great. Coach Dave Rice gives all his players the green light when they open, but at the same time, settling for the first available 3-pointer isn’t always the answer. I think the Rebels will go OVER 21.5 long-distance attempts against Northern Arizona, but I also expect the quality of the shots to be better.
Over/Under: 7.5 assists for Anthony Marshall
Last season, UNLV was third in the nation in assists and assist percentage. Marshall is now taking the reins as the team’s primary point guard, and his ability to distribute will be key. Against Dixie State he dished out six assists in 34 minutes, and that was with the Rebels shooting poorly. I think they’ll rev up the fast break against NAU and Marshall will go OVER 7.5 assists.
Over/Under: 22.5 fast break points for UNLV
For up-tempo teams, 20 transition points in a game is generally considered a good day at the office. The Rebels generated just 14 fast break points against Dixie State, and only four in the second half. But they showed flashes of being a high-powered transition offense, and I think the personnel fit the system well. Still, it’s early in the season and I don’t expect the engine to be operating at peak efficiency just yet. Plus, Northern Arizona showed they can slow the game down in their opener against Oregon, as the two teams combined for just six fast break points total. I think the Rebels will push it when the can, but ultimately come in UNDER.
Over/Under: 10.5 rebounds for Mike Moser
Coincidentally, this is exactly what Moser averaged last year. There was a lot of offseason talk about a move to the perimeter, but opening night is here and Moser is once again starting at his familiar power forward spot. That may change as the season goes on, but for now the Rebels need Moser to anchor the inside and handle the glass. If he can avoid foul trouble (he fouled out against Dixie State in just 25 minutes), he’ll go OVER.
Over/Under: 67 points for Northern Arizona
As mentioned earlier, the Lumberjacks generally like to play at a slow pace. But even if they decide to match UNLV’s tempo, I still like the Rebels’ chances of keeping them UNDER. After a lackluster effort against Dixie State, Rice and his staff were relentless in preaching defensive intensity in practice. Northern Arizona has some good offensive players (senior guard Gabe Rogers is one to watch), but if the Rebels put together a solid 40-minute effort, the defense will be smothering.
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