After beating Long Beach State by 35 on Wednesday to snap a three-game losing streak, the Arizona Wildcats (4-3) return to action Saturday when they will face the UNLV Rebels (6-1) in their first true road game of the season.
Arizona (4-3) opened as 3.5-point favorites over UNLV (6-1). KenPom gives the Wildcats a 75-percent chance of winning with a predicted final score of 82-75.
Here are our predictions. Be sure to leave yours in the comment section.
Ryan Kelapire — UNLV wins 87-80
Researching Saturday’s game, I learned that Arizona is just 1-8 all-time against UNLV in Las Vegas.
Even some of Arizona’s best teams of all-time — like the 2014-15 squad — lost in Thomas & Mack to a mediocre UNLV team.
Arizona has gotten off to a slow start and its defense is horrific, ranking 209th (of 351) in college basketball in defensive efficiency. UNLV is pretty balanced, ranking 30th in offensive efficiency and 35th in defensive efficiency and while it hasn’t had a tough schedule, it did beat Utah by 27 points.
Arizona is still probably the better team right now, but not by a wide margin and it has struggled away from McKale this season (and historically at UNLV as a whole), so I am going to go with the Rebels in what should be a high-scoring affair since both teams play at a quick pace.
Alec Sills-Trausch — Arizona wins 71-61
Sean Miller's press conference lights a fire under the previously lackluster Cats. Allonzo Trier and Deandre Ayton lead the way in Vegas and Arizona heads into its match up against Texas A&M with a two-game winning streak.
Jason Bartel — UNLV wins 92-80
Ryan has done all my research for me on this topic.
Even without knowing that road win-loss record against the Rebs, I still would’ve gone UNLV based solely on the way they dismantled Utah. I also like that their only loss is to a Northern Iowa team that beat SMU and NC State in Atlantis.
So yeah, advantage UNLV. Man that’s crazy.
Robby Leano — UNLV wins 90-85
An Arizona basketball game against UNLV at the Thomas & Mack Center? Arizona hasn’t played too well either... I also don’t need to regurgitate info from above... if you need reasoning, read from them. They got all the goods you need to know.
Matt Sheeley — Arizona wins 96-92 in OT
Why does Arizona win? Great question! And I really don’t have an answer. After all, as Ryan pointed out, the Wildcats are 1-8 in Vegas against UNLV and Arizona teams playing much better basketball than the current Wildcats squad have fallen in Sin City to the Runnin’ Rebels before.
The Rebs have two of the best rebounders in the country. Shakur Juiston is grabbing 13.0 per game and leading the nation. His teammate Brandon McCoy is pulling down 12.1, good for fifth in the country.
But they haven’t seen someone like DeAndre Ayton before and you have to believe that after Sean Miller trashed this team’s effort following their last victory, they’re out to prove something.
This game, especially if it’s close late which is what I expect, will show what this team is truly capable of. I’m calling a win. But I don’t feel good about it.
Tony Capobianco — Arizona wins 76-71
It would’ve been great for Arizona to rebound by being the first to defeat UNLV this season, but Northern Iowa beat them to it. The Rebels lead the nation in rebounds per game, so beating them at the boards would be a great way to see if Sean Miller’s message got through to the Wildcats.