Breaking down UNLV’s basketball game against Northern Colorado at 7 p.m. Friday at the Thomas & Mack Center:
Northern Colorado starts four guards, and the Bears like to shoot 3-pointers. Three guards — Andre Spight, Jordan Davis and Anthony Johnson — average scoring in double figures. UNLV has an experienced backcourt of Jordan Johnson, Jovan Mooring and Kris Clyburn who will push pace and defend the 3-point line.
This is a big mismatch in UNLV’s favor. Brandon McCoy (19.7 points, 10.8 rebounds) and Shakur Juiston (13.9 points, 10.9 rebounds) should run up big numbers down low. Tanner Morgan (4.8 points, 5.3 rebounds) is the Bears’ starting post player.
Point guard Amauri Hardy is becoming a more and more important player off the bench for the Rebels, and forward Tervell Beck is making strides as well. Forward Cheickna Dembele comes off his best game of the season in which he had six points, three blocked shots and three assists Wednesday against Mississippi Valley State.
This is the time of year when favorites get distracted with holiday shopping and travel plans to see family, creating upsets throughout the country (see: Wofford over North Carolina). Maybe the Rebels will be focused after Northern Colorado won 91-84 at Wyoming on Tuesday, but expect the Bears to come out firing.
Edge: Northern Colorado
UNLV -14½; total 158½