Breaking down UNLV’s game against Boise State

Updated December 30, 2017 - 11:04 am

Breaking down UNLV’s basketball game against Boise State at 8 p.m. Saturday at the Thomas & Mack Center:

Backcourt

Chandler Hutchison’s decision to return for his senior season was a major boost for the Broncos. The 6-foot 7-inch guard averages 16.3 points, 8.1 rebounds and 3.9 assists. Teammate Justinian Jessup averages 14.4 points and shoots 48.4 percent from 3-point range. The game likely will be decided by whether UNLV can chase Boise State shooters off the 3-point line.

Edge: Boise State

Frontcourt

If UNLV’s Brandon McCoy (18.9 points, 10.9 rebounds) can rediscover his aggressiveness while staying out of foul trouble, Boise State won’t be able to match up. The tandem and McCoy and Shakur Juiston (15.2 points, 11.0 rebounds) will give UNLV the advantage most games.

Edge: UNLV

Bench

If the improving Cheickna Dembele — 12 points, five rebounds and three blocked shots in his past two games — doesn’t play because of a head or facial injury, Cheikh Mbacke Diong will have to provide some key minutes. The Rebels can count on contributions from Amauri Hardy, Tervell Beck and Anthony Smith to help elsewhere off the bench. Boise State can get quality play from Alex Hobbs (11.0 points) and Marcus Dickinson (6.6 points), but doesn’t go much deeper.

Edge: UNLV

Intangibles

Boise State ran UNLV off the Mack floor last season, winning 77-59, but this clearly is a far different Rebels team. And being at home will be a major advantage where their only loss is a 91-88 overtime defeat to Arizona.

Edge: UNLV

Betting line

UNLV -4½; total 155½

Contact Mark Anderson at manderson@reviewjournal.com. Follow @markanderson65 on Twitter.

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