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Position breakdown: Saturday’s UNLV-Western Kentucky game

Breaking down UNLV’s basketball game against Western Kentucky at 5 p.m. Saturday at the Thomas & Mack Center:

BACKCOURT

Que Johnson leads Western Kentucky with a 14.8-point average, and the Washington State transfer also averages 5.2 rebounds. The other two starters also are graduate transfers — Junior Lomomba from Cleveland State and Pancake Thomas from Hartford. UNLV knows what it’s like to patch together a roster, but Jalen Poyser is a returning player. He averages 17.4 points, 4.2 rebounds and 3.2 assists.

Edge: UNLV

FRONTCOURT

The Rebels again will be without Christian Jones and Cheickna Dembele, who have foot injuries. That could spell trouble against a Western Kentucky frontcourt that includes 7-foot-1-inch Ben Lawson, who has 13 blocked shots through five games. The Hilltoppers’ other starter, Justin Johnson, averages 12.0 points and 9.4 rebounds.

Edge: Western Kentucky

BENCH

Texas Christian outscored UNLV’s bench 34-2 on Friday, and the Rebels’ depth won’t be any better against Western Kentucky because of their injury situation. The Hilltoppers aren’t especially deep themselves, so this could be close to a wash.

Edge: Western Kentucky

INTANGIBLES

Western Kentucky has been on the road for nearly a month, which was evident in Friday’s 86-47 loss to Washington. The Hilltoppers were outscored 47-16 in the second half, and UNLV could hold a similar advantage. Also, expect the Rebels to come out fired up after giving away what should have been a victory over TCU.

Edge: UNLV

BETTING LINE

UNLV -3½

Contact Mark Anderson at manderson@reviewjournal.com or 702-387-2914. Follow @markanderson65 on Twitter.

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