Mountain West Basketball: UNLV Vs. USC, New Mexico Vs. Washington State

UNLV Rebels vs. USC Trojans, 7:30 p.m. ET on ESPN3

UNLV taking part of the Las Vegas Invitational and if they can get past USC then UNLV would likely face the No. 1 team in the country North Carolina Tar Heels. USC is nothing great this year their only wins have come against Cal State Northridge and Morgan State. Their three loses are ok by faling to San Diego State, Nebraska but the Cal Poly loss was a mess.

Fors those under a rock, UNLV is running an uptempo style of play with new head coach Dave Rice and are undefeated, but their schedule has been soft. Their only challenge came against the Nevada Wolfpack, who are to be a contender in the WAC. Cal Poly is a common team between the two and USC loss to them 42-36 while UNLV won 75-52. So it looks good that UNLV will advances, especially with a home crowd since this tournament is being played at the Orleans in Las Vegas.

These two teams have completely different styles of play, USC is a low scoring team and is near the bottom of the NCAA in points per game whereas UNLV has five players who average double-figures and ranked No. 27 in points per game at 83.2.

UNLV is led by Mike Moser who is averaging 16 points, 13 rebounds per game and 3.8 steals per game. UNLV goes deep with nine players averaging 14 or minutes per game and that really helps keeping the starters fresh and only two average 30 minutes per game. 

Unless USC can control the pace expect a UNLV blowout.

New Mexico Lobos vs. Washington St. Cougars, 9:30 p.m. ET on ESPNU

New Mexico is taking on Washington State in the 76 Classic in Anaheim, Calif. Washington State is coming off a bad loss to the Oklahoma Sooners 74-59. New Mexico is not much better and is not living up to the hype as the best time in the Mountain West. New Mexico has already lost to Santa Clara and New Mexico State. It could just be that New Mexico is trying to gel, or that people were overvaluing Hugh Greenwood to be this amazing freshman after shining the under-20 Australian team.

Going by how both teams have played this year this should be a competitive game. Washington State shoots about eight percentage points better, but New Mexico out rebounds Washington State by seven per game. Those are two factors that are different from these teams.

Washington State players for New Mexico to keep an eye on are Brock Motum who scores 16.5 per game and Faisal Aden who averages 15.8 per game. New Mexico will need to limit their scoring for New Mexico to gain an edge. New Mexico's top players are Drew Gordon who is averaging 10 points and 10 rebounds per game, and then there is Tony Snell who leads the Lobos in scoring at 14.3.

The way these two teams score this should be a close one.

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