Colorado State escapes Fresno State with the narrow win and looks to get revenge against the UNLV Runnin' Rebels. Both UNLV and Colorado split in the season with this game serving as the rubber match. UNLV is led by freshmen phenom F Anthony Bennett (16.1 PPG-8.1 RPG) who looks to prove he is the better big man against Colorado States' F-C Colton Iverson (14.4 PPG-9.6 RPG), both of which are all conference selections. With such large teams respectively, CSU and UNLV will look to score in the paint for the most success in this semifinal clash.
When: Friday, March 15, 11:30 PM ET
Where: Thomas & Mack Center, Las Vegas, NV
No Injuries to Report
While Bennett contributes the most individually for the Rebels, it is the backcourt that commands UNLV in scoring. G Anthony Marshall (10.6 PPG-5.9 APG), G Bryce Dejean-Jones (9.9 PPG-4.4 RPG) and G Katin Reinhardt (9.8 PPG-2.6 APG) contributes 30.3% of the Rebels offense. Colorado State must defend Marshall well if they want to avoid a headache as he has hit 38% from three-point range and is coming off a game in which he was 3 of 5 shooting beyond the arc.
Weakness: Outside Shooting
In the Rebels last 3 games, UNLV has hit 67% in the paint, and it should stay that way. Outside the paint, the Rebels have hit only 25% in their last 3 games. For some reason, despite the success found in the paint, the rebels took 59% of their shots outside the paint in that span. This may be the reason for the Rebels recent offensive struggles. Since Colorado State has defended well outside the paint lately, allowing team to hit just 34% outside in the paint in their last 3 games, it's a no brainer where UNLV should be taking their shots.
G Dorian Green (Questionable)
The Frontcourt has always been the strongest component in the Rams' offense, and with the injury of G Dorian Green (13.1 PPG-3.9 APG), the big men will have to play their largest role this season. F-C Colton Iverson is the clear leader of the frontcourt and is joined by F Greg Smith (11.3 PPG-5.4 RPG) and F Peirce Hornung (8.9 PPG-9.3 RGP). This trio contributes 47% of the nation's 6th best rebounding average.
Weakness: Interior Defense
Despite the large stature of the Colorado State Rams, they can't seem to defend inside the paint. In the Rams last 3 games, Colorado State has allowed team to take 44% of their shots inside the paint where they hit 69%. UNLV has taken 42% of their shots inside the paint in their last 3 games, but that number could increase.
There will two deciding factors to the game, how well will each team score inside the paint and how well will CSU be offensively without Green. If the Rams can overcome that, then they are the favorites in this game. If Marshall can get hot outside the arc, then the advantage goes to UNLV. Either way this will be a entertaining game with no clear favorite.