UNLV Runnin' Rebels vs. Boise State Broncos: Mountain West Tournament Prediction, Preview, Picks & Odds - 3/9/2023

by Chuck Sommers

Thursday, Mar 09, 2023
Mountain West Tournament Quarterfinals

Time: 9 p.m. ET
Venue: Thomas & Mack Center, Las Vegas, NV
Where to watch: CBS Sports Network

Opening Odds at USA Sportsbooks

DraftKings: Boise State -4
FanDuel: Boise State -3.5
BetMGM: Boise State -4.5
Caesars: Boise State -4

Season record
UNLV: 19-12
Boise State: 23-8

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UNLV - Boise State preview, prediction and analysis

I have watched a lot of basketball in Las Vegas throughout my time and the one thing that I can absolutely say for certain is that there is one thing that the UNLV rebels don't have on any one else. A distinct homecourt advantage in the conference tournament. Now I can tell you that for many years the homecourt advantage at the Thompson Mack center has not mattered because no one has cared about this program. There has been no desire to firmly acknowledge what was once a proud program has now become the source of mediocrity for the longest time.
So congratulations to you UNLV for doing what I think a lot of you were supposed to do and that was to at least win one conference tournament game and then hope to the good Lord above that you could roll the dice one more time and maybe get one more upset to get you to the semifinals by hoping that a home crowd would actually turn out and support this program and will this team to a victory.
But now you have to go ahead and face the Boise State Broncos, a team that has been the one of the best in the Mountain West 4 essentially all season. There has been no real urge to look at this game in any other fashion than to call it for what it is. UNLV is likely going to get run out of the building. It is likely going to get run out of its own building. And the only way that UNLV will be able to avoid getting run out of its own building is going to come down to two things: one, it needs to have the best defensive game of its season. And I'm not talking about the cheating lacklustre performance they had in the non conference season. I am talking about having one of the absolute best defensive performances that you've had all season.
Second, EJ Harkless needs to have another game of his life. This man has willed the rebels to about as good a performances as you could expect to have and somehow they have fallen up short period except for winning this game against Air Force on Wednesday in the first round. His 35 points were absolutely spectacular and he was the only one that was willing to put that team on his back and carry them to victory.
Now you have to go do it again against Boise State and quite frankly I don't have any trust in this program to get the job done. It is going to come down to whatever this team can find in its heart to actually want to play for this home crowd and give fans a reason to actually turn out in these last few games before you hopefully can play in a postseason tournament of some kind. Whatever that tournament is, you need to hope that you have the people in place to actually cheer you on and the only way you're going to do that is if you actually beat these teams that you are looking up at and the only time for that is at this moment.
And I'm here to tell you that that is not going to happen because you UNLV is going to get blown out of the building by this team. Once again another lackluster performance puts UNLV in a position to either take a spot in the NIT, the CBI, or nothing per usual. Boise State 80, UNLV 60

Projected starting lineup

PG: E.J. Harkless
SG: Justin Webster
SF: Keshon Gilbert
PF: Elijah Parquet
C: Victor Iwuakor

Boise State:
PG: Marcus Shaver Jr.
SG: Max Rice
SF: Naje Smith
PF: Chibuzo Agbo
C: Tyson Degenhart

Don't miss our champion handicappers' free picks and expert basketball picks today. And if you enjoyed this preview, be sure to drop by every day for our daily college basketball projections and previews.

Chuck Sommers

About the Author:

Chuck Sommers has camped outside of sportsbooks since he can remember, learning the tricks and nuances of the trade. He still has nightmares of betting $5,000 on the Raiders in the Tuck Rule game but has since turned that to 25 years of veteran handicapping greatness. You can find him mostly in the shadows at the Red Rock or Aliante casinos wondering if the over is cashing on any given Sunday.

All photographic images used for editorial content have been licensed from the Associated Press.

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