San Diego State vs UNLV live stream, watch online, tv channel, prediction, pick, spread, line, odds

Two Mountain West contenders will compete in the final game of the New Year’s tripleheader in college basketball action on CBS as UNLV hosts San Diego State. The matchup highlights the first weekend of conference play for the MWC, a league vying for national prestige with several teams hoping to compete for multiple at-large bids to the NCAA Tournament. The Mountain West has five teams in the NET’s top 65, including the Runnin’ Rebels at No. 61 and the Aztecs at No. 36. That means — as things stand now — this is a Quad 1 opportunity for both two sides that could have major implications come Selection Sunday.

San Diego State followed a tough non-conference schedule with some ups and downs. High points included wins over BYU, Stanford and Ohio State. Although the Aztecs lost to Arizona, Arkansas and Saint Mary’s, these games against high-quality foes only served to prepare them for the championship game. In their conference opener against Air Force on Wednesday, the Aztecs made 11 of 23 attempts from 3-point range en route to a 71-55 victory.

UNLV’s non-conference schedule also brought plenty of challenges, and the Rebels picked up big wins over Dayton, Minnesota, Washington State and Southern Miss to shore up their resume coming into the league. But the Rebels stumbled out of the gate in Mountain West play with a 75-72 loss at San Jose State on Wednesday night as they were doubled up on the offensive glass, 16-8, by the Spartans.

Oklahoma transfer EJ Harkless leads UNLV with 15.8 points per game, while Keshon Gilbert and Luis Rodriguez also average in double figures. Seattle transfer Darion Trammell averaged 12.6 points per game to lead San Diego State, while Matt Bradley contributed 12.2 points.

Defense is the strength of both teams with the Aztecs continuing to rate high in most defensive metrics even as they play at a faster pace this season under sixth-year coach Brian Dutcher. UNLV is particularly adept at forcing turnovers, ranking fourth nationally with 20.64 turnovers per game.

Both teams finished in the top half of the Mountain West last season, though San Diego State won both meetings. Given the prestige of both teams in the league and their similar dogged approaches on defense, it wouldn’t be surprising for this to take on a postseason feel as UNLV tries to avenge its losses to the Aztecs a year ago.

How to watch San Diego State vs. UNLV live

Date: Saturday, Dec. 31 | year: 4 p.m. ET
Location: Thomas & Mack Center — Las Vegas
TV: CBS | Live broadcast: CBSSports.com, CBS Sports App (Free)

San Diego State vs. UNLV prediction, picks

Selected game | UNLV Rebels vs. San Diego State Aztecs

Both of these teams pride themselves on their defensive tenacity. UNLV is averaging more than 20 turnovers per game and San Diego State ranks as the Mountain West’s top team in total defensive efficiency, per KenPom.com. Points and possessions will be at a premium. Expect a special sense of urgency from the Rebels after dropping the championship opener to San Jose State earlier this week. The desire to avoid an 0-2 start in the league will fuel UNLV, who will need to either keep it close or win outright in front of their home fans. Projection: UNLV +3.5

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