UNLV Runnin’ Rebels vs. Utah St. Aggies Pick & Prediction JANUARY 13th 2024

Utah State will try to extend its 14-game winning streak — the current longest active run in the nation — Saturday afternoon when the 20th-ranked Aggies take on UNLV in a Mountain West Conference game in Las Vegas.

The Aggies (15-1, 3-0) haven’t lost since Nov. 11, when they fell 72-66 in overtime to Bradley on the road.

UNLV (8-6, 1-1) is 5-1 at its often-raucous on-campus Thomas & Mack Center, the site of Saturday’s game.

Utah State comes in off an 83-59 home win Tuesday over Wyoming, in which the Aggies overcame a slow start with a 22-point scoring advantage in the second half. Aggies forward Great Osobor was dominant inside with 20 points on 9-of-11 shooting, while guard Darius Brown II scored 13.

“Wyoming had our respect,” Utah State’s first-year coach Danny Sprinkle said. “We’re not good enough to have a letdown. So I love our guys’ mindset of always trying to get better. They’re locked in.”

Sprinkle had an 81-43 record as Montana State’s coach before taking the Utah State job, and he brought both Osobor and Brown with him as transfers, as well as assistant coaches Chris Haslam and Andy Hill.

“We just came out a little sluggish, fresh off the emotion of becoming a ranked team,” Brown said after the Wyoming game. “We knew what it was at halftime, we knew how to react and how to put our stamp on the game. We’re getting better at that.

Osobor, a 6-8, 250-pound wing from England, leads his team in scoring (18.6 points per game) and rebounding (9.4 per game). Brown averages 10.7 points, has hit 23-of-69 3-pointers (33.3 percent) and dishes out 7.6 assists per game.

Guards Ian Martinez (12.3 points) and Mason Falslev (11.8) round out the Aggies’ offense.

UNLV is coming off a quality 83-73 home win over New Mexico on Tuesday night. Kalib Boone scored a career-high 29 points for the Runnin’ Rebels, while his twin brother, Keylan Boone, had 17 points and five assists.

“Obviously, I’m ecstatic for the guys to bounce back and win against another great defensive team,” UNLV coach Kevin Kruger said. “To protect home court in the conference is really important.”

The Runnin’ Rebels have five players averaging double-figure scoring: Kalib Boone (13.4 points), Luis Rodriguez (12.6), Dedan Thomas Jr. (12.4), the injured Jalin Hill (10.7) and Keylan Boone (10.1).

Keylan Boone, a fifth-year wing, has only played seven games after transferring to UNLV from Pacific and waiting for an eligibility waiver, but he said he’s already in tune with his coach, Kruger.

“He trusts me, I trust him — which is crazy because I just got back,” Keylan Boone said. “You see the love and you see the collaboration with us, too.”

The Runnin’ Rebels will be without Hill, who the school said Monday was lost for the remainder of the season with a knee injury.

UNLV leads the all-time series between the schools 34-14 since 1983. Utah State won both matchups last season and UNLV last beat the Aggies on Jan. 25, 2021.

– Field Level Media

Docsports, The most trusted name in sports handicapping