Most sports books monitored by the SportsOptions odds product opened Nevada as an 8 1/2-point home favorite, with the total set at 131 1/2.
Utah State (12-10 SU/9-8 ATS) is off Saturday’s 82-65 home win over San Jose State 12-point favorites. Kyisean Reed score 21 points to lead five players in double figures as Utah State took down San Jose State in a Western Athletic Conference game.
Mitch Bruneel, Brockeith Pane and Preston Medlin each scored 15 points for Utah State. Morgan Grimm added 10 points for the Aggies, who have won back-to-back games for the first time since a four-game winning streak in mid-December.
Utah State took a 47-34 lead into the break after shooting 55.2 percent from the floor, including 8-of-13 from the three point line. In the second half, the Aggies dropped to 41.4 percent and 2-of-8 from long range
However, SJSU shot just 38.7 percent and 2-of-12 from downtown over the final 20 minutes and the Aggies were never threatened. Utah State dominated on the inside, out-rebounding San Jose State 38-30 and outscoring the Spartans 34-26 in the paint.
Though Utah State finished 30-4 last season and lost 63-58 to Kansas State in the second round of the NCAA Tournament, the school returns just one starter from that unit in Pane.
Medlin leads the squad with 15.3 PPG, 12.5 PPG and 3.6 APG. The team’s lack of experience has shown as the Aggies have already doubled last year’s loss total.
Nevada (18-3 SU/13-4 ATS) continued its winning ways on Saturday with a 65-63 victory at Louisiana Tech as a 6½-point road chalk. Olek Czyz matched a season-high 24 points and grabbed 10 rebounds to pace the Wolf Pack, who have won 15 straight. Malik Story finished with 16 points and Deonte Burton added 12 markers. Dario Hunt grabbed 11 boards.
Nevada trailed by 10 in the early going, but the game was tied at 28 at halftime after the two teams shot a combined 19-of-61 from the floor. Nevada took over after halftime, building a 12-point lead with less than 15 minutes to play.
Louisiana Tech rallied to tie the game at 62 with 1:09 left until the Wolf Pack pulled it out at the end. Nevada shot 47 percent overall (21-of-44) and had a 39-27 edge on the boards, helping it overcome 22 turnovers.
Nevada is perhaps the most experienced team in the WAC with the return of all five starters from last year’s team that finished a disappointing 13-19. Though the Wolf Pack went 8-8 in conference play last year, they currently sit atop the WAC standings with a perfect 7-0 mark.
Burton is currently leading the team with 15.5 PPG and 4.5 APG. Story (14.6 PPG), Czyz (12.1 PPG) and Hunt (10.0 PPG, 9.0 RPG) give the Wolf Pack plenty of balance.
Utah State took both meetings last year, 81-67 as a nine-point road chalk and 67-45 as 14½-point home favorites.
However, Nevada won the first meeting this season, posting a 78-71 road win as five-point dogs on January 7.
Utah State is 10-2 ATS the last 12 meetings overall and 17-8 ATS in Thursday games. However, Nevada is 13-3 ATS in its last 16 games overall and 23-9 ATS as a home favorite between 6½ and 9½ points. Its current 15-game winning streak is the second-longest active streak in the nation behind Murray State
Nevada hasn’t lost since Nov. 25 when it dropped a 76-55 decision to BYU in the Chicago Invitational Challenge.