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Golden Bears vs. Rebels Betting & NCAA Tourney Preview | Free Pick

Golden Bears vs. Rebels NCAA Tourney Spread/Handicapping

The No. 12 California Golden Bears and the No. 5 UNLV Rebels are set to face off Thursday night in their first matchup of the NCAA Tournament. Will this be a classic case of a 12 seed taking down a 5 in the second round?

NCAA Tournament – East Bracket
No. 12 California Golden Bears (20-11, 12-6 Pac-12) vs. No. 5 UNLV (25-9, 10-6 MWC)
Thursday, March 21, 2013
7:27 PM ET
San Jose, CA
Spread: UNLV -2 via DSI
O/U: 131

Matchup | Preview

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California Golden Bears

The California Golden Bears showed that they’re not afraid of tough competition throughout the year. Wins over the Oregon Ducks, Arizona Wildcats and UCLA Bruins have prepared them for this game, and their No. 12 seed won’t bother them at this point in the process.

This team is going to rely on Allen Crabbe and Justin Cobbs in this tournament— as it has all season. The two guards combine for 34.2 points, 9.5 rebounds and 7.4 assists per game, and their consistency will either propel this team to success or cause them fall against top-quality opponents.

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On offense, this group averaged just 67.5 points per game, which was only good enough for 167th in the country.

It shot just 44.6 percent from the field, which was just 102nd.

Defensively is where Cal won its games. It allowed just 64.4 points to its competition, and it will have to aim for a similar mark to contain the Rebels.

UNLV Rebels

When you look at the numbers, the UNLV Rebels have this game in the bag. They average more points (71.7), they give up fewer points (63.0) and they are the sixth-best rebounding team in the entire country. So what’s to ponder when it comes to this matchup?

Youth and maturity. [ad-6571516]

This team plays two freshmen and two sophomores in their top 6 when it comes to minutes played, and the team has seen some inconsistencies, especially late in the season.

Anthony Bennett is one of the players with the most potential on this roster, but he’s also someone who has struggled late in the year.

His shoulder has been bothering him, and while he’s someone who can score and rebound, he’s also struggled with his shot.

Toward the end of the season, California was also guilty of inconsistencies. It seemingly forgot how to play defense, and while it’ll likely ramp up their efforts on that side of the floor, nothing will give the Rebels more confidence coming in.

It’s not often that we see rematches in the opening round of the NCAA Tournament, but this is one of those rare occasions. The Golden Bears and the Rebels faced off back on Dec. 9—a game in which UNLV emerged a one-point winner.

Expect a close matchup like last time, but expect UNLV to come out on top as their talent should get them into the third round.

Prediction: UNLV 70 – California 67

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