Sunday, March 17, 2013 | 7:15 p.m.
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The brackets are out and the Las Vegas Sun sports team is here to discuss UNLV's draw as the 5-seed in San Jose, Calif., and a rematch with Cal.
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Note: Complete odds for the first 32 games are available at the bottom of the page.
For the third straight year, oddsmakers opened UNLV as a slight favorite in its first NCAA Tournament game.
The sixth-seeded Rebels will look to cover as a favorite in the tournament for the first time since 1991 when they take on 11th-seeded California on Thursday. UNLV is a 2.5-point favorite, according to Wynn Las Vegas, which was the first sports book in town to post numbers on the opening 32 games of March Madness.
The Rebels were a 1.5-point underdog when they beat the Golden Bears 76-75 earlier in the season.
“Any time when you have a game like that where it was very close, I think the advantage goes to the loser of the first matchup,” said LVH Superbook Executive Director Jay Kornegay. “I think Cal will be a little more motivated to beat UNLV than the other way around. UNLV is going to have to overcome that.”
While Kornegay may not have liked UNLV’s first matchup, he considered the immediate draws for the other four teams favorable.
Third-seeded New Mexico, the conference champions, gives Harvard 11.5 points while No. 7 seed San Diego State is minus-2.5 against Oklahoma.
Boise State is favored, albeit by only a point, in its “First Four” game Wednesday against La Salle. Eighth-seeded Colorado State is the only Mountain West team posted as an underdog, as the Rams get 2.5 points from No. 9 seed Missouri.
“The Mountain West has received a lot of publicity throughout the entire season,” Kornegay said. “It’s had a lot of high marks across rating systems. It’s time to produce because they don’t have a very good history in this tournament. This year is the time to do it.”
Find the full list of opening odds from the Wynn below.
No. 16 Liberty +1 vs. No. 16 North Carolina A&T
No. 11 Middle Tennessee State +2.5 vs. No. 11 Saint Mary’s
No. 16 LIU-Brooklyn -1 vs. No. 16 James Madison
No. 13 Boise State -1 vs. No. 13 La Salle
No. 8 Colorado State +2.5 vs. No. 9 Missouri
No. 5 Oklahoma State -3.5 vs. No. 12 Oregon
No. 4 Saint Louis -10 vs. No. 13 New Mexico State
No. 3 Michigan State -10 vs. No. 14 Valparaiso
No. 7 Creighton -2.5 vs. No. 10 Cincinnati
No. 2 Duke -19 vs. No. 15 Albany
No. 1 Gonzaga -22.5 vs. No. 16 Southern
No. 8 Pittsburgh -4.5 vs. No. 9 Wichita State
No. 5 Wisconsin -4.5 vs. No. 12 Ole Miss
No. 6 Arizona -4 vs. No. 11 Belmont
No. 3 New Mexico -11.5 vs. No. 14 Harvard
No. 7 Notre Dame -1 vs. No. 10 Iowa State
No. 2 Ohio State -14 vs. No. 15 Iona
No. 1 Kansas -20 vs. No. 16 Western Kentucky
No. 8 North Carolina -4 vs. No. 9 Villanova
No. 5 VCU -7 vs. No. 12 Akron
No. 4 Michigan -11 vs. No. 13 South Dakota State
No. 6 UCLA +3 vs. No. 11 Minnesota
No. 3 Florida -19.5 vs. No. 14 Northwestern State
No. 7 San Diego State -2.5 vs. No. 10 Oklahoma
No. 2 Georgetown -14.5 vs. No. 15 Florida Gulf Coast
No. 8 North Carolina State -4 vs. No. 9 Temple
No. 5 UNLV -2.5 vs. No. 12 California
No. 4 Syracuse -13 vs. No. 13 Montana
No. 6 Butler -3.5 vs. No. 11 Bucknell
No. 3 Marquette -3.5 vs. No. 14 Davidson
No. 7 Illinois -1.5 vs. No. 10 Colorado
No. 2 Miami -13 vs. No. 15 Pacific