NIT Second Round
#4 New Mexico Lobos at #1 Alabama Crimson Tide
Coleman Coliseum, Tuscaloosa, AL
Monday, March 21, 2011, 9:00 pm Eastern, TV: ESPN
Opening Line: Alabama -4 1/2
Current Line: Alabama -6 1/2
Opening Total: 127 1/2
Current Total: 129 1/2
Money Line: Alabama -260 / New Mexico +220
Alabama hosts new Mexico with a trip to the NIT quarterfinals on the line against either Miami-(FL) or Missouri St. Alabama thought they deserved a spot in the NCAA tournament after winning the SEC West Title outright, and beating Georgia twice, a team that made the field. However, a lack of quality non-conference wins doomed the Tide to the NIT. Alabama is 22-11 and finished 12-4 in the SEC. They have gone 12-4 in their last 16 including dominating Coastal Carolina 68-44 in the first round of this tournament. There was some thought that Alabama might come out flat against Coastal because of the disappointment of being snubbed by the NCAA. However those thoughts were quickly erased as Alabama jumped out to a 16 point lead at halftime. Four Tide players scored in double digit figures but no player scored more than 12 points in the rout. New Mexico finished 5th in the Mountain West with an 8-8 record. They are 22-12 overall. A four game losing streak in late February took New Mexico off the NCAA bubble. However, The Lobos have won 5 of the last 6 games and are playing some of their best basketball of the season. They beat UTEP in Albuquerque in the first round of the NIT 69-57. New Mexico won without senior point guard Dairese Gary who injured his knee during the Mountain West Tournament and is out for the season. Drew Gordon and Kendall williams both scored 18 points to lead the Lobos in the win against the Miners.
Alabama and New Mexico have never played before. Alabama is 17-0 at home this season and is giving up only 51 points a game at home. Alabama is 12-4 ATS as a favorite this season. The Crimson Tide are 11-2 ATS at home this season, including 7-1 at home against teams with winning records.
Besides being without Gary, The Lobos are playing without forward Emmanuel Negedu who is out for the season with an illness. Negedu hasn’t played since December 19, but was averaging 4.7 points and 5.3 rebounds a game. Gary was averaging 14.1 points to lead the team, 3.2 rebounds, 5.5 assists to lead the team, and 1.3 steals a game. Forward Drew Gordon averages 13 points, 10.8 rebounds, and 1.3 blocks a game. He leads the team in rebounds and blocks. Guard Kendall Williams averages 11.4 points, 2.9 rebounds, 4.1 assists, and 1.4 steals a game to lead the team. Guard Phillip McDonald averages 10.9 points and 4.4 rebounds a game. New Mexico is outscoring opponents 73-66 on the season. The Lobos are shooting 46% from the field, and 34.7% from 3-point range. New Mexico opponents are shooting 42% from the field. The Lobos make 71% of their free throws. They average 37.3 rebounds a game and have a rebounding margin of +6.3. The Lobos average 15.4 assists and 13.5 turnovers a game. They force 13.2 turnovers a game on defense. The Lobos average 6 steals and 3.3 blocks a game.
Alabama guard Kendall Durant is out indefinitely with a foot injury. He has been out since December 11. Alabama guard Andrew Steele is listed as doubtful with a concussion. Neither scores that many points for the Tide, so the losses aren’t that important. Alabama is led by forward JaMychal Green. He is averaging 15.8 points to lead the team, 7.8 rebounds to lead the team, 1.5 assists, 1.4 steals, and 2.2 blocks a game to lead the team. Forward Tony Mitchell averages 15.3 points, 6.9 rebounds, 1.2 assists, 1.6 steals to lead the team, and 1.2 blocks a game. Guard Trevor Releford averages 10.4 points, 3.3 rebounds, 3.4 assists to lead the team, and 1.5 steals a game. Guard Charvez Davis averages 8.5 points, 2.1 rebounds, and 1.3 assists a game. Alabama is outscoring opponents 67-59 on the season, The Tide are shooting 44.6% from the field and 30.1% from 3-point range. Alabama holds opponents to 38.2% shooting from the field. The Crimson Tide make 72.2% from the free throw line. Alabama grabs 36.6 rebounds a game and has a rebounding margin of +3.2. The Tide averages 12.4 assists and 14.1 turnovers a game. They force 15.6 turnovers a game on defense. The Tide averages 9.4 steals and 5.3 blocks a game.
If New Mexico had Gary, I would give them a puncher’s chance in this game. However, I just think Alabama is almost unstoppable at home with their suffocating defense. The Tide should roll in this game.
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