New Mexico Lobos at BYU Cougars, Marriott Center, Provo, UT
Wednesday, March 2, 2011, 10:00 pm Eastern, TV: The Mountain
Opening Line: BYU -12
Current Line: BYU -10 1/2
Opening Total: 149
Current Total: 149
Money Line: BYU -825 / New Mexico +625
Coming off a huge win at San Diego St Saturday 80-67, BYU vaulted to number 3 in both polls and was projected to be a Number one seed in the NCAA tournament. However, yesterday BYU starting Center Brandon Davies was kicked off the team for violating the school’s strict honor code. He was the teams third leading scorer and rebounder, and a key component in shutting down San Diego St’s front court twice to complete the sweep for BYU. Davies’ absence has brought some questions to the Cougars’ dream season. The Cougars are 27-2 and 13-1 in the Mountain West Conference. Tonight, BYU gets a chance to avenge one of their two losses as they host New Mexico. The Lobos won in Albuquerque January 29 86-77. Since then BYU has gone 7-0, while New Mexico has gone 3-4. New Mexico is 18-11 overall and 6-8 in conference. A recent four game losing streak for New Mexico was snapped with Saturday as the Lobos won 80-70 at TCU. The four game losing streak has pushed the Lobos off the bubble into a likely NIT bid.
BYU will basically clinch the league title with a win tonight as they hold the tiebreaker over San Diego St with the season sweep. BYU leads the overall series against New Mexico 74-54. New Mexico has won and covered 4 of the last 5 against BYU, and 3 of those 5 have gone over the total. The Cougars are undefeated at home this year.
New Mexico forward Emmanuel Negedu is out for the season with an illness. He hasn’t played since December 19, but was averaging 4.7 points and 5.3 rebounds a game. New Mexico has four players averaging in double figure scoring. They are led by guard Dairese Gary who is averaging 14.5 points to lead the team, 3.1 rebounds, 5.5 assists to lead the team, and 1.4 steals a game. Forward Drew Gordon averages 12.5 points, 10.3 rebounds, and 1.3 blocks a game. He leads the team in rebounds and blocks. Guard Kendall Williams averages 11 points, 2.9 rebounds, 4.2 assists, and 1.5 steals a game to lead the team. Guard Phillip McDonald averages 10.6 points and 4.8 rebounds a game. New Mexico is outscoring opponents 74-66 on the season. The Lobos are shooting 46.5% from the field, and 34.5% from 3-point range. New Mexico opponents are shooting 41.7% from the field. The Lobos make 70.4% of their free throws. They average 36.9 rebounds a game and have a rebounding margin of +5.4. The Lobos average 15.5 assists and 13.4 turnovers a game. They force 13.7 turnovers a game on defense. The Lobos average 6.3 steals and 3.3 blocks a game.
Besides the Davies situation, BYU has a slew of injuries right now. Forward/center James Anderson (eye), guard Jackson Emery (foot), forward Noah Hartsock (foot), and forward Stephen Rogers (knee) are all listed as probable against New Mexico. BYU has been playing with out reserve forward Chris Collinsworth since conference play began. He is out for the season with a knee injury. Collinsworth averaged only 16 minutes a game and scored 5.9 points a game, but he was one of the Cougar’s top rebounders with 5.6 a game. His little brother Kyle also plays for the Cougars. BYU guard Jimmer Fredette is nursing a bruised calf that occured a couple of weeks ago. He played against San Diego St Saturday and scored 25 points and also had 9 assists so it shouldn’t be an issue. Fredette is averaging 27.4 points a game to lead the nation in scoring, 3.4 rebounds, 4.3 assists to lead the team, and 1.4 steals a game. He is shooting 41.4% from 3 point range and 89.4% from the free throw line. Guard Jackson Emery averages 12.6 points a game, 3.6 rebounds, 2.7 assists, and leads the team in steals with 2.8 a game. Davies was averaging 11.1 points, 6.2 rebounds to lead the team, and 1.4 assists a game. Noah Hartsock averages 9 points, 6 rebounds and leads the team in blocks with 1.6 a game. BYU is outscoring opponents 83-67 on the season. The Cougars shoot 45.6% from the field and 37.7% from 3-point range. Cougar opponents are shooting 40.4% from the field. BYU shoots 75.6% from the free throw line. BYU averages 39.6 rebounds a game and has a rebounding margin of +4.1. The Cougars average 15.1 assists and 11.3 turnovers a game. They force 14.8 turnovers a game on defense. BYU averages 8.1 steals and 4.1 blocks a game.
Certainly losing Davies will hurt especially with how banged up BYU is right now, especially being without Chris Collinsworth. Expect forwards Charles Abouo and Kyle Collinsworth to shoulder more of the rebounding load along with Hartsock to offset the loss of Davies. All three average at least 4.2 rebounds a game. The three will have to score more as well to take the pressure off Fredette and Emery. BYU has this game and the regular season finale versus Wyoming before the Mountain West Tournament begins to try to adjust to the loss of Davies. We will see if they can.
Our college basketball handicappers are red hot as the regular season winds down and post season play begins. Don’t miss out on any more winners in 2011.