Mountain West Basketball Picks: Colorado State Rams at #15 New Mexico Lobos

Colorado State Rams at #15 New Mexico Lobos
Wednesday, January 23, 2013, 8:00 pm Eastern, CBS Sports Network

University Arena – Albuquerque, New Mexico
Opening Line: New Mexico -5 1/2
Current Line: New Mexico -5
Opening Total: 129
Current Total: 130 1/2
Opening Money Line: New Mexico -200 / Colorado St +170
Current Money Line: New Mexico -215 / Colorado St +185

America East Tournament Preview
New Mexico is a 5 point favorite at home against Colorado St in a battle for first place in the Mountain West.

The 16-2 New Mexico Lobos are 3-0 in the Mountain West Conference, as they take on the 15-3 Colorado State Rams Wednesday night in Albuquerque. The Rams are 2-1 in conference and can move into a first place tie with the Lobos with a win. All other teams in the conference have at least 2 losses early in the conference slate. New Mexico leads the series 69-43 and is 45-12 in Albuquerque against CSU. The Rams haven’t won at New Mexico since 2007. The home team has won the last 4 games in this series.

Colorado St is coached by Larry Eustachy. The Rams have losses at Colorado, Illinois-Chicago and San Diego St in overtime. CSU has key wins at home over Montana, Evansville, UTEP, St. Bonventure, Air Force and UNLV Saturday 66-61.. The Rams have road wins over Denver and Washington, along with wins over Portland and Virginia Tech in a tournament in Las Vegas. CSU is 8-6 ATS and the total is 2-4 this season.

Colorado St is outscoring teams 75-60 this season. The Rams are in the top 50 nationally in both categories. CSU is shooting 45.2% from the field and 34.1% from 3 point range. The Rams make 74.3% of their free throws and are #36 nationally in that category. The Rams average 42.6 rebounds per game and give up 24.9 per game. Colorado St is in the top 4 nationally in both categories. Rams’ opponents are shooting 38.4% from the field and 31.4% from 3 point range. CSU is #29 nationally in opponents’ field goal percentage. The Rams average 14 assists, 5 steals, 3 blocks, and 11 turnovers.

Colorado St forward-center Colton Iverson averages 14.4 points,  rebounds, and 1.4 assists.Dorian Green averages 12.3 points, 3.9 assists, 3.1 rebounds, and 1.1 steals per game. Greg Smith averages 11.6 points, 5.7 rebounds, and 1.1 assists.  Guard Wes Eikmeier averages 11.5 points, 1.6 rebounds and 2.2 assists.  Forward Pierce Hornung averages 9.6 points, 10.1 rebounds, 2.3 assists, and 1.2 steals per game. Daniel Bajarno averages 6.8 points, 6 rebounds, and 1.4 assists. Jon Octeus and Gerson Santo also get significant minutes. Guard Jesse Carr is out for the season with a knee injury.

New Mexico is coached by Steve Alford. The Lobos won their first 12 games, but then lost 2 of their next 3 games. New Mexico lost at home to South Dakota St and at St. Louis. New Mexico has key wins over Davidson, George Mason & UConn in a tournament in the Virgin Islands, Portland, Indiana St, USC, Valparaiso, New Mexico St twice, UNLV, Fresno St, and at Cincinnati and Boise St last Wednesday. The Lobos are 9-7-1 ATS and the total is 4-7 this season.

New Mexico is outscoring teams 69-62 this season. The Lobos are shooting 41.6% from the field and 33.8% from 3 point range. New Mexico makes 73.4% from the free throw line. New Mexico averages 36.3 rebounds per game, and gives up 29.2 to opponents. Lobo opponents are shooting 39.8% from the field and 35.3% from 3 point range. New Mexico averages 14 assists, 7 steals, 4 blocks, and 13 turnovers.

Guard Kendall Williams averages 14.4 points, 3.6 rebounds, 4.6 assists, and 1.2 steals per game. Center Alex Kirk averages 12.3 points, 7.9 rebounds, and 1.3 blocks per game. Guard Tony Snell averages 12.1 points, 2.4 rebounds, and 2.9 assists per game. Forward Cameron Bairstow averages 8.2 points and 5.1 rebounds per game. Guard Hugh Greenwood averages 7.4 points, 5.1 rebounds, 2.5 assists, and 1.1 steals per game. Chad Adams, Demetrius Walker and Jamal Fenton make up the rest of the rotation.

Colorado St is 9-2 ATS in Mountain West games, 10- after a cover, 5-2 overall, 11-5 after a straight up win, and 2-5 in road games against teams with winning home records. The last five games in this series have gone under the total.

New Mexico is 4-1-1 ATS at home, 7-2 against teams with winning records, 19-7 in Mountain West games, 27-10-1 after a straight up win, 34-15-2 in Wednesday games, 64-29-6 after a cover, and 33-16-2 overall. The Lobos are 4-1 ATS in the last 5 in Albuquerque against the Rams. The home team is 7-2 ATS in the last 9 in the series.

Colorado St is one of six teams in the country ranked in the top 50 in both scoring and points allowed. However, the rams are much better at home. New Mexico is undefeated in the MWC but they haven’t played most of the tough teams in the conference on the road yet. I like New Mexico to win at home, and take a two game lead over the rest of the teams in the Mountain West.

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