Mountain West Semifinal Betting Picks: Colorado St Rams vs San Diego St Aztecs

2012 Mountain West Tournament – Semifinals
#4 Colorado St Rams vs #1 San Diego St Aztecs
Thomas & Mack Center – Las Vegas, Nevada
Friday, March 9, 2012, 9:00 pm Eastern, TV: CBS Sports Net
Opening Line: San Diego St -2 1/2
Current Line: San Diego St -2 1/2
Opening Total: 134
Current Total: 133 1/2
Opening Money Line: SDSU -140 / CSU +120
Current Money Line: SDSU -140 / CSU +120

The San Diego St Aztecs and Colorado St Rams meet in the semifinals of the MWC tournament in Las Vegas Friday night.

The Mountain West is currently projected to get 4 teams into the NCAA tournament. All four teams advanced to the semifinals of the Mountain West tournament. The #1 seed San Diego St Aztecs are 25-6 this season and ranked #18 in one poll and #21 in the other. The Aztecs escaped with a 65-62 victory over #8 seed Boise St in the quarterfinals. Mountain West player of the year Jamaal Franklin hit a difficult 3 point shot as time expired to give the Aztecs the win. SDSU has won 5 games in a row after a 3 game losing streak last month.

Now the Aztecs will take on #4 seed Colorado St in the semifinals. The Rams are 20-10 this season, and breezed to  an 81-60 win over #5 seed TCU. The Rams were without forward Greg Smith who was out with an ankle injury. He is doubtful against San Diego St as well. Colorado St has won 3 games in a row and 5 of the last 6 games.

Colorado St leads the series 36-32 all-time against San Diego St, but the Aztecs have won 15 of the last 17. The two teams split the season series with each winning on their own home court. Colorado St won 77-60 in Fort Collins January 28, and San Diego St won 74-66 February 25. It was the only loss for Colorado St in the last 6 games.

Colorado St is coached by Tim Miles. Colorado St is looking for their first at-large bid to the NCAA tournament since 1990. The Rams have wins over Montana, SMU, Manhattan, Colorado, UTEP, and Denver. CSU has losses to Stanford, Southern Miss, Northern Iowa, and Duke. The Rams swept Air Force in conference but split with every other team in the conference, with the home team winning every game.

San Diego St is coached by Steve Fisher, the MWC coach of the year. The Aztecs have wins over UC-Davis, USC, Long Beach St, Arizona, UC-Santa Barbara, Cal, UC-Riverside, UNLV, New Mexico, Air Force, Wyoming twice, Boise St 3 times, and TCU twice. SDSU has losses to Baylor, Creighton, UNLV, New Mexico, and Air Force. San Diego St has played in the championship game of the MWC tournament 3 years in a row.

Colorado St is outscoring opponents 71-68 this season. The Rams are shooting 47.7% from the field and 40.7% from 3 point range. CSU makes 76.8% from the free throw line. The Rams are in the top 25 nationally in all three shooting categories, and in the top 10 in 3 pointers and free throws. CSU averages 31.5 rebounds a game with a rebounding margin of +1.5. The Rams average 12.4 assists, 12.6 turnovers, 5.4 steals, and 1.9 blocks a game. CSU opponents are shooting 43.5% from the field and 35.4% from 3 point range. The Rams force 12.3 turnovers a game.

CSU guard Wes Eikmeier averages 15.9 points, 1.8 rebounds, and 2.1 assists a game. He is shooting 37.6% from 3 point range. Dorian Green averages 13.3 points, 3.6 rebounds, and 2.5 assists a game. He is shooting 42.9% from 3 point range. Smith averages 9.7 points, 5.3 rebounds, and 1 assist a game. Perhaps more importantly, he is one of the best defenders on the team and guarded SDSU’s Franklin during the two games. He will definitely be missed if he can’t play. Pierce Hornung averages 8.8 points, 8.5 rebounds, 1.8 assists, 2 steals, and 0.5 blocks a game. He leads the Rams in rebounds, steals, and is tied for the  team lead in blocks. Will Bell averages 8.5 points, 3.8 rebounds a game, and 0.5 blocks a game. Jesse Carr averages 6.8 points, 3.1 rebounds, and 2.7 assists a game to lead the team. Trevor Williams is out with a back injury.

San Diego St is outscoring opponents 71-63 this season. The Aztecs are shooting 45.8% from the field and 33.8% from 3 point range. SDSU makes 69.8% from the free throw line. The Aztecs average 37 rebounds a game with a rebounding margin of +4.6. SDSU averages 12.4 assists, 12.7 turnovers, 5.7 steals, and 2.3 blocks a game. Aztec opponents are shooting 39.9% from the field and 33.4% from 3 point range. San Diego St forces 13.1 turnovers a game.

Franklin averages 17.2 points, 7.9 rebounds, 1.4 assists, 1 steal, and 0.7 blocks a game. He leads the Aztecs in scoring, rebounds, and blocks, and is shooting 30.7% from 3 point range. Chase Tapley averages 15.4 points, 4.2 rebounds, 2.2 assists, and 1.8 steals a game to lead the team. He is shooting 42.8% from 3 point range. Xavier Thames averages 10.6 points, 3.2 rebounds, and 4.3 assists a game to lead the team. James Rahon averages 8.9 points, and 2.8 rebounds a game. Garrett Green, Tim Shelton, and Deshawn Stephens also get significant minutes.

Colorado St is 16-10-2 ATS and the total is 15-12 this season. San Diego St is 14-13-1 ATS and the total is 13-14. The Rams are 4-2 ATS in the last 6 against the Aztecs, and the under is 5-2 in the last 7.

Colorado St is a very dangerous team that could give teams some fits next week in the NCAA tournament. However, the loss of Smith hurts on both ends of the court. Neither of these teams have much depth or much size, so legs could be an issue. I like San Diego St to win, but the gritty Rams will hang tough throughout.

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