NCAA Basketball Predictions: New Mexico State Aggies vs. Saint Louis Billikens

No. 13 New Mexico State Aggies vs. No. 4 Saint Louis Billikens
Thursday, 3/21/13, 2:10 PM EST, TV:  TNT
Opening Point Spread:  Saint Louis -9.5
Current Betting Line:  Saint Louis -8.5
Opening Total:  122
Current Total:  122
Odds Courtesy of Bookmaker

The Saint Louis Billikens are 20-7 ATS as favorites this season
The Saint Louis Billikens are 20-7 ATS as favorites this season

New Mexico State has won its last five games, including a 64-55 victory over UT Arlington as 4.5-point neutral-site favorites in the WAC title game, while going UNDER the total in three of those five contests.  The Aggies have won four of six all-time meetings against the Billikens, but the teams haven’t met since the 1974-75 season.  Three projected starters are averaging in double figures offensively, with sophomore guard Daniel Mullings leading the way in scoring 14.0 points per game.  New Mexico State is 10-5-1 ATS in March the last two-plus seasons, which can’t be ignored when making your NCAA basketball predictions Thursday.

The Aggies are making their 20th NCAA Tournament appearance, as they’ve compiled a 10-21 overall record in the event, including a Final Four trip in 1970.  Freshman center Sim Bhullar was named the WAC Tournament Most Valuable Player after record in this second consecutive double-double in the championship game with 16 points and 15 rebounds.  Mullings averaged 15.0 points and shot 58.6 percent from the field in the event.

Saint Louis won and covered the spread in its last four games, which included capturing the Atlantic 10 Conference tournament with a 62-56 victory over the VCU Rams as 1.5-point neutral-site favorites, while going UNDER the total in four consecutive contests.  The Billikens led the league in scoring defense, allowing just 58.1 points per game, which was made possible by limiting 21 opponents to under 60 points this season.  Saint Louis is 20-7 ATS as a favorite this year, which is important to consider when looking over the college basketball odds page.

The Billikens are wearing a patch on their jersey for former coach Rick Majerus, who passed away at the age of 64 on Dec. 1, 2012.  Saint Louis’ 27 victories are tied for the most in school history with the 1988-89 team.  Offensively, the team has six players that average 7.2 points or more, with no player averaging in the top 15 in scoring within the conference.

Sports bettors will likely back the Billikens due to their 20-7-1 ATS mark versus teams with a winning record, while the Aggies are 14-18 ATS versus non-conference foes.

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