NCAA Bracket 2012 Picks: Long Beach State 49ers vs. New Mexico Lobos

No. 12 Long Beach State 49ers vs. No. 5 New Mexico Lobos
Thursday, 3/15/12, 4:10 PM EST, TV:  TBS
Opening Point Spread:  New Mexico -4.5
Current Betting Line:  New Mexico -4
Opening Total:  133
Current Total:  136.5
Odds Courtesy of Bookmaker

Week 7College Football Lines & Odds
The New Mexico Lobos are 5-0 ATS as a neutral court favorite

Long Beach State will open the 2012 NCAA Tournament against the New Mexico Lobos inside the Rose Garden in Portland, Ore.  The 49ers are the 12th seed in the Western Regional and will be making their ninth appearance in this event.  Point guard Casper Ware is certainly the player to watch, as he scored 33 points in the Big West Conference Tournament championship game against the UCSB Gauchos last week.  “I’ve been trying to make it for three years now,” stated Ware after the game.  Long Beach State is 12-7 ATS when playing a team with a winning record this year.

The 49ers are certainly hoping that senior guard Larry Anderson will be ready to return to the lineup in this contest, as the Big West Defensive Player of the Year missed the conference tournament with an injury.  Ware is still the main player in becoming the seventh player in Big West history to repeat as conference player of the year. He has scored in double figures in 50 of the last 52 games.

New Mexico earned an automatic berth into the Big Dance due to capturing the Mountain West Conference tournament, as it tallied three wins that included victories over the San Diego State Aztecs and UNLV Runnin’ Rebels.  The Lobos enter the tournament on a roll, winning five consecutive games and head coach Steve Alford is poised to lead his squad deep into the NCAA Tournament.  “Our guys have been playing good basketball all season,” stated Alford this week.  New Mexico is 23-7 ATS on the year and the “over” is 16-13 in that span.

The Lobos have won 20 or more games in a season for the 24th time, including all five seasons under Alford.  New Mexico is led by Drew Gordon, who averaged a double-double in the MWC Tournament and earned MVP honors in the event.  He finished just behind San Diego State’s Jamaal Franklin in capturing Player of the Year honors during the regular season.  He led the conference in shooting 56.9 percent from the floor and was third in averaging 13.8 points per game.  The program will be making its second NCAA tournament appearance under Alford, capturing a win over Montana in 2010 before being bounced out by Washington in the round of 32.

Bettors will likely back the Lobos due to their 9-1 ATS mark versus non-conference opponents, while the 49ers are 5-7 ATS versus Mountain West Conference opponents.

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