West Region Second Round Picks: #13 New Mexico State Aggies vs #4 San Diego State Aztecs

2014 NCAA Tournament
West Region – Second Round

Spokane Arena – Spokane, Washington
#13 New Mexico State Aggies vs #4 San Diego State Aztecs
Thursday, March 20, 2014, 9:57 pm Eastern, TV: truTV
Opening Line: San Diego State -7 1/2
Current Line: San Diego State -7
Opening Total: 130
Current Total; 128
Opening Money Line: SDSU -320 / NMSU +265
Current Money Line: SDSU -310 / NMSU +260

San Diego State is a 7 point favorite against New Mexico State is the West region second round Thursday in Spokane.
San Diego State is a 7 point favorite against New Mexico State is the West region second round Thursday in Spokane.

Many expected the San Diego State Aztecs to undergo a rebuilding year. In fact the Aztecs were picked to finish fourth in the Mountain West in the pre-season. However, San Diego State went 29-4 and was in the top 10 for most of the season. The Aztecs were given the #4 seed in the West Region in the NCAA Tournament and will take on the #13 New Mexico State Aggies in the second round Thursday in Spokane. The winner of that game will face either the #5 seed Oklahoma or the #12 seed North Dakota State in the third round Saturday.

New Mexico State is 26-9 this season. The Aggies finished second in the WAC at 12-4, a game behind regular season champion Utah Valley. New Mexico State would beat Idaho 77-55 in the WAC Championship game. It was the third straight WAC title for the Aggies. New Mexico State is making their 20th appearance in the NCAA Tournament. The Aggies went 1-4 against NCAA Tournament teams this season.


San Diego State won the Mountain West regular season title with a 16-2 record. The Aztecs lost to New Mexico 64-58 in the Mountain West Championship game. The loss snapped a 6 game winning streak for the Aztecs. San Diego State is making their fifth straight tournament appearance and ninth overall. The Aztecs went 3-3 against NCAA Tournament teams this season.

San Diego State leads the series against New Mexico State 4-3, but the Aggies have beaten the Aztecs 3 of the last 4 times. They haven’t played since New Mexico State won in Las Cruces in 2001.

New Mexico State is coached by Marvin Menzies. Menzies is a former assistant for SDSU under coach Steve Fisher. The Aggies have losses to Western Michigan in a tournament in Honolulu, at Colorado State, New Mexico, at Arizona, at Gonzaga, at Chicago State, at UMKC,  at Idaho, and at Utah Valley. The Aggies have won 5 straight games. New Mexico State has key wins at Hawaii, UTEP twice, at Drake, Grand Canyon twice, Utah Valley, and Idaho twice. The Aggies are 8-5 ATS and the total is 3-7 this season.

New Mexico State is outscoring teams 77-67 this season. The Aggies are #38 in scoring nationally. NMSU is shooting 49.1% from the field and 37.3% from 3 point range. The Aggies are #9 in field goal percentage nationally. NMSU makes 68.8% of their free throws. Opponents are shooting 40.1% from the field and 32.9% from 3 point range. The Aggies are #33 nationally in field goal defense. NMSU is averaging 37.3 rebounds per game and opponents average 28.4 per game. The Aggies are in the top 60 nationally in both categories. NMSU averages 13.1 assists, 12.8 turnovers, 4.8 steals, and 6.4 blocks per game. Opponents average 9.5 assists, 11.2 turnovers, 5.5 steals and 2.4 blocks per game.

Guard Daniel Mullings averages 16.8 points, 4.9 rebounds, 3.5 assists, and 1.9 steals per game. Guard D.K. Eldridge averages 11.5 points, 4.6 rebounds, and 2 assists per game. Center Tshilidzi Nephawe averages 11.1 points, 7.8 rebounds and 1.5 blocks per game. Center Sim Bhullar averages 10.3 points, 7.9 rebounds, 1.4 assists, and 3.4 blocks per game. He is listed at 7′-5″ and 360 pounds. His 7′-3″, 335 pound “little” brother Tanveer is a redshirt freshman sitting out this season. Forward Renaldo Dixon averages 8.4 points, and 5.6 rebounds per game. Guard K.C. Ross-Miller is suspended for the season for violating team rules. He averaged 8.3 points, 2.2 rebounds and 3.5 assists per game. Kevin Aronis, Ian Baker, and Travon Landry will also get significant minutes in the rotation. Forward Remi Barry is out for the season with a knee injury.

San Diego State is coached by Steve Fisher. The Aztecs have losses to Arizona, at Wyoming, and New Mexico twice. San Diego State has key wins over UC-Riverside, College of Charleston, Creighton and Marquette (in a tournament in Fullerton, CA),  at San Diego, Washington, Colorado State twice, at Kansas, Boise State twice, Air Force twice, Fresno State twice, UNLV 3 times, San Jose State twice, Utah State 3 times, Nevada, and New Mexico. The Aztecs are 18-12 ATS and the total is 7-22 this season.

San Diego State is outscoring teams 71-57 this season. The Aztecs are #2 nationally in points allowed. SDSU is shooting 43.7% from the field and 35.8% from 3 point range. The Aztecs are #315 nationally in free throw shooting at 65.4% from the line. SDSU opponents are shooting 38.4% from the field and 28.7% from 3 point range. The Aztecs are #8 in field goal defense and #4 in 3 point defense nationally. SDSU is averaging 37.8 rebounds per game and opponents average 29.3 per game. The Aztecs are #43 nationally in rebounding. SDSU averages 10.2 assists, 9.9 turnovers, 7.9 steals and 5.2 blocks per game. Opponents average 9.8 assists, 14.1 turnovers, 4.5 steals and 4.3 blocks per game.

Guard Xavier Thames was the  Mountain West player of the year. He averages 16.8 points, 3 rebounds, 3.2 assists, and 1.7 steals per game. Forward Winston Shepard averages 12.1 points, 5.2 rebounds, 2.2 assists, and 1.1 steals per game. Forward J.J. O’Brien averages 8 points, 4.7 rebounds and 1.2 assists per game. Forward Dwayne Polee II averages 7.9 points, 3.1 rebounds, and 1.1 steals per game. Forward josh Davis averages 7.7 points, 9.7 rebounds and 1 steal per game. Matt Shrigley, Aqeel Quinn, Skylar Spencer, Dakarai Allan, and James Johnson will also get significant minutes. Spencer leads the team in blocks at 2.5 per game.

New Mexico State is 6-1 ATS in non-conference games, 4-1 against teams with winning records, and 2-8-2 against Mountain West teams.

San Diego State is 6-0 ATS against WAC teams, 5-1 after failing to cover, and in neutral site games, 5-2 after a straight up loss, in non-conference games, and overall, and 6-13-1 in Thursday games.

San Diego State is one of the best defensive teams in the nation but they struggle on offense sometimes. New Mexico State would be more comfortable playing this game in the mid to high 70’s. If they can then I think the Aggies have a shot at pulling off the upset. If this game is in the 60’s then the Aztecs will win.

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