Colorado State Rams at New Mexico Lobos
I love the Mountain West. Every night is unpredictable. Any team can lose to anyone. Most recently New Mexico pulled off the upset over Wyoming, who at the time was the top of the conference. That same New Mexico team will host the preseason favorite Colorado State Rams .
New Mexico has been elite against the spread this season with a 15-6-2 record, 9-2-2 at home. The Lobos are led by their trio of guards, Jamal Mashburn Jr, Jaelen House and KJ Jenkins, all average double digits, they combined for 48 points in the first matchup at Colorado State.. The Lobos like to move fast, ranking 17th in tempo nationally. They utilize their three dynamic guards to keep opposing defenses on their heels. They will look to force Colorado State to play their game.
Colorado St. does a lot right. They are an efficient offenseinside and outside. They do however have a problem adjusting to the flow of the game when things are not going their way. The speed of the Lobos will make it tough for Colorado State to get into a rhythm. In their first meeting back in January the Lobos lost by six, mostly due to the fact that the Rams shot 24 more free throws than the opposition. The New Mexico home court advantage should help to balance out the attempts at the charity stripe.
New Mexico is great at home and they should be able to keep this one close. The outright upset will be tough but they have NBA level guards that will be a tough matchup for Colorado State. The Lobos don’t have an answer for David Roddy, he will be a problem, but New Mexico at home getting this many points is too hard to pass up.
Pick: New Mexico +7
Jacksonville has quietly been the best ATS team in college hoops, they are currently 17-4 ATS on the season including covering six straight games in conference. Jacksonville is coming off of a huge victory of ASUN leader Liberty, putting them right into contention for the top of the conference. The Dolphins dominate on the defensive end giving up just 59 ppg, allowing teams to shoot just 47% on the season. When Jacksonville needs offense they turn to Kevion Nolan, the redshirt junior that averages 14 ppg.
The Hatters have not had a great season, they are at the bottom of the ASUN with a 11-14 overall record, they are however 4-1 ATS in their last five. The question will be, how does Stetson score against the Jacksonville defense? The Hatters 70 ppg on the season, while shooting just 42.4% from the field. They are the 304th ranked team in offensive efficiency, in their previous matchup with Jacksonville the Hatters were only able to put up 50 points, losing by 7. Jacksonville covered the four point spread in that game and should be able to do the same in their second meeting.
Both of these teams can struggle to score. Jacksonville has a major advantage on the boards and they are much better at shooting the three, if this game is close down the stretch they also have an advantage from the charity stripe. Stetson is one of the worst free throw shooting teams in the country (Jacksonville isn’t much better). In the end it will be the team with the better upside on the offensive end that wins this game and that is the Dolphins.
Pick: Jacksonville Dolphins -2
Western Carolina Catamounts at VMI Keydets
VMI has been one of the better offenses in college basketball all season. They average 76 ppg, they are 34th in adjusted offensive efficiency, 13th in effective field goal percentage (55%), 24th in 3-pt percentage 37%. They are a well oiled machine on the offensive end. Their offense has gotten them victories over Southern League power houses Furman and Wofford. They traveled to ACC power Wake Forest, got a cover and challenged a very good Demon Deacon team. The Keydets like to play fast and they have three players that average double digits led by big man Jake Stevens, averaging 18 per game.
Western Carolina ended their five game losing streak in their last game versus ETSU. The Catamounts rely on shooting the three to create their offense. They are #2 in the country in 3PA per game but they are outside of the top 250 in 3-point percentage. There will not be many second chances for the Catamounts as VMI is very good at cleaning up the glass on the defensive end. If they are not hitting their shots their offense will not be able to keep up with a VMI team that will be able to do whatever they want.
Both of these teams are terrible on the defensive end. The difference is, VMI is an elite level team on the offensive end. The Catamounts will not have an answer for the uptempo attack VMI is going to bring to them. Statistically Western Carolinais one of the worst defenses in the country. They are going up against one of the best offenses in the country. While it’s hard to trust the defense of VMI, I am going to bank on the offense being too much to handle on the road.
Pick: VMI -11
Missouri State Bears at Southern Illinois Salukis
Missouri State has one of the most prolific offenses in the MVC, averaging 78 ppg. They got a signature win on the road when they took down league powerhouse Loyola. The Bears have Isaiah Mosely who averages 21 ppg while shooting 51% from the field . He attributes to a team effective field goal percentage that ranks top 15 in the nation (56%). They can score in the paint as well as hit the three, both ranking top 25 in the nation in percentages.
The Salukis are just 2-6 in their last eight games. The offense has been a problem, they rank 326th in the nation averaging just 63 ppg. Most of their scoring comes from Marcus Domask who averages 14.7 ppg. To take down the Bears they will have to slow the pace down and not let the volume shooters of Missouri State get into a rhythm.
The Bears were able to hang 81 points on Southern Illinois in their first matchup. The slower pace of the Salukis wasn’t able to dictate the game. Missouri State has been great against the spread on the road and should be able to control the boards with Gaige Prim and Donovan Clay. Missouri State is 13-3-2 ATS over their last 18 road games. Their offense should feast, if they break 70 points, Southern Illinois does not have enough to keep up. The Bears should cruise.
Pick: Missouri State -2