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New Mexico State vs Michigan State Picks – Aggies will cover, and push Spartans to limit

Posted by Washington Tucker on 3/17/2010 3:59:24 PM
NCAA Basketball Odds: Pick New Mexico State +13

There’s definitely an intriguing March Madness betting matchup brewing in Spokane on Friday, as a conservative Michigan State team will face New Mexico State, a squad that likes to get up and down the floor, and they’ll shoot as soon as they get past half. There’s usually a 5-12 upset somewhere in the mix, and as a double-digit underdog, look for the Aggies to cover that spread, and possibly knock the Spartans out altogether.

New Mexico State vs Michigan State betting odds: Mexico State +13
  • What: NCAA Basketball Betting
  • When: Friday, March 19th – 7:20 PM ET
  • Where: Spokane Veterans Memorial Arena, Spokane, WA
  • Key Stat: New Mexico State has covered four of its last five spreads as an underdog of eight or more points

The New Mexico State-Michigan State Storyline

The Aggies upset Utah State in the final of the WAC tournament to get back to the big dance for the first time since 2007, and they’ll be looking for their first win in the NCAA Tournament since 1993. New Mexico State got off to a sluggish start, but their performance in the WAC tournament has given them some confidence.

The Spartans earned a three-way split of the Big Ten regular-season crown with Ohio State and Purdue before falling to Minnesota in the quarterfinals of the conference tournament, and their inconsistency down the stretch began with an ankle injury to Kalin Lucas. If their star point guard goes down again, it’s curtains for the Spartans.

Offensive Matchups

The Aggies have never met a three-pointer they didn’t like, ranking 14th in the nation in total threes and 56th in three-point percentage. The guard duo of Jahmar Young and Jonathan Gibson don’t hesitate to jack up the long-range shots, even though they have capable inside players in Wendell McKines and Hamidu Rahman. The Aggies don’t get much beyond their starters, but if the three-pointers are dropping, they don’t need to.

Michigan State’s offense revolves around Lucas and his ability to penetrate and dish. The Spartans are efficient, shooting 47.3% from the floor, but the trio of Raymar Morgan, Chris Allen and Durrell Summers has been inconsistent. They depend too much on Lucas to get them a good shot, and the Spartans will have to step up their offense to keep up with the Aggies, as they failed to break 70 points in eight of their last 10 games.

Betting Edge: New Mexico State

Defensive Matchups

New Mexico State’s sportsbook odds in this game definitely don’t concern their defense, or what little of it the Aggies play. The Aggies are 325th in the country in points allowed, and they don’t rank higher than 241st in the nation in field-goal defense, three-point defense, steals or rebounds. McKines and Rahman are going to need some help on the boards if the Aggies are going to pull this out.

Michigan State is second in the country in rebounding, and while they haven’t always played great defense, a Tom Izzo-coached team playing defense at 75% is almost better than most teams at 100%. Izzo has to work out some things with Summers, who was benched in the second half against Minnesota, as he is their best wing defender. Having a long defender like Summer would definitely help out on the Aggies’ shooters.

Betting Edge: Michigan State

Injuries

New Mexico State is healthy, while the Spartans are waiting for word on Delvon Roe (knee), who has been playing through bad pain over the second half of the year. Roe is an energy guy off the bench, and he’s third on the Spartans in rebounding.

Betting Edge: New Mexico State

Betting Prediction: New Mexico State vs Michigan State Picks

Michigan State is a 13-point favorite in this Midwest region matchup, and this is the first meeting for these two schools, one with a much larger pedigree than the other. The Spartans are 4-6 in their last 10 when they’re favored by more than eight points, while the Aggies have won four of their last five as an underdog of eight or more points. New Mexico State is playing their best basketball of the year, and they’ll come out gunning against the Spartans, who have to match the Aggies’ intensity because if they get down, Michigan State doesn’t have the three-point shooters to get back into the game. The Spartans should win this game straight up, but I wouldn’t trust a 13-point sports betting spread, not with the way that the Aggies are playing right now.

Washington’s Pick: New Mexico State +13

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