New Mexico vs San Diego State Preview & Free Pick [2/16/24]

New Mexico (20-5) at San Diego State (19-6)
When: Friday, February 16th, 2024
Where: Viejas Arena,
San Diego, CA

Time: 10:00 ET | TV: FS1
Opening Odds: San Diego State -4/151

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Several Mountain West Conference teams are on the Bubble with just a few weeks left before the end of the regular season. One of those teams is the New Mexico Lobos, who will head over to Southern California to take on the San Diego State Aztecs in battle of second place teams. Both the Lobos and Aztecs sit one game behind Utah State for the MWC lead, while four other teams are close behind. San Diego State opened this game as a 4-point favorite, but have been quickly bet up to -5.5 as of Thursday night.

The Aztecs bring a 14-game home winning streak into Friday night’s contest after beating Colorado State 71-55 on Tuesday. SDSU has won three of four with the only loss coming in overtime at Nevada on Feb. 9. Meanwhile, the Lobos have worked their way back into the NCAA Tournament discussion and are currently one of the First Four Byes. A road win on Friday would really make it difficult for the committee to leave them off, barring a total collapse down the stretch.

The Lobos took the first meeting back on Jan. 13, 88-70 as a 3.5-point favorite. New Mexico actually won at Viejas Arena last season, 76-67 as 8-point underdogs. However, the Aztecs are 5-3-1 ATS in the last nine meetings, while the Under is 4-1 in the last five.

The Lobos average a whopping 84.1 points a game, good for 14th in the country. They have four players who average in double figures with three of them averaging 15.0 or more. Jamal Mashburn, Jr rebounded from a poor performance against UNLV to came through in the clutch in the win over Nevada on Tuesday. Mashburn drained two huge three-point shots at Reno to help seal the 83-82 victory. Mashburn led the Lobos with 17 points, while Jaelen House added 13 points and four assists. Mustapha Amzil had 12 points off the bench.

The Aztecs played two different halves in their win over Colorado State on Tuesday night at home. The Rams led 44-30 at halftime, but San Diego State roared back and won the second half 41-11. Jaedon LeDee, the conference’s leading scorer at 20.3 points per game had a game-high 27 on Tuesday. LeDee also averages 8.5 boards a game and is one of 11 players on the roster that is taller than 6’4″. Reese Waters (11.3) and Micah Parrish (10.0) are the only other double-digit scorers.

This should be a terrific game between these two MWC powerhouses. Money immediately flooded in on SDSU, which gives me a better number to take New Mexico. The Lobos have been hot, winning seven of nine and going 7-2 ATS in that stretch. The Aztecs have a terrific defense, but the Lobos can score and have won two of the last three meetings.

Pick: New Mexico +6.5

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