College Basketball Free Pick: Fresno State Bulldogs at New Mexico State Aggies
Tags: College Basketball Fresno State Bulldogs New Mexico State Aggies __ Fresno State at New Mexico State -9.5 O/U 144
Recommendation: New Mexico State
This is the wrong place at the wrong time for Fresno State, whose road struggles are well documented with 11 losses away from home this season. At 1-5 in WAC play, the Bulldogs are struggling and the schedule and situation is bad Saturday as they travel to take on one of the WAC’s top teams, New Mexico State. Fresno State is playing its third straight road game and coming off a tough travel spot with a quick turnaround following a draining, emotional 59-58 loss at Louisiana Tech on Thursday. Much energy and effort was needed for them to rally late, only to fall short on a last second basket by Tech. Now they take on an angry New Mexico State team off its own disappointing home loss Thursday vs. league leader Nevada. But the Aggies have some big edges in this contest in the match-ups and stat profiles to go along with the poor situation against Fresno State. NMSU plays at a very fast pace, one of the top-10 adjusted tempo ratings in the country while Fresno State is a slow, methodical team with poor shooters and rank 289th in the nation in effective field goal defense. New Mexico State leads the WAC in rebounding margin at nearly +8 per game while Fresno State is dead last in the league at -5. The Aggies take few three-point shots, so we don’t have to be concerned with long-range shots or inconsistency from the perimeter against a weak opponent. Rather, the Aggies use their strength on the interior. The Aggies defense is far better allowing 42% shooting while Fresno State allows 48% in WAC play. New Mexico State leads the league in scoring, averaging over 78 ppg while Fresno State is last in the league at 63 ppg. Fresno State’s top forward averages 8 ppg and 5 rpg, and they do not have an answer for Aggies senior forward Wendall McKines inside, as he’s No. 2 in the league in scoring (19 ppg) and No. 3 in rebounding (10 rpg). Combined with 6-11 senior center Hamidu Rahman, the Aggies pose all sorts of match-up problems for the Bulldogs down low. Along with senior point guard Hernst Laroche, off a season high 21-points vs. Nevada, the Aggies have a solid inside/outside combo to break down the Bulldogs and pull away for a solid win.
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