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Mountain West Leaders Take on Rivals

As we draw closer to the beginning of the conference schedule, the action on the NCAA hardwood continues to heat up. The ranked schools (San Diego State and New Mexico) haven’t encountered many challenges early on this season, but this weekend they will each meet their namesake rivals in what should be some highly competitive B Ball. Here is a glimpse at each of the match-ups and as always, winning point-spread picks for those of you who are looking for more action than the opening bowl games on Saturday.

San Diego 6-5 at #18 San Diego State 7-1

Look for SD State to stay hot today

After dropping their season opener against Syracuse, the Aztecs have rattled off seven wins in a row. Today they host the Toreros, which will come across town for the annual rivalry that has dominated in recent years by State. In fact, the Aztecs have won the last six meetings and will look to extend that streak, as well as their overall streak today.

San Diego State comes into the contest on a hot streak that’s been based on hot shooting as well as solid defense. The Aztecs have drained 45 of their last 96 three-point attempts in their last five games and are holding the opposition to fewer than 60 points per game on the season. Chase Tapley has led the way for the Tecs, the same player who scored 23 points against the Toreros in San Diego State’s 74-2 a year ago.

San Diego is on its on three-game winning streak and is coming of its best performance of the season, an 88-65 win over Arizona Christian, but don’t expect them to pull the upset today. The Toreros will likely hang tough in the first half, but look for the Aztecs to pull away late and cover -15.5 in this one.

New Mexico State 5-4 at #17 New Mexico 10-0

After splitting last season’s two-game set with the Aggies, the Lobos know better than to underestimate their in-state rival. The Lobos lone loss in their last 20 games against unranked foes came against the Aggies early last season. It’s also the only game they’ve lost in the series in the last nine, so with an unblemished record on the line, nothing would be worse for the Lobos than having it spoiled by the Aggies again.

This time things should go the Lobos’ way. They are a team that prides themselves on crashing the boards and playing strong defense. It has certainly been getting the job done so far, to the tune of a 10-0 record. However, those are also the strengths of the Aggies, so once again, the rivals should pose match-up problems for each other, leading to a close game.

That’s why it’s not surprising that the spread is only 9 points in favor of the Lobos today. I do expect a good game here, but let’s face it. The Lobos have consistently dominated unranked teams and the Aggies. The one loss was likely a fluke. Take the Lobos to cover -9 today.


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