NCAA Tournament Round 1 Game: Michigan State Spartans (24-8 SU 12-18 ATS) vs. New Mexico State Aggies (22-11 SU 15-12-1 ATS) Spokane Arena, Spokane, WA 7:20 PM EST Friday March 19, 2010 on CBS
by Jason Green at Predictem.com
Point Spread: Michigan State -13.5 / New Mexico State +13.5
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In a 1st round game in the Midwest Region on Friday night the 5th seed Michigan State Spartans take on the 12th seed New Mexico State Aggies. The Spartans shared the regular season title with Purdue and Ohio State, but lost in the quarterfinals in the conference tournament.
The Aggies were really on the bubble and it was likely they were NIT bound, but they beat regular season Mountain West Conference champion Utah State in the conference tournament final to snag an automatic bid to the Big Dance.
New Mexico State played their way onto the bubble losing their last 2 regular season games, but they won 3 straight in the conference tourney.
The Aggies have a solid offense, which averages 78.6 ppg, and a very well balanced one as well with 2 guards, 2 forwards, and a center averaging in double figures led by G Jahmar Young (20.5 ppg). While the Aggies are solid on offense their defense is their Achilles Heel, as they gave up an average of 77.8 ppg this season.
Michigan State matches up well with NMSU, as they are also well balanced with 2 guards and 2 forwards averaging in double figures led by last season’s Big 10 Player of the Year Kalin Lucas (14.9 ppg).
Lucas has to play better than he did in the Big 10 quarterfinals loss where he did score 18 points, but he as only 6/17 from the floor. They also have to hold onto the rock better, as they committed 16 turnovers in the loss to Minnesota.
Where these 2 teams differ is on defense, as the Spartans are solid on that end of the court only giving up an average of 63.7 ppg.
For the Aggies to pull off the upset they will need a big game from C Wendell McKines (10.8 ppg 9.9 rpg). The Spartans do not have a center that gets a lot pf playing time so their forwards have to body up on the 6’11” McKines and not allow him to control the glass and score easy buckets in the paint.
Michigan State did play a tougher schedule and are from a major conference, but NMSU played 4 teams this season that are playing in the NCAA tournament.
In the final of the WAC finals New Mexico State beat Utah State 69-63 on Saturday. The high scorer for NMSU was G Jahmar Young going for 19 points on 8/18 shooting. For the game the Aggies shot 29/59 for a FG% of 49.2%. On defense the Aggies allowed Utah State to shoot 25/55 from the field for a FG% of 45.5%.
In their last game the Spartans lost to Minnesota 72-67 in the Big 10 conference tourney quarterfinals. The high scorer for MSU in the game was Raymar Morgan going for 23 points on 7/12 shooting. For the game the Spartans did not shoot well going 22/53 for a FG% of 41.5%. Even in the loss the Spartans played good D holding Minnesota to only 23/59 shooting for a FG% of 39%.
According to the Sagarin NCAA basketball ratings Michigan State ranks 23rd (86.07) and New Mexico State ranks 97th (77.24).
New Mexico is 5-0 ATS in their last 5 neutral site games, 5-1-1 ATS in their last 7 games against teams with a winning record, and is 7-3 ATS in their last 10 games as an underdog.
New Mexico has an Under record of 5-0-1 in their last 6 neutral site games and has an Over record of 12-5 in their last 17 non-conference games.
Michigan State is 3-9 ATS in their last 12 games as a favorite, 1-4 ATS in their last 5 games as a favorite of 13.0 or greater, and1-6 ATS in their last 7 non-conference games.
Michigan State has an Over record of 4-0 in their last 4 neutral site games and has an Over record of 4-1 in their last 5 games against teams with a winning percentage above 60%.
Jason’s Pick: Both teams match up well against each other, but the fact is that the Spartans are a solid defensive team and the Aggies are not. I think that will be the key in this game. My prediction is that the Spartans will win, but the Aggies will cover.