Utah Utes +4.5, 137.5 O/U (20-8) 17-10 ATS, 15-11 O/U at New Mexico Lobos -4.5, 137.5 O/U (19-10) 13-13 ATS, 13-13 O/U Tuesday, March 03, 2009, The Pit – Albuquerque, New Mexico 9:00 p.m. EST
by Wilson of Predictem.com
Utah comes into tonights game looking to secure at least a tie in the Mountain West Conference. The Utes need just one more win to earn the tie but New Mexico is no pushover as the last time these two teams met the game came down to a last effort floater with ten seconds left to give Utah a 69-68 win in Salt Lake City. The Pit is not a friendly place for opposing teams especially in conference play although it is a great facility to watch college basketball and a ticket to tonights matchup will certainly be worth its value. With the regular season quickly coming to a close you can bet that both of these teams will look to finish strong and build that resume for the NCAAs.
The Utes enter The Pit tonight averaging 72.5 points per game while giving up just 65.1 to the opposition. Utah is 6-6 ATS on the road this season and 4-2 ATS in their last six games on the road. The Utes had their 8-game win streak snapped last Saturday as they lost 63-50 to the BYU Cougars. However, the Utes have won 8 of their last 9 games if you want to look at the positive and the loss to BYU might have been a well timed defeat heading into the post season. Sometimes a team that hasnt tasted a loss in a while needs to be grounded as a reminder of why they need to bring it every night.
The Utes are a senior led team and have a solid balance on offense and defense. They are led by Luke Nevill who is averaging 17.1 points per game to go along with his 8.8 rebounds ppg. Lawrence Borha and Shaun Green are the other two seniors who get it done for the Utes.
Utah will win the conference if they win their last two games regardless of how other teams finish. The race for the MWC is still open as New Mexico and BYU can also grab the top spot if Utah fails to win out.
New Mexico comes into tonights game with home court confidence as they have downed the Utes at home six games in row. The Utes have not won in The Pit since 2002 when they walked away with a 81-51 win.
The Lobos are led by senior hometown hero Daniel Faris who, at 69 will surely matchup with Nevill of Utah. Senior Tony Danridge will be on the watch list for the Utes as he can score and distribute the ball which could cause problems for the Utes defense.
The Lobos are averaging 73.8 points per contest and allowing only 65 to their opponents which mirrors Utah. Both of these teams are similar on paper and have already had a barn-burner in Salt Lake. Tonights game is by far the biggest game in The Pit for the Lobos this year as they need this win to stay in the race for the conference title.
New Mexico definitely has the momentum after their thrilling double overtime victory over Colorado State this past Saturday. It may be fate that they won that game and tonight could be another piece to what could be the title run for the Lobos, but Utah forces a great challenge as the history between these two teams is storied by classic games and this one should be no different.
The Lobos will be looking to even the score after their 1-point loss in Salt Lake. It is senior night in The Pit and the title is on the line for both teams. The way both teams play defense (only allow 65 points ppg) the under (137.5) might be the way to go.
Wilsons Pick: New Mexico 69, Utah 64. Luck to ya.