College Basketball Betting: Time to Jump on New Mexico State
New Mexico State was the heavy favorite to win the WAC this preseason, garnering the most attention from the media poll, coaches’ poll, and of course the Three Man Weave. The Aggies are the 10th oldest team in America, featuring a core rotation of seven upperclassmen, two of which are “down transfers” from Utah, UNLV, and UTEP.
The Aggies have had one of the toughest times with COVID in the college basketball universe. Their state disallowed playing basketball, forcing the Aggies to relocate to Phoenix in November to practice. Since then the Aggies endured a month-long shut-down in December and another one in January. As the calendar turned to February it was announced NMSU would play its home games in a high school gym in El Paso, Texas. Small wonder why Chris Jans’s squad got off to a rocky start.
NMSU lost its only DI non-conference contest to Cal State Northridge and then began WAC play 0-3, losing to pretend-rival Grand Canyon twice and a scrappy Cal Baptist team. But on February 6th, we saw the flip switch. The Aggies decimated Cal Baptist in a Saturday rematch, scoring 1.33 PPP and pounding the Lancers by 27 points. Donnie Tillman looked fully healthy, dropping in 19 points, and preseason WAC POY Jabari Rice added 20 of his own.
I fully expect NMSU to use this momentum and start dominating a league they’ve been dominating for eight straight years. Prior to this season under Jans, NMSU is a ridiculous 43-3 in conference play; they’ve made the tournament every year (asterisk on 2020 season) Jans been employed and no team has come even within two games of the Aggies’ final league record in that time span. They’re the most talented team in the WAC, they’re the most experienced, and they have the best coach.
Oddsmakers likely have New Mexico State undervalued currently. KenPom ranks the Aggies 137th after a preseason start of 104th. Bart Torvik has NMSU 130th, a far cry from a preseason mark of 83rd. The Aggies are sure to start blowing WAC teams out soon and climb up the analytical rankings – now is your chance to get ahead of the curve.
Follow BettorIQ contributor Ky McKeon @Ky_3MW.