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College Basketball Mid-Major Betting Report: Breaking Down New Mexico State, Grand Canyon & Utah Valley

College Basketball Mid-Major Betting Report: Breaking Down New Mexico State, Grand Canyon & Utah Valley article feature image

Photo by Sam Wasson/Getty Images. Pictured: Mike Peake & Sir’Jabari Rice (New Mexico State)

Some college basketball fans would rather the ACC get three or four bids into the NCAA Tournament instead of a mid-major conference sending multiple teams.

I try to distance myself from those people as much as possible.

Mid-majors — like the Western Athletic Conference — have multiple programs that I believe can pull off upsets in the Big Dance — if those squads are given the opportunity.

Let's take a look at a few teams from the WAC and what makes them opponents no one wants to see in the Big Dance.

New Mexico State Aggies

Current Overall Record20-3
KenPom Ranking88
Current ESPN Bracketology Seed13

New Mexico State might be the only team currently in Joe Lunardi's Bracketology from the WAC, but it's still quite a ways away from winning the league.

The Aggies do currently sit in first place in the conference, as they are 10-1 in league play. But they do still have a lot of tough away games on their schedule to close out the season.

New Mexico State may be first in the conference standings, but it's just fourth when it comes to scoring offense in the WAC, averaging 74.7 points per game.

New Mexico State's defense is also a few steps down in the conference, as it's fifth in defensive scoring.

The Aggies do have the second-highest scorer in the conference in Teddy Allen, who is averaging 19.4 points per game.

New Mexico State isn't a top-10 team in the country in anything, but it doesn't put all its eggs in one basket. That's what I think makes the Aggies such a good team.

They're balanced, and regardless of how a game plays out, they can adjust and do whatever is necessary to capture a victory.

Grand Canyon Antelopes

Current Overall Record17-5
KenPom Ranking96
Current ESPN Bracketology SeedN/A

Grand Canyon may lead the WAC in rebounding offense, scoring margin, scoring defense, 3-point defense and field goal percentage defense, but make no mistake, its home court advantage is its biggest asset.

The Lopes won't have that advantage in the conference tournament, though. However, Grand Canyon is a very experienced team that can give any opponent a solid game.

The Lopes actually own the best 3-point defense in the country, limiting opponents to just 25.1% from outside the arc. They are also fifth when it comes to defensive effective field goal percentage.

If they catch a team that relies heavily on the 3 — in the conference tournament or if they make it to the Big Dance — you can find me waiting in line to get my Grand Canyon ML ticket.

One thing that can't be ignored and could be the downfall of Grand Canyon in any game this season is the Lopes' free throw shooting. They're one of the worst teams in Division 1 from the line, hitting just 64.7%.

Utah Valley Wolverines

Current Overall Record15-8
KenPom Ranking113
Current ESPN Bracketology SeedN/A

If Utah Valley is going to make the NCAA Tournament, it will have to win the auto bid via multiple conference tournament upsets.

But that might not be as far fetched as it sounds.

The Wolverines are just 6-5 in the WAC and currently seventh in the league standings, but they are the most effective shooting team in the conference.

They also shoot the 3 better than anyone else in the WAC.

All it would take is a hot stretch of shooting for Utah Valley to shock the best teams in the conference.

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