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Tuesday College Basketball Picks: New Mexico vs. San Jose State

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Sam Wasson/Getty Images. Pictured: JaQuan Lyle

When handicapping the Mountain West Conference, it’s important to note homecourt advantage.

The venues seem to take on a life of their own, transforming bland buildings like Wyoming’s Arena-Auditorium into the “Dome of Doom.” The same can be said for New Mexico’s Dreamstyle Arena, which is better known as “The Pit.”

Beyond their atmospheres is their actual proximity to the atmosphere. Both venues are sky-high, in terms of altitude, and one will be playing a major factor on Tuesday night.

Here’s how I’m betting San Jose State-New Mexico.

Tuesday College Basketball Picks


Odds as of Tuesday morning and via FanDuel, where Action Network users get a risk-free bet up to $500.


San Jose State at New Mexico

  • Spread: New Mexico -11.5
  • Over/Under: 158
  • Time: 10 p.m. ET
  • TV: AT&T Sportsnet

San Jose State has struggled mightily as a basketball program. After back-to-back 1-17 campaigns in MWC play, Jean Prioleau may be coaching for job down the stretch.

Even when the Spartans were a tougher out in conference play a few years back, they’ve always seemed to struggle when playing at altitude. In their last 10 road trips to venues above 5,300 feet, SJSU is 2-8 SU, losing by an average margin of 14.4 points per game.

And New Mexico is about much more than just its venue this year. The Lobos are a super-aggressive team offensively, averaging 79.4 points per game. They average 24.4 free throw attempts per contest, which is the best in the MWC and seventh nationally.

They’re also extremely effective after the break, pouring in over 42 points per game in the second half alone.

Spoiler alert: SJSU is one of the country’s 10 worst defensive teams in the second half of games this season.

New Mexico’s pace of play provides plenty of opportunities for opponents to find their groove offensively and there isn’t a single defensive metric to highlight as a core strength. Additionally, they’re fairly pedestrian when it comes to rebounding and turnover margin.

If there were a game in which they could really boat race an opponent, they’d need a team who struggles at altitude, barely has a pulse offensively, and fouls a lot.

Come on down, SJSU.

SJSU is sub-300th in shooting efficiency and 3-point accuracy. The Spartans also send teams to the line frequently, to the tune of 22.1 attempts per game (300th). When you add it all up, it’s no wonder their average margin of defeat is the worst in the MWC and 322nd in all of Division I.

The line opened at 11 at most books and is marching towards 12 and 13 overnight. I would play this up to 14.

Pick: New Mexico -11.5

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