San Diego State’s Jordan Schakel (20) celebrates the team’s win over Arizona State with Matt Mitchell (11) and Lamont Butler (5) after an NCAA college basketball game Thursday, Dec. 10, 2020, in Tempe, Ariz. San Diego State won 80-68. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)
- The New Mexico Lobos (5-11, 1-11 MWC) host the San Diego State Aztecs (13-4, 7-3 MWC) Wednesday, Feb. 3
- SDSU and New Mexico are headed in opposite directions, as the Aztecs have won four straight while the Lobos have lost three straight
- Read below for odds, analysis, and our best bet for this matchup
The New Mexico Lobos (5-11, 1-11 MWC) will try to snap a three-game losing streak and win their first true conference home game of the season when they host the San Diego State Aztecs (13-4, 7-3 MWC) Wednesday, Feb. 4. Tip is set for 11pm ET inside the Rip Griffin Center in Lubbock.
The Lobos have been forced to lead a nomadic existence this season, playing their home games on the campus of Lubbock Christian University. Now, they welcome the highest-rated team in the Mountain West by KenPom at No. 25 in the Aztecs. Brian Dutcher’s group comes into Wednesday’s contest as winners of four straight and seven of their last nine.
San Diego State vs New Mexico Odds
|San Diego State||-19.5 (-110)||N/A||Ov 127.5 (-110)|
|New Mexico||+19.5 (-110)||N/A||Un 127.5 (-110)|
Odds taken Feb. 2 at FanDuel
Aztecs senior forward Matt Mitchell had 26 points Saturday in a 98-71 blowout victory over Wyoming — the second game of a two-game sweep of the Cowboys.
Meanwhile, New Mexico’s poor conference play continued in the San Joaquin Valley. The Lobos had three players score in double-digits Saturday against Fresno State, but it wasn’t enough to avoid a two-game road sweep at the hands of the Bulldogs. The only Mountain West victory for Paul Weir’s team in 12 tries came Jan. 21 against San Jose State.
Considering the extreme disparity between these two programs, the Aztecs are rightfully favored in this spot.
While the Aztecs may not be the juggernaut they were last season — when they won their first 26 games en route to a 30-2 record and No. 6 ranking in the final AP poll — they’re the most balanced team in the Mountain West this season from an efficiency standpoint.
SDSU is rated a conference-best No. 42 in adjusted offensive efficiency and behind only Utah State (No. 9) in defensive adjusted efficiency at No. 21 by KenPom. That balance has been on display throughout Mountain West play, where the Aztecs have swept three of their five conference two-game series, split one and been swept in the other. Wyoming was the latest victim of the broom.
With Mitchell as the team’s leading scorer at 15.5 point per game, the Aztecs have as good a player as there is in the league. They were predicted to win the Mountain West in the preseason poll — and while they’re currently looking up at Boise State, Utah State and Colorado State — they’re still the class of the conference statistically.
No Place Like Home
Since starting the season 3-0, the peripatetic Lobos have gone 2-11 in this unprecedented 2020-21 campaign — and looked bad along the way. New Mexico is rated No. 320 by KenPom in offensive adjusted efficiency, the worst in the Mountain West. That lack of cohesion was on display against Fresno State. Weir’s unit managed only 35% from the field against the Bulldogs. And while New Mexico had three players in double-figures, none scored more than 11.
You’ll have to pardon the Lobos’ ineffectiveness this season though. They’ve been run out of their home gym by coronavirus restrictions passed down by the state’s leadership, forcing New Mexico to play “home games” some 320 miles and five hours away.
Just last week, for the first time, the team got a chance to practice in Albuquerque at the fabled Pit. Obviously, it didn’t make a difference against Fresno State. And while SDSU is even better than FSU, perhaps an extra week of work on their home court will help the Lobos.
Even though the Aztecs have been the far superior program over the last 15 seasons (14 years with at least 20 victories compared to just six for New Mexico during that same time frame), the head-to-head battle has been fairly even recently.
Prior to winning four of the last five in the series, San Diego State lost three in a row. So, what does the trend mean heading into Wednesday? Considering the Aztecs’ balanced attack and the Lobos’ brutal travel schedule, I’m all over SDSU in this spot.
The pick: San Diego State -19.5 (-110)
Blair Johnson is a veteran journalist and seasoned sports content creator. He has been writing and producing content as long as he can remember, with such familiar names as CNN, NFL Media and Yahoo. Blair currently lives and works in the greater Los Angeles area.