Editor's note: Brian Edwards went 2-0 last night with winners on South Dakota St. and Rutgers. Since Feb. 21, Brian owns a 28-11 record (72%) in college hoops with these plays for today, including tonight's pay-if-it-wins-only selection!
After splitting a pair of regular-season meetings, San Diego St. and Boise St. will collide in a rubber game of monumental importance late Wednesday night in Las Vegas at the Thomas & Mack Center.
As of early Tuesday night, most books had the Aztecs listed as four-point favorites for this Mountain West Conference Tournament quarterfinals matchup. The total was 132. Gamblers can expect to see the Broncos at around +160 on the money line (risk $100 to win $160).
These schools finished with identical overall records and in a tie for fourth place (both 9-7) in the Mtn. West standings. This has prompted many pundits to look at this game as a win-and-you’re-in scenario, but I disagree with that notion. I think both teams are at-large squads regardless of what happens in Vegas.
Boise St. (21-9 straight up, 16-10 against the spread) has won five of its last six games, including Saturday’s 69-65 win over San Diego St. as a two-point home favorite. Derrick Marks was the catalyst, producing 27 points, nine rebounds, six assists and a pair of blocked shots. Anthony Drmic added 23 points for the Broncos, who are 9-1 ATS in their last 10 games.
In the losing effort, Xavier Thames had a team-high 18 points, including a pair of deep treys that sparked a late Aztecs’ run that saw them erased a double-digit deficit to pull within one. However, when San Diego St. appeared poised to take the lead after a basket and a quick steal, Marks came out of nowhere to block a layup attempt.
Marks gathered the ball following the block and then got fouled. When he buried both shots from the charity stripe and BSU got a stop, the four-point swing and defensive stand put the game on ice.
Before this 10-game spread surge for BSU, we should note that the team was dealing with several injuries to key players. Since it has been back at full strength, Boise St. has played extremely well, especially for our purposes. The Broncos’ only loss in the last six games came in a 68-64 decision at UNLV last week in a game that could’ve gone either way.
San Diego St. (21-9 SU, 12-12-1 ATS) has lost two of its last three games and has dropped four in a row ATS. The Aztecs have been single-digit favorites 11 times, compiling a 5-6 spread record.
Steve Fisher’s team is led by junior guard Jamaal Franklin, who averages team-highs in points (17.0 PPG), rebounding (9.4 RPG), assists (3.1 APG) and steals (1.5 per game). Franklin had 14 points, eight rebounds and three assists in the first regular-season meeting against Boise St.
On that night, San Diego St.’s Chase Tapley drained a 3-pointer with 2.8 seconds remaining to lift his team to a 63-62 win as a 9.5-point home ‘chalk.’ Thames did not play in this game for the Aztecs, while BSU was without Igor Hadziomerovic (5.4 PPG and 3.0 RPG).
San Diego St. is No. 31 in the RPI Rankings, going 4-7 against the RPI Top 50 and 7-9 versus the RPI Top 100. The Aztecs have zero shameful losses with a 70-67 defeat at Air Force (RPI: 72) serving as the closest thing.
BSU has an RPI of 38, posting a 4-6 record against RPI Top 50 opponents and an 8-7 mark versus RPI Top 100 foes.
These schools have squared off five times in the last two seasons. The Aztecs have won outright in four of those encounters, but BSU has taken the money at a 4-1 ATS clip. All five meetings have gone ‘under’ the total.
The ‘over’ is 12-9-1 overall for San Diego St., but the ‘under’ has connected in its last three outings.
The ‘under’ is 9-7-1 overall for Boise St., 3-0-1 in its last four games.
This game will tip approximately 30 following the conclusion of New Mexico’s game, estimated to be around midnight Eastern. The CBS Sports Network (channel 613 on DirecTV) will provide television coverage.
**B.E.’s Bonus Nuggets**
--Add Iona -4 vs. Manhattan in Monday’s MAAC Tournament finals to the all-time Bad Beats Club. The Gaels took a 60-52 lead on a basket with six seconds remaining. Next, the Jaspers made a meaning-less 3-pointer with one tick left to cut the deficit to 60-55. Then the unthinkable happened. The Iona fans stormed the court, prompting officials to issue a technical foul. Manhattan hit both free throws to give its backers a wild backdoor cover in a 60-57 setback.
--Georgia owns a 12-1 spread record in its last 13 games. The Bulldogs are one-point favorites Thursday afternoon vs. LSU in an SEC Tournament quarterfinals matchup in Nashville.
--The ‘over’ has hit in 10 consecutive Oklahoma games. As for Iowa St., it has seen the ‘over’ cash in 13 straight games. Fittingly, these teams meet Thursday afternoon in the Big 12 Tournament semifinals. Only one offshore book (CRIS) had a total posted (as of late Tuesday afternoon) and it was 150.
--The 'under' is on a sick 14-1-1 run in Gonzaga's last 16 games. The Bulldogs beat Saint Mary's for a third time this season in the WCC Tournament finals, cruising to a 65-51 win Monday as 6.5-point favorites. The 116 combined points stayed 'under' the 136-point total.
--Cincinnati will face Providence in today's lid-lifter at the Big East Tournament. The Bearcats, who are 3.5-point favorites, have failed to cover the number in six straight games and eight of their last nine. The 'under' is 20-4 overall for Cincy this season. The total was 122 as of early this morning.
--The 'under' has cashed in 10 consecutive Colorado games and 13 of its last 14. When the Buffs take on Oregon St. today at the Pac-12 Tournament at MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, the total will be 134 (as of early this a.m.).
Brian Edwards can be reached at email@example.com.
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