New Mexico State vs Baylor March Madness Lines, Expert Pick & TV Info

Posted by Michael Hunt on Thursday,March 16, 2017 10:17, EDT in

Big 12 school Baylor reached No. 1 in the nation earlier this season for the first time in school history, but the Bears struggled down the stretch in winning just five of their final 11 games. Baylor is a No. 3 seed in the East Region and on upset alert Friday afternoon against No. 14 New Mexico State of the WAC. The Bears are favored in the college basketball lines.

New Mexico State vs Baylor March Madness Lines, Expert Pick & TV Info

When: Friday, March 17, 12:40 PM ET
Where: Bank of Oklahoma Center, Tulsa
TV: truTV
StreamMarch Madness Live
Radio: NMSU / Baylor
Opening NCAAB Lines: Baylor -12.5

Why Bet On New Mexico State?

The good news here is that the Aggies have found their way into the Dance for the seventh time since the 2006-2007 campaign. The bad news is that New Mexico State is 0-6 straight-up and 2-4 ATS in those six matchups. New Mexico State’s last NCAA tournament win came in 1993, and the Aggies have lost a school-record nine straight since that appearance. Meanwhile, not a single team from the WAC has won a tournament game since 2007.

The Aggies are 7-21 all-time at the Big Dance with all seven of their wins coming from 1968-70. The last NM State win in the tournament came against St. Bonaventure in the NCAA Consolation game, 79-73, during its Final Four run in 1969-70.

NMSU’s big three of Ian Baker, Jemerrio Jones and Eli Chuha has proven to be a handful for opposing defenses all season. Look past Baker’s 29 percent 3-point shooting: The reigning WAC player of the year distributes the ball, draws nearly six fouls per 40 minutes and shoots 82 percent at the line.

The Aggies held a 20-game winning streak at one point this season and finished with a 28-5 record behind the best rebounding duo in the WAC. Chuha and Jones combined for 17.4 rebounds per game while the Aggies ranked top 20 in the nation with 39.9 boards per game.

They’ll be a long shot to advance, but they have some veteran players — most notably Ian Baker — who are familiar with the spotlight. They can bring in some big guys but are more effective with the smaller lineup as long as they’re connecting from three-point range.

The No. 14 seeds are 7-41 in the last 10 years while the 14th-seed has won at least one game in the last five years, including two wins in 2015. In the last three NCAA Tournaments, the 14th-seeds have gone 4- 12.

Why Bet On Baylor?

Making their fourth consecutive tournament appearance, the Bears are hoping to survive the first round this year. They were upset victims the last two seasons — the 12 seed Yale Bulldogs stunning them last year while the 14 seed Georgia State Panthers shocked them in 2015.

Baylor is 11-12 in 10 previous NCAA Championships trips, including 8-6 in the Scott Drew era. Drew has led Baylor to two Elite Eights (2010, 2012) and three Sweet 16s (2010, 2012, 2014). Baylor’s No. 3 NCAA Tournament seed ties its best-ever (2010, 2012, 2015).

Not only were the Bears unranked in the preseason, they didn’t get a single vote in the AP. Before long, Baylor would reveal itself not just as a Top 25 team but one of the sport’s best, led by one of its premier two-way players in Johnathan Motley and powered by one of the stingiest first-shot defenses the Big 12 has seen in years.

It was unique to see a team be this successful in conference play while giving the ball away 22 percent of the time and forcing turnovers on only 15 percent of its defensive possessions. That 7 percent gap should be a problem. BU led the league in FG defense (41%), rebounding (38.3) and rebounding margin (+9.5) in Big 12 play.

The Bears were 6-3 in the regular season against Top 25 opponents, including nonconference wins against Oregon and Louisville. Baylor has faced a second-half deficit and come back to win in 11 games this season.

Friday is the 11th series meeting. Baylor is 5-5 all-time vs. NMSU, including 1-1 in neutral site games. Baylor and NMSU met in Waco on December 17, 2014 (BU 66-55) and December 23, 2015 (BU 85-70).

New Mexico State vs Baylor Expert Pick: Baylor Bears

Baylor probably wins, but I don’t see the Aggies losing by double digits.