Colorado State Is Our NCAA Basketball Pick To Rebound vs. Air Force

LT Profits Sports Group

Wednesday, January 20, 2016 7:52 PM UTC

Wednesday, Jan. 20, 2016 7:52 PM UTC

Colorado St. come off of back-to-back home losses, but they may have the perfect opponent to rebound against on the road visiting Air Force. Get our NCAA basketball picks for this game.


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Free NCAA Basketball Pick: Colorado State -3½ 
Best Line Offered: at Pinnacle


The road favorites appear to have a decided edge Wednesday night when they try to bounce back following back-to-back home losses in Mountain West Conference action as those Colorado State Rams (10-8, 5-9 ATS) pay a visit to the reeling Air Force Falcons (10-8, 5-7 ATS) at Clune Arena in Colorado Springs, CO at 9:00 ET in a game available on ROOT.

The point spread at Heritage Spots has Colorado State as a moderate road favorite for this contest with the current line at -3½ on the NCAA Basketball odds board at odds of -105.


Losing Conference Records
These two teams have identical 10-8 records overall, but both are towards the bottom of the 11-team Mountain West Conference currently topped by San Diego State (6-0) and Boise State (4-1). Colorado State comes in having lost two straight games at home, albeit vs. good competition in the first place Aztecs and Utah State, and that has dropped the Rams into an eighth place tie in conference play with Nevada at 2-3.

Air Force has been brutal while being the losing NCAA Basketball pick in four straight games, as the four losses have all been by a minimum of 12 points including a 100-64 shellacking absorbed at the hands of UNLV on Saturday. That leaves the Falcons 10th in the conference at 1-4, ahead of only 1-5 San Jose State.


Rams Can Get Back to Playing Their Game?
Colorado State has prided itself on rebounding and defense in recent seasons, but neither of those were apparent while losing 96-92 to Utah State Saturday and losing the rebounding battle 39-32. That leaves the Rams an uncharacteristic 306th in the country in points against at 78.0 per game and they are also a disappointing 119th in total rebounds.

However, Air Force is the perfect opponent against whom the Rams could get well against. After all, not too many teams in the country are easier to defend than the Falcons, given that they are 324th nationally in offensive efficiency as well as dead last in that category during Mountain West play, and they are 292nd in effective field goal percentage at a scant 46.6 percent.

Colorado State should also dominate the defensive glass here again as it did in recent seasons, thereby yielding hardly any second chance opportunities to the Falcons. Even in a “down” year, the Rams are still a commendable 56th in the country in defensive rebounding percentage while the Falcons are a pathetic 316th in offensive rebounding percentage at just 24.1 percent vs. a national average of 30.1 percent!


Air Force Struggling on Both Ends
Offense is not the only area that Air Force is struggling in right now, as evidenced by allowing UNLV to reach the 100-point mark Saturday. Air Force is ranked 157th in the country in defensive efficiency, but keep in mind the Falcons faced a soft non-conference schedule ranked 286th in non-conference SOS according to the Pomeroy Ratings and that the defense has been worse since the start of Mountain West play.

In fact, besides being last in offensive efficiency as mentioned earlier, Air Force is simultaneously second to last in defensive efficiency and ninth out of 11 teams in effective field goal percentage allowed vs. league foes. Given that combination, are the four straight double-digit losses really that surprising since beating last-place San Jose State in the conference opener?

Saturday may have been the lowest point though, as in addition to allowing the Runnin’ Rebels to reach triple-digits, the Falcons were out-rebounded 52-20, leading to being out-scored 26-9 on second-chance points, a weakness that can easily rear its ugly head again tonight.


Head-to-Head Success
Finally, Colorado State has had good head-to-head success vs. Air Force going 6-2 ATS in the last eight meetings overall and 5-2 ATS in the last seven meetings here on the academy grounds at Colorado Springs. Also, Air Force has become a bit of a doormat inside the Mountain West, going 5-17 ATS in its last 22 conference games.

Remember that the last two home losses by Colorado State both came vs. very good opponents, so look for the Rams to get back in track on the road here vs. a lesser opponent by winning comfortably as they visit the Air Force Academy on Wednesday.

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