NCAA Basketball Picks: Expect Wichita St. To Bounce Back Over New Mexico St.

Willie Bee

Monday, February 15, 2016 2:02 PM GMT

Mother Nature kept Wichita State and New Mexico State from playing just after Christmas, and they'll finally get their match in and will be part of our Monday night's NCAA basketball picks.

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Free NCAA Basketball Pick: Wichita State -15½
Best Line Offered: at BetOnline

 

Considering how short the attention spans and memories are for your average American, it's doubtful few living outside the affected areas remember much about the storm system that moved across the southwest and Great Plains just after Christmas. Monday night in Kansas, we'll have a reminder of the deadly devastation when the Wichita State Shockers host the New Mexico State Aggies.

Koch Arena will be the site with ESPN3 streaming the clash starting at 8 PM (ET).  Wichita State opened at -14½ with that spread now up a point at BetOnline. Scoreboard bettors will be making their decisions based on a 129 point total.

The worst part of that storm was an outbreak of tornados that hit around Dallas-Ft. Worth and caused a dozen deaths a day after Christmas. Far less crucial was the fact snow and ice two days later made it impossible for the Aggies to leave Las Cruces and travel to Wichita when this game was originally intended to be played. It was supposed to be the last real test for both schools entering the conference portion of their schedules, but worked out okay since it does give us a battle between conference leaders, the Shockers owning a 2-game lead atop the Missouri Valley and New Mexico State nursing a 1-game advantage in the WAC.

In case you're an old guy with still a fairly decent memory such as myself, you'll recall when these two teams were conference rivals in the MVC. That ended back in the early-80s with the series knotted at 14 wins apiece. The Shockers and Aggies renewed the rivalry a season ago when they opened their 2014-15 campaigns against one another, Wichita State posting a 71-54 decision to cover a 12 point spread on the NCAA basketball odds.

 

Can Aggies Boost Win Streak To 10 With Upset?
When you think about all of the conference shakeups we've seen recently, it's likely that the Big East comes to mind as the one that suffered the biggest deductions with the subtraction of teams like Syracuse, Pitt, UConn and Louisville. The WAC has been hit even harder and left a mere shell of its former self the past few years, the beneficiary being New Mexico State (18-8 straight up, 4-4 against the spread).

Marvin Menzies squad has strung together four consecutive WAC titles, and will definitely be the favorite to make it five this time around as the Aggies seek their 20th NCAA tournament appearance. They bring a 9-game win streak into tonight, their only conference setback occurring January 9 in a 79-75 defeat at Grand Canyon.

Any win streak is impressive, but we need to put an asterisk on New Mexico State's string since none of the games made it to the NCAA basketball betting board. The last time the Aggies played a lined game was at UC-Irvine on January 2, a 54-52 loss as 6½ point underdogs, and how fast they adjust to better talent on the WSU side will be interesting.

 

Shockers Victims Of Recent Double-Digit Upsets
Ranked 25th by the AP and 24th by the coaches a week ago, Wichita State (18-7 SU, 14-9 ATS) will lose those distinctions when the new polls come out today. The Shockers saw their 43-game home win streak come to an end this past Saturday in a 53-50 loss to Northern Iowa, a contest Gregg Marshall's side was favored by 14, marking their second double-digit upset defeat in the last three games.

The first of those two conference losses was a little more than a week ago at Illinois State where WSU closed as 13 point chalk, and it was poor shooting that cost the Shockers both times. They are averaging 73 PPG on the season, but managed to score just 53 and 50 in the two MVC setbacks, connecting on just 13-of-58 attempts from beyond the arc.

Losing a long home court win streak like that has to sting and could threaten Wichita State's 42 consecutive sellouts at Koch Arena tonight. The fans who do stay away are going to miss a rout by their Shockers who are my free NCAA basketball pick.