NCAA Tournament Picks: Stanford +3 vs. New Mexico

Steven Suarez

Wednesday, March 19, 2014 6:11 PM UTC

Wednesday, Mar. 19, 2014 6:11 PM UTC

The Lobos are favored to advance, but will face a stern test from Stanford in the first round. Check out our college basketball odds preview inside.

Odds Overview
Looking over the updated NCAA basketball betting lines, we find New Mexico giving away three points to the Cardinal. The Lobos went 27-6 SU and 17-12 ATS, while Stanford finished at 21-12 SU and 17-12-2 against the spread.

For those wanting to make a play on the game's total, the O/U can currently be locked down at 137.

Stanford Cardinal
Pac 12 play presented its fair share of challenges for the Cardinal. They lost eight times, with three of those defeats coming at home.

Still, there were some quality wins too throughout the season, as Stanford was able to top the likes of UCLA, Oregon and even Connecticut on the road. 

A deep run in the conference tournament certainly helped, with the Cardinal reaching the semi-finals before getting knocked on their faces by the Bruins. In the opening rounds they had beaten Washington State (74-63) and Arizona State (79-58) comfortably.

Ahead of the NCAA tournament, who do we need to look out for on Stanford?

Chasson Randle leads the team with 18.7 points per game and can get hot in a hurry. He's joined by Dwight Powell (14.2 PPG and 6.9 RPG), Anthony Brown (12.7 PPG and 5.0 RPG) and Josh Huestis (11.4 PPG and 8.3 RPG), with all four playing heavy minutes night in and night out. We aren't going to to be seeing many surprises in terms of rotations for the Cardinal.

New Mexico Lobos
The Lobos finished 15-3 in the Mountain West, but they saved the best for last by winning the MWC tournament last week. 

After storming past Fresno State in their opener and then surviving a test from Boise State, New Mexico found themselves matched up with San Diego State once more, this time for the conference crown.

The two teams had split their regular season meetings, but the Lobos held their nerve in the closing stages and got the victory. Cameron Bairstow was instrumental to close out a fine tournament which saw him get named MVP.

Bairstow has been a force to be reckoned with all season, averaging 20.3 points to go along with 7.4 rebounds per game.

He's not the only one Stanford will have to contain though. Kendall Williams, a senior guard, brings plenty of experience and scoring know-how (16.4 PPG), while Alex Kirk is a monster seven-footer who has averages of 13.6 PPG, 8.7 RPG and 2.7 BPG. That trio will be at the heart of essentially all New Mexico does offensively on Friday.

Compare the top NCAA Basketball Championship Betting Lines

College Basketball Pick 
Whoever wins here will move on to face the winner of Kansas/Eastern Kentucky. Who will it be?

We like Stanford to actually get the straight up victory, therefore making them our favorite selection with our NCAA basketball picks. The points are just icing on the cake. 

Something has to be said for being battle-tested when you enter an arena like this, and the Cardinal have the edge in that category. They've played quite a few of the nation's top teams and that should prepare them for the challenge that Bairstow and company will present. Johnny Dawkins' team has no shortage of experience as well, with his top four scorers all being either juniors or seniors.

When push comes to shove, we really liked what we saw out of Stanford in the Pac 12 tournament, until the semi-final of course, and we think they can come out and score the “upset” here in the first round.

Pick: Stanford Cardinal +3


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