Take Arizona -14 over New Mexico State

Jeff Grant

Wednesday, December 11, 2013 2:12 PM GMT

The Arizona Wildcats absolutely smother opponents in the paint, which could prove troublesome for the New Mexico State Aggies Wednesday night. Will the Arizona Wildcats be able to keep their game up?

Let’s take a closer look at the college basketball lines for this non-conference affair at the McKale Center, with the opening tip scheduled for 9:00 p.m. ET on the Pac-12 Network.

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On the road again

New Mexico will continue a four-game, 10-day road trip, which included an 80-68 setback to the Gonzaga Bulldogs as 13.5-point road underdogs last Saturday, while going UNDER the betting total of 154.

The Aggies have been outrebounded by a minus-7.7 margin during their three-game losing streak, which is far different than their plus-8.6 mark in that category when posting seven consecutive victories.

No. 1

Arizona is the top-ranked program in major college basketball for the first time since 2003, while it has compiled a Pac-12 Conference-best 89-28 record over the last three-plus seasons.

The Wildcats are a dominating 62-11 SU at this venue under fifth-year head coach Sean Miller, including a 33-4 mark versus non-conference foes.

Facing ranked opponents

College basketball handicappers will find that the Aggies have dropped 21 of 24 opportunities against ranked opponents, with their last such victory coming on Jan. 20, 2007.

New Mexico State is 40-60 SU all-time against Arizona, including a 12-34 mark when playing on the road.

Getting after it defensively

The Wildcats are certainly one of the best defensive teams in college basketball—ranking ninth in both field goal percentage defense and scoring defense.

Arizona is limiting opponents to 40.5 percent shooting from inside the arc, which is important to consider in facing New Mexico—a team that normally controls the paint in most games.

Prediction

I’m going to recommend that readers back the Wildcats for their college basketball picks, as the Aggies are 0-5 ATS in their last five games versus Pac-12 foes.

Arizona will outrebound its 10th consecutive opponent to open up the 2013-14 campaign, which will prove too much to overcome for the visitor.

College Basketball Pick:  Arizona Wildcats -14