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Long Beach St. vs. New Mexico West Region Gambling Free Picks & Preview

West Bracket – 49ers vs Lobos Handicapping Pick

Two of possibly the better teams in the West Bracket will do battle on Thursday afternoon when the fifth-seeded New Mexico Lobos meet up with the 12th-seed Long Beach State 49ers at the Rose Garden in Portland, Oregon.  

(5) New Mexico Lobos (27-6, Mountain West) vs. (12) Long Beach State 49ers (25-8, Big West)
Date/Time: 4:10 PM ET, Thursday, March 15, 2012
Venue: Rose Garden, Portland, Oregon
Broadcast: TBS
Spread: New Mexico -4.5
Over/Under: 137.5

Matchup | Preview

After missing the “Big Dance” in 2011, the Lobos, this year’s Mountain West Conference regular season co-champions along with San Diego State, are back and are a stacked athletic squad looking to go deep into this year’s NCAA Tournament.

Led by senior forward and UCLA transfer Drew Gordon, who averages a double-double with 13 points and 11 points per game, New Mexico boasts the kind of potency that allows them to keep the pressure on both offensively and defensively.

And where there is strength in numbers, that usually translates to holding teams to minimal points day in and day out. Exactly what the Lobos do, surrendering a meager 58 points a game on the year, on 37 percent shooting from the field and 30 percent from behind the arc.

While Gordon is the team’s star, he gets plenty of help too, and Kendall Williams and Tony Snell, who also average double figures with 12 and 10 respectively, can make the opposition pay dearly for keying in too much on Gordon.

Something the 49ers will have to avoid. [soliloquy id=”82219″]

Make no mistake, this Long Beach State team it tough, and after surviving a brutal non-conference schedule, and then winning the Big West Conference tournament title, the 49ers are not going to be content with just getting to the tourney.

They want to win it all.

And why not? The 49ers are a hungry squad, as they haven’t won even a single NCAA tournament game since 1973, when Jerry Tarkanian was coach.

So could this be the year Beach ends the drought behind Big West Player of the Year, senior guard Casper Ware, who is putting up an average of 16 points a game?

Well, it’s their best chance in decades, and Ware certainly looks like he’s up to the task of carrying this team.

However, despite Ware’s ability to shoulder most of the offensive load, he will get a lot of help from a heavily senior-laden squad that includes defensive specialist Larry Anderson.

Although Anderson missed the conference tournament with a knee injury, he should be healed in time for the opener.

His return presence will strengthen the Niners’ 1-3-1 zone, which has thrown off the vast majority of teams they have played them this season.

Prediction- Long Beach- Long Beach State is definitely a sleeper team capable of pulling off some upsets.

The first being New Mexico State.

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