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New Mexico vs. Louisville West Region Gambling Free Picks & Preview

West Bracket – Lobos vs Cardinals Handicapping Pick

New Mexico comes into this third round matchup aiming to win its first ever back-to-back game set in the NCCA tournament, but it won’t be an easy task against a Louisville Cardinals team who have posted five straight wins after beating 13th-seeded Davidson in the opening round on Thursday. 

No. 5 New Mexico (28-6, Mountain West) vs. No. 4 Louisville (27-9, Big East)
Date/Time: 9:40 PM ET, Saturday, March 17, 2012
Venue: Rose Garden, Portland, Oregon
Broadcast: TBS
Spread: Louisville -1
Over/Under: OFF

Matchup | Preview

The Lobos meanwhile held off a very promising and upset-minded 12th-seeded Long Beach State, 75-68, in their opening game for their sixth consecutive victory.

Sophomore guard Kendall Williams scored 14 of his 16 points in the second half and made the go-ahead 3-pointer to preserve the win.

Williams is New Mexico’s second-leading scorer behind senior forward Drew Gordon, who had 18 points and 13 rebounds for his 18th double-double of the season. Gordon now has 374 rebounds, and is just one away from tying the Lobos’ single-season record.

Defensively, New Mexico wore down Long Beach’s Casper Ware, harassing him for the entire game. The Big West player of the year went nearly 25 minutes without a field goal and finished with just 17 points on 5-of-19 shooting.

Now New Mexico will need to employ that same defense against Louisville’s Peyton Siva who one-upped his Big East tournament MVP performance with 17 points against Davidson.  [soliloquy id=”82219″]

The junior point guard lifted his team to a 69-62 win by driving the lane each time he came up the court.

Freshman forward Chance Behanan also contributed with 14 points and 11 rebounds for his seventh double-double and could be a key component in the Cards’ lineup against a very adaptable Lobos’ frontcourt.

The Cardinals’ have won both previous meetings with New Mexico, including a 64-63 victory in the 1997 NCAA tournament.

This will be another low-scoring defensive matchup that will likely be decided in the final two minutes of the game.

Prediction- Louisville – There will be plenty of pressure on Louisville to reach the Sweet 16 for the fourth time in eight seasons, and if they can get the wheels turning early and avoid surrendering turnovers and falling victim to New Mexico’s stingy defense, they will come out on top.

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