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Submitted by Jim Hurley on Tuesday, February 10, 2015 at 7:00 AM

Here in the NOTEBOOK, we want to make sure you’re paying attention to ALL the conferences that matter in college basketball. One league that historically has done well in the Big Dance despite receiving little or no hype is the Mountain West. Don’t fall prey to “If ESPN doesn’t show it…it doesn’t matter!”

Colorado State is 20-4. And, they’re not even one of the top three teams in the Mountain West!

Heading into Tuesday action, the upper division looks like this:

Wyoming 8-3

San Diego State 8-3

Boise State 7-3

Colorado State 7-4

Fresno State 6-4

New Mexico 6-5

Utah State 6-5

Wyoming and San Diego State will play Wednesday night. That card always has such a huge TV schedule that we can’t give the Mountain West a Wednesday in the NOTEBOOK! Try to stay up late to watch in on the CBS Sports cable channel, or record the game and watch it Thursday.

Tuesday’s card features a couple of sleepers, highlighted by a Colorado State team that went 13-0 in its pre-conference tune-ups (sometimes 13 is a lucky number!). The Rams would have a chance to make a very good case for a Dance at-large were they to close league play on a roll. They can’t afford a misstep Tuesday in a game you can watch on ESPNU (not ESPN or ESPN2, ESPNU).


Adjusted Offensive Efficiency

New Mexico: 100.5.3 per 100 possessions (#192 in the nation)

Colorado State: 109.7 per 100 possessions (#40 in the nation)

The hosts play an exciting brand of basketball, which is one reason we picked them for a preview showcase. You’ll enjoy watching a top 50 offense play at a top 70 pace! The Rams can definitely score enough points to hang with anyone in this league…and have significantly more weaponry than New Mexico. The Lobos’ program has slid backward since losing coach Steve Alford to UCLA.


Adjusted Defensive Efficiency

New Mexico: 94.5 per 100 possessions (#52 in the nation)

Colorado State: 100.5 per 100 possessions (#144 in the nation)

At least New Mexico still plays defense. The numbers above are why Colorado State is more of a potential spoiler than a real Dance threat. They can get hot and beat anybody. But, they will get embarrassed by top teams on the nights where their shots aren’t falling. The efficiency numbers come from the website of college basketball guru Ken Pomeroy. He tries to adjust for strength of schedule. It’s tougher to do in the mid-majors. CSU’s defense is bad by Dance standards, and will probably be their undoing in the postseason games they lose.


Pace Ranking

New Mexico: #287

Colorado State: #67

Classic battle of slow vs. fast. You regular readers know that the home team generally dictates pace. So, that favors CSU taking New Mexico out of its comfort zone. The first meeting at New Mexico was a plodding 66-53 affair that saw CSU barely break 50 when outside of its comfort zone. They’re aiming for something more like 70 tonight in the revenge spot.


Against the Spread

New Mexico: 11-9

Colorado State: 8-13-1

Even though Colorado is 20-4 straight up, they’re a disappointing 8-13-1 against the spread in their 22 board games. The markets were expecting more of them in terms of threatening the top of this division. In fact, they were favored by 5 over league leading Wyoming on this floor earlier this season, and were only a dog of +2.5 in the road rematch. The “market” still thinks CSU is better on a neutral court than the league leaders…but the market has been missing the mark quite a bit with the Rams.

Tonight’s your chance to judge them for yourself!

JIM HURLEY knows all the conferences inside and out. He’ll make sure NETWORK’S exclusive TEAM HANDICAPPING approach gets you the best plays on the board every night. You can purchase the final word for Tuesday right here at the website with your credit card. If you have any questions, call us in the office at 1-888-777-4155 during normal business hours.

This week’s multi-conference preview extravaganza continues Wednesday. Here’s what’s coming up in the NOTEBOOK…

Wednesday: College Basketball Preview…Villanova at Providence in the Big East

Thursday: College Basketball Preview…Stanford at Utah in the Pac 12

Friday: College Early Look…Ohio State at Michigan State in the Big 10

Saturday: College Basketball GameDay…Connecticut at SMU in the AAC

Sunday: NBA State of the League at the All-Star Break

Monday: Kansas at West Virginia in the Big 12

Tuesday: South Carolina at Georgia in the SEC

Wednesday 2/18: North Carolina at Duke in the ACC

How about that…no repeats! Seven different conferences in seven days of college basketball previews leading into North Carolina/Duke…with a Sunday interlude to evaluate the NBA on the day of their annual All-Star Showcase. And, the schedule’s only going to intensify through the second half of the month when the national powers line up against each other in rematches.

Things are really heating up on THE ROAD TO MARCH MADNESS. We’ll keep you in touch with all the major conferences here in the NOTEBOOK. Be sure you link up with JIM HURLEY’S NETWORK for BIG, JUICY WINNERS!

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