San Diego State Hoops On Fire


Have you seen enough of Duke on TV yet? How about North Carolina? They finally got a big win this past Saturday over Kentucky. There's another team you'll be seeing on TV a lot this year. Kentucky.

Do you know what's happening out West?

ESPN doesn't pay much attention to Western basketball because the Pac 10 is in a downturn, and they don't have a big time contract with the league. If you're going to show Duke every week, it's only natural to spend a lot of your time hyping Duke.

Let me tell you what's happening out west. San Diego State has become a team to watch this season thanks to quality coaching and plenty of experience.

*San Diego State won the Mountain West tournament last year, beating favored New Mexico in the second round, then host UNLV by 10 points in the finals.

*San Diego State had an unlucky draw in the first round (because the Mountain West doesn't get enough respect overall from a committee that spends the year watching ESPN), and lost to Tennessee by three points. Tennessee would go on to reach the Elite Eight, losing a one-point heartbreaker to Michigan.

*San Diego State returned a lot of talent from that team, and has started the new season out with a bang. After their win and cover over respected Wichita State this past Saturday night, SDSU is 8-0 straight up, and 5-1 ATS in their major board games.

*You know how much ESPN likes to hype Gonzaga? If there's a Western team that gets respect from the media, it's Gonzaga. San Diego State's second game of the year was a ROAD win at Gonzaga as a 6-point underdog. SDSU led the whole way. The wrong team was favored.

*You know how much ESPN likes to brag on St. Mary's? They battle Gonzaga every year in the West Coast Conference, and have earned respect with some good postseason performances. San Diego State beat St. Mary's last week 69-55 as just a 6-point favorite.

*San Diego State has climbed the polls slowly (no thanks to the national media), and ranked 17th in the AP Poll, 19th in the Coaches' Poll heading into the weekend. It's tough to move up when few other powers are losing games. I believe San Diego State is better than their current poll position. I'm not saying they'd win the conference if they played in the ACC, SEC, or Big East. But, they're the best in the West right now by a good bit. And, you have to know what you're doing to be best in the West!

Oddsmakers are slowly catching up to San Diego State's high quality of play. The Aztecs were 9.5 or 10-point favorites over Wichita State this past Saturday night. That's higher than anyone would have guessed two weeks ago. Even that line of -6 over St. Mary's was out of whack with recent history. St. Mary's gets respect out here. So...the lines ARE adjusting. They just haven't caught up to reality yet.

Keep an eye on San Diego State in the coming weeks. Most quality teams eventually hit a lull in their schedule because it's impossible to stay fired up for 30 straight games. I do expect SDSU to keep things going for awhile. I do expect a big year from them in the Mountain West. And, that may be enough to get them a quality seed this year in the Big Dance...which would make it easier to make some headlines in March Madness.

Upcoming board games for SDSU:
Wednesday: at California
Saturday: vs. San Diego
12/13: vs. Cal Poly SLO
12/18: vs. UC Santa Barbara
12/21: vs. San Francisco

To beat the Vegas lines consistently, you need to spend some time AWAY from ESPN to learn about other quality teams around the country. Hey, I love college basketball...which means I love watching games on ESPN. But, the legal betting boards cover ALL the major conferences, not just the ACC, Big East, and Big 10. The mid majors barely get on national TV at all, but Butler proved again last year that some of the best basketball in the country is in these lower profile leagues.

by Las Vegas linesmaker Nick Bogdanovich


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