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Long Beach State star Casper Ware dribbles up-court during Long Beach State's tough loss to Creighton.
Over the course of the year, Long Beach State has beat Xavier and Pittsburgh, and they fell just short against Creighton, Montana, UNC, Kansas, and San Diego State. How's that for a 12th seed?
Long Beach State has a star in Casper Ware, who averages over 17 points per game. Ware scored 33 in LBSU's 77-64 win over UC Santa Barbara in the Big West title game, shooting 10-23 from the field.
Ware drained eight threes, and the 49ers made f14 of 33 triples in the game. If Long Beach State shoots like they did on Saturday, the Lobos should watch out. The 49ers can light up the scoreboard, and they are definitely capable of upsetting New Mexico.
The MWC champions are definitely not a team you can overlook, however. New Mexico beat UNLV and San Diego State twice, and they beat New Mexico State, Saint Louis, and Colorado State once. Drew Gordon, a transfer from UCLA, leads the Lobos in scoring with over 13 PPG.
New Mexico has looked very sharp during their five-game winning streak, but they've looked worse than bad at times. They scored just 44 points in a tight win over 6-26 USC, and they looked sloppy in close wins over lowly Arizona State and lowly Washington State.
This game will come down to the play of Ware. I think Ware can prove himself as an elite player with a solid game, and I think New Mexico, who has struggled to score at times, will struggle to score at time and fail to top 70.
A lot of people expect Long Beach State to win. With Casper Ware and a strong supporting cast (Larry Anderson averages 14 PPG and T.J Robinson averages over 10 RPG), I don't see how I can't be one of those people.
Prediction: Long Beach State 75, New Mexico 68