College Basketball Sweat Barometer 

February, 22, 2012

Last night, I mentioned to Sweat Barometer contributor and professional handicapper Sal Selvaggio of that I wanted to write about New Mexico. The Lobos were riding a ridiculous seven-game ATS winning streak heading into last night's matchup against Colorado State and had risen to seventh in the sweat barometer (average margin of cover) standings.

"This is a total flat spot for New Mexico after beating San Diego State and UNLV," Selvaggio said. "And New Mexico already beat Colorado State by 30-plus so you know they'll want payback."

Selvaggio was right. Despite being a 5.5-point underdog, Colorado State beat New Mexico 71-63. The result served as a reminder: The sweat barometer is a guide but not an authority. It's a tool to use in conjunction with many other factors, including motivation, when handicapping a game.

Last night's result notwithstanding, New Mexico has been a tremendous play for bettors this season. Since Alford has arrived, New Mexico is 90-58-5 ATS -- an absolutely unconscious 60.8 percent.

"I think being in a mid-major conference has really served Alford well," Selvaggio said. "He tends to beat up on lesser teams as evidenced by a 70-38 mark against the spread as a favorite."

When Alford was coaching Iowa in the Big 10, he was coaching a team in the middle of the pack and not one of the conference's powers. At New Mexico, Alford has a team that is near the top of just about every significant statistic in the Mountain West. He has the second-ranked scoring offense, second-ranked scoring defense, top-ranked field goal percentage defense, and his squad has the best rebounding margin in the conference.

In all eight of New Mexico's conference wins, the Lobos have won by double digits. So, if it's a good spot for New Mexico, don't hesitate to lay some serious wood.

Let's turn to this week's sweat barometer.

Jeff Gold

ESPN Contributor