Get to know all of the NCAA Tournament’s automatic bids here.
Coach: Marvin Menzies
Record: 26-9 (12-4 WAC)
Rankings and Ratings:
– Kenpom: 72
– RPI: 78
– AP/USA Today: Not ranked
Seeding?: As of Dave Ommen’s bracket update on Saturday morning, New Mexico State was a No. 15 seed.
Names you need to know: Daniel Mullings (16.7 ppg, 4.8 rpg, 3.5 apg, 1.9 spg), Sim Bhullar (10.5 ppg, 7.8 rpg, 3.5 bpg), Tshilidzi Nephawe (11.1 ppg, 7.9 rpg, 1.5 bpg)
Stats you need to know: The Aggies can score. They’re top 50 in offensive efficiency because they hit threes, they have post scorers, they get to the offensive glass and they have Daniel Mullings. They aren’t all that good defensively, however, because they don’t force turnovers and they can’t clean the defensive glass.
Tendencies: There are things that the Aggies do quite well. They can score, they have size and they have a playmaker offensively that can go for 20 on any given night. They chase teams off the three point line and they have the length and athleticism to contest shots inside the arc. Where they struggle is on the defensive glass. Too many second chance points on a team that doesn’t gamble for steals is not a good combination.
Big wins, bad losses: New Mexico State swept UTEP and also picked up a win over New Mexico in The Pit, one of the toughest places in the country to play.
How’d they get here?: The Aggies finished second in the WAC during the regular season, but they won the league tournament thanks, in part, to Idaho upsetting Utah Valley in the semifinals.
Outlook: New Mexico State beat New Mexico at New Mexico. That’s not an easy thing to do, and it should be proof that they can give whoever they draw in the first round some issues. The problem? A watered-down WAC combined with four ugly league losses means that they’ll likely end up playing a No. 2 or a No. 3 seed in their first game makes it tough to predict an upset.
How do I know you?: Because they have this guy, who is 7-foot-5:
And they played in a game where this happened: