Introducing Cinderella: New Mexico State Aggies dancing once again

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Conference: Western Athletic Conference

Coach: Paul Weir

Record: 27-5 (11-3 WAC)

Ratings and Rankings:

– Kenpom: 92
– RPI: 64
– AP/USA Today: N/A

Seeding: When the latest NBC Sports bracket projection was released on Saturday, it predicted that CSU Bakersfield would win the WAC Tournament title and projected the Roadrunners as a No. 15 seed. The Aggies have a much higher RPI than several projected seeds on higher lines, so maybe, they move up in the next installment of bracketology.

Names you need to know: Ian Baker the star of this New Mexico State team, averaging 16.7 points, 4.3 rebounds and 4.1 assists per game. He rarely came off the court during the WAC Tournament en route to MVP honors. The 6-footer will have the ball in his hands with the game on the line, and has a track record of coming up with clutch shots.

Stats you need to know: New Mexico State’s offensive efficiency. Paul Weir moved one seat over at Marvin Menzies left for the UNLV vacancy this offseason. Defense and rebounding is what the team centered around. While that’s still true of this year’s team, there’s more of an emphasis on the offensive side. The Aggies rank 76th in offensive efficiency per kenpom. That’s up more than 100 spots from 2016.

Big wins, bad losses: New Mexico State has win in terms of RPI would be CSU Bakersfield, followed by New Mexico. The Aggies worst loss would be splitting the regular-season series with Utah Valley, which ended the year a game under .500

How’d they get here?: New Mexico State entered as the No. 2 seed in the WAC. After defeating Chicago State and UMKC by an average margin of victory of 16 points, the Aggies had a tired CSU Bakersfield. The previous day, the Roadrunners lived up to the nickname, needing four overtimes to take out Utah Valley in the WAC semis. CSU Bakersfield simply ran out of gas once New Mexico State decided it wanted to speed the game up.

Outlook: Despite its constant visits to the Big Dance, it’s often short lived for the Aggies. Perhaps with a better balance of offensive and defense they can change the outcome this time around. New Mexico State is an experienced team with multiple guys who have been in NCAA Tournaments before. That’s enough to put an upset alert on any team its set to face.

How do I know you?: The 2010 NCAA Tournament, or any NCAA Tournament from 2012-2015. How about Sim Bhullar? Do you remember him? What about Pascal Siakam? A 2016 first-round pick who is currently starting for the Toronto Raptors?

SMU gets transfer in Georgetown’s Akoy Agau

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SMU pulled in a frontcourt player in Georgetown transfer Akoy Agau, a source confirmed to NBCSports.com. Agau is immediately eligible for next season as a graduate transfer.

The 6-foot-8 Agau started his career at Louisville before transferring to Georgetown after one season. Spending two seasons with the Hoyas, Agau was limited to 11 minutes in his first season due to injuries. He averaged 4.5 points and 4.3 rebounds per game last season.

Coming out of high school, Agau was a four-star prospect but he’s never lived up to that billing in-part because of injuries. Now, Agau gets one more chance to make a difference as he’s hoping to help replace some departed pieces like Ben Moore and Semi Ojeleye.

South Carolina loses big man Sedee Keita to transfer

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South Carolina big man Sedee Keita will transfer from the program, he announced on Friday.

The 6-foot-9 Keita was once regarded as a top-100 national prospect in the Class of 2016, but he never found consistent minutes with the Gamecocks for last season’s Final Four team.

Keita appeared in 29 games and averaged 1.1 points and 2.0 rebounds per game while shooting 27 percent from the field.

A native of Philadelphia, Keita will have to sit out next season before getting three more seasons of eligibility.

Although Keita failed to make an impact during his only season at South Carolina, he’ll be a coveted transfer thanks to his size and upside.

Mississippi State losing two to transfer

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Mississippi State will lose two players to transfer as freshmen Mario Kegler and Eli Wright are leaving the program.

Both Kegler and Wright were four-star prospects coming out of high school as they were apart of a six-man recruiting class that is supposed to be a major foundation for Ben Howland’s future with the Bulldogs.

The 6-foot-7 Kegler was Mississippi State’s third-leading scorer last season as he averaged 9.7 points and 5.5 rebounds per game. Kegler should command some quality schools on the transfer market, especially since he’ll still have three more years of eligibility after sitting out next season due to NCAA transfer regulations. Kegler’s loss is also notable for Mississippi State because it is the second consecutive offseason that Howland lost a top-100, in-state product to transfer after only one season after Malik Newman left for Kansas.

Wright, a 6-foot-4 guard, was never able to find consistent minutes as he was already behind underclass perimeter options like Quinndary Weatherspoon, Lamar Peters and Tyson Carter last season. With Nick Weatherspoon, Quinndary’s four-star brother, also joining the Bulldogs next season, the writing was likely on the wall that Wright wasn’t going to earn significant playing time.

 

N.C. State lands second transfer of day with Utah’s Devon Daniels

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A big recruiting day for N.C. State continued on Saturday afternoon as Utah transfer and guard Devon Daniels pledged to the Wolfpack.

Earlier in the day, N.C. State and new head coach Kevin Keatts landed another quality transfer in UNC Wilmington guard C.J. Bryce.

The 6-foot-5 Daniels just finished his freshman season with the Utes in which he put up 9.9 points 4.6 rebounds and 2.7 assists per game while shooting 57 percent from the field and 40 percent from three-point range. Just like Bryce, Daniels will have to sit out the 2017-18 season due to NCAA transfer regulations before he has three more seasons of eligibility.

N.C. State now has two potential starters on the perimeter for the 2018-19 season with the addition of Bryce and Daniels as it will be interesting to see what kind of talent the Wolfpack can get around them.

 

UNC Wilmington transfer C.J. Bryce follows Kevin Keatts to N.C. State

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N.C. State landed an impact transfer on Saturday as UNC Wilmington guard C.J. Bryce will be following former head coach Kevin Keatts to the Wolfpack, a source confirmed to NBCSports.com

The 6-foot-5 Bryce averaged 17.4 points, 5.4 rebounds and 3.0 assists per game last season as he helped the Seahawks to an NCAA tournament appearance. Bryce will have to sit out the 2017-18 season due to NCAA transfer regulations, but he’ll have two seasons of eligibility remaining after sitting out one season.

With N.C. State getting center Omer Yurtseven back for next season, and with the addition of Bryce, it means that Keatts has retained, or added, some talented players for the next few seasons. The Wolfpack still have to fill a lot of roster spots from last season’s team, but Keatts seems to be having a really good week.