New Mexico State Aggies

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Bracketology: Kentucky returns to top line

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Kentucky began its bracket journey last October as the projected No. 1 seed in the South Region.  As March nears, the Wildcats return to the top line, holding the No. 1 seed in the Midwest Region.  For context, UK has lost just twice since the start of 2019, by a combined four points.

Duke continues as the No. 1 overall seed, followed by Virginia and Gonzaga.  Tennessee, North Carolina, Michigan State and Michigan remain in the top-seed discussion.  All eight have a lot at stake these next three weeks.

The cutline is equally compelling.  Will some early contenders make late runs to regain a look?  Will teams like Texas, Minnesota, and Ohio State hold on?  Will this be the year we see an at-large bid or two granted to deserving mid-majors?  The Madness is about to begin.

BRACKET UPDATE: February 25, 2019

FIRST FOUR – DAYTON
EAST REGION Temple vs. Alabama
MIDWEST REGION UCF vs. Utah State
EAST REGION ST. FRANCIS (PA) vs. NORFOLK ST
WEST REGION PRAIRIE VIEW vs. RIDER

EAST Washington, DC   SOUTH – Louisville                           
Columbia Columbus
1) DUKE 1) Virginia
16) ST. FRANCIS / NORFOLK ST 16) SAM HOUSTON ST
8) Ole Miss 8) St. John’s
9) Oklahoma 9) TCU
Salt Lake City San Jose
5) Iowa 5) Maryland
12) Temple / Alabama 12) BELMONT
4) Kansas 4) KANSAS STATE
13) OLD DOMINION 13) VERMONT
Jacksonville Hartford
6) Louisville 6) Virginia Tech
11) Arizona State 11) Texas
3) LSU 3) Purdue
14) YALE 14) TEXAS STATE
Des Moines Columbia
7) BUFFALO 7) Villanova
10) VCU 10) Ohio State
2) Michigan 2) Tennessee
15) LOYOLA-CHICAGO 15) WRIGHT STATE
MIDWEST – Kansas City WEST – Anaheim
Columbus Salt Lake City
1) KENTUCKY 1) GONZAGA
16) BUCKNELL 16) PR VIEW / RIDER
8) Baylor 8) WOFFORD
9) Syracuse 9) Auburn
San Jose Tulsa
5) Florida State 5) NEVADA
12) UCF / Utah State 12) LIPSCOMB
4) Wisconsin 4) Texas Tech
13) UC-IRVINE 13) NEW MEXICO ST
Hartford Tulsa
6) Iowa State 6) Mississippi State
11) Minnesota 11) Seton Hall
3) MARQUETTE 3) HOUSTON
14) HOFSTRA 14) SOUTH DAKOTA ST
Jacksonville Des Moines
7) Cincinnati 7) WASHINGTON
10) Florida 10) NC State
2) North Carolina 2) MICHIGAN STATE
15) RADFORD 15) MONTANA

BUBBLE NOTES
Last 4 Byes Last 4 IN      First 4 OUT Next 4 OUT
Texas Temple Butler Dayton
Minnesota Alabama Clemson UNC-Greensboro
Arizona State UCF Georgetown Davidson
Seton Hall Utah State Furman Murray State

TOP SEED LINE: Duke is the No. 1 overall seed, followed by Virginia, Gonzaga, and Kentucky

Breakdown by Conference …

ACC (8): DUKE, Virginia, North Carolina, Florida State, Virginia Tech, Louisville, Syracuse, NC State

Big 10 (8): MICHIGAN STATE, Michigan, Purdue, Wisconsin, Maryland, Iowa, Ohio State, Minnesota

BIG 12 (8): KANSAS STATE, Texas Tech, Kansas, Iowa State, Baylor, TCU, Oklahoma, Texas

SEC (8): KENTUCKY, Tennessee, LSU, Mississippi State, Ole Miss, Auburn, Florida, Alabama

Big East (4): MARQUETTE, Villanova, St. John’s, Seton Hall

American (4): HOUSTON, Cincinnati, Temple, UCF

Pac 12 (2): WASHINGTON, Arizona State

Mountain West (2): NEVADA, Utah State

Southern (1): WOFFORD

Atlantic 10 (1): VCU

Mid American (1): BUFFALO

West Coast (1): GONZAGA

ONE BID LEAGUES: Loyola-Chicago (MVC), Rider (MAAC), Old Dominion (C-USA), Texas State (SBELT), Yale (IVY), Montana (BSKY), Wright State (HORIZON), Sam Houston State (SLND), UC-Irvine (BWEST), Lipscomb (ASUN), Belmont (OVC), Hofstra (CAA), Radford (BSO), Norfolk State (MEAC), South Dakota State (SUM), New Mexico State (WAC), Vermont (AEAST), Bucknell (PAT), St. Francis (PA) (NEC), Prairie View (SWAC)

Bracketing principles: read them for yourself at http://www.ncaa.com.

WATCH: New Mexico State beats Grand Canyon on half-court buzzer-beater

Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images
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When you’re down a single point and there are more than 3 seconds on the clock, you’d like to be able to get a shot off of a bit better quality that a heave from the far side of halfcourt.

It’s not a dealbreaker, though, as New Mexico State showed Thursday.

The Aggies defeated Grand Canyon 77-75 courtesy of the buzzer-beating toss from sophomore Johnny McCants.

Sure, the shot is great, but how about McCants letting it fly with more than a second left on the clock? Who needs that one extra dribble when you’re confident you can cash in from 50 feet? Not Johnny McCants, that’s for sure.

 

L.J. Figueroa reopens his recruitment

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A four-star recruit has reopened his recruitment.

L.J. Figueroa, who was previously a member of the Class of 2017, has requested and received his release from New Mexico State, according to Mark Rudi of the Las Cruces Sun-News. The 6-foot-5 swingman had committed to the Aggies in November under head coach Paul Weir. In April, Weir left the program to fill the vacancy at New Mexico.

“L.J. has not expressed any interest in being at New Mexico State,” New Mexico State head coach Chris Jans told the Sun-News. Jans became Weir’s successor on April 17.

Figueroa had enrolled in school midseason. Since he didn’t appear in any games for the Aggies, it’s likely Figueroa will receive a waiver to play immediately at whatever school he chooses to transfer to.

He held offers from high-major schools like Miami (FL), Mississippi State, Rutgers and Virginia Tech. Figueroa was one of the breakout stars this time last year, excelling during the April live recruiting periods. Playing for Team Breakdown, Figueroa was one of the top scorers in the Under Armour Association, pouring in 20.4 points per game.

The Aggies have been to six NCAA Tournaments since 2010 but Jans’ first year will prove to be challenging one. Ian Baker exhausted his eligibility while Braxton Huggins, the team’s second-leading scorer, elected to transfer out of the program.

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?

Report: New Mexico State adding JuCo transfer

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New Mexico State has landed a commitment from the junior college ranks in shooting guard Chance Ellis.

The 6-foot-5 guard from New York pledged to the Aggies on Tuesday night, according to CBS Sports’ Jon Rothstein.

Ellis started 14 games during his freshmen year at the New Mexico Military Institute, averaging 14.9 points per game while shooting 41.8 percent from the floor and 42.8 percent on nearly nine 3-point attempts per game.

The Aggies return much from last year’s 23-11 squad, but lost big man Patrick Sikiam to the NBA Draft. Ellis’ addition should give New Mexico State quite a bit of options on the wing, and certainly a serious 3-point threat there as well.

 

Prince scores career-high 34, No. 23 Baylor tops NMSU 85-70

Associated Press
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WACO, Texas (AP) Taurean Prince scored a career-high 34 points, Lester Medford had 10 points and 12 assists and No. 23 Baylor beat New Mexico State 85-70 on Wednesday night.

Prince was 13 of 19 from the field, including 3 of 4 from 3-point range, and led the Bears (9-2) with six rebounds in their 32nd consecutive non-conference home win.

Ishmail Wainwright scored a career-high 14 points and Al Freeman added 10 for Baylor.

Pascal Siakam had 26 points and 10 rebounds to lead the Aggies (7-6), who were facing their first nationally ranked opponent of the season.