Midwest Region: NM State vs Auburn Prediction
NM State vs Auburn Preview
The 5 versus 12 matchup always delivers close games and constant upsets–and we could see that again in this game between the 5th-seeded Auburn Tigers (26-9) and the 12th-seeded New Mexico State Aggies (30-4).
It will mark the first-ever matchup between Auburn, the reigning SEC Tournament champion, and New Mexico State, the WAC Tournament champion.
Both teams are HOT
New Mexico State has not lost a game since Jan. 3, when it fell to California Baptist, 82-76. It was the worst loss on the Aggies’ resume this season. They have won 19 games since then.
Auburn blew through the SEC Tournament taking home the title–but their winning streak is longer than that. They have won eight straight games and 10 of their last 11. During that span they have beaten solid programs like Tennessee twice, Mississippi State and Florida.
New Mexico State is balanced
New Mexico State has only one player averaging double-figure scoring this season, guard Terrell Brown at 11.3 points per game. However, the team is deep throughout their starting lineup and their bench.
The Aggies had 13 players average at least 11 minutes per game. They play fast, pressure defense which allows them to wear opponents down–having as deep of a bench as they do prevents their legs from getting tired.
Outside of Brown, senior forward Eli Chuha, will be a force that Auburn needs to stop. At 6’7 230lbs he can be intimidating in the middle–on the season he averages 9.8 points and 6.7 rebounds while shooting a solid 68 percent from the floor.
The Aggies have an average margin of victory of 14 points per contest. They average 78 PPG and only give up 64 PPG.
Auburn is not as deep as NM State–however, their starting unit is a lot more talented. Three Tigers average in double figures in scoring per night and if the Aggies do not slow them down, it could be a long afternoon.
Bryce Brown– 15.8 points per game while shooting 42 percent from the field and 40 percent from three-point range. If he gets going from long-range, look out.
Jared Harper– 15.2 points, 2.6 rebounds and 5.8 assists per game.
Chuma Okeke– 11.7 points, 6.8 rebounds, 1.2 blocks per game.
These three pace the Tigers–if they play well, typically Auburn winds up victorious.
LINE: -7.5 Auburn
Dan’s Bet: +7.5 NM State
Bracket Pick: Auburn
Score Prediction: Auburn 77 NM State 76