New Mexico State Aggies: 30-4, 15-1 in the Western Athletic Conference
Head Coach: Chris Jans (2nd season)
Key Players: Terrell Brown (11.3 PPG, 43.1 3PT%); Eli Chuha (9.8 PPG, 6.7 RPG); A.J. Harris (9.6 PPG, 3.4 APG)
Season Recap: After dominating their conference once again, New Mexico State will return to the big dance for the eighth time in 10 seasons, still looking for its first tournament win since 1993. The Aggies challenged themselves early on with tournament teams, beating North Dakota State handily and dropping one to Saint Mary’s. Head Coach Chris Jans and his squad almost delivered a huge upset over then No. 2 Kansas, but couldn’t close the deal and lost 63-60.
The Aggies won’t wow you with their scoring ability, as they get solid contributions across the board and aren’t very good shooters. They do, however, play stout defense, ranking 30th in the country in points allowed per contest. Despite that ranking, they only come in at 151st in three point defense, something to keep an eye on against sharpshooters. As for shooting themselves, find New Mexico State all the way down at 253rd in the nation in team 3-point percentage.
How they make a run: The Aggies play lockdown defense and star Terrell Brown starts to take over as the go-to guy. Shots don't don't fall for their opponents, and the Aggies notch an upset run through the early rounds of the tournament.
How they falter: Their opponent gets hot from deep and tries to speed the pace up, forcing New Mexico State into bad shots. Without a consistent scoring option, the Aggies can't dig themselves out of an early hole.