This Thursday, the No. 5 seed Auburn Tigers will take on the 12th-seeded New Mexico State Aggies in first round action in the Midwest Region in Salt Lake City. The winner will play Kansas or Northeastern.
Preview: The Auburn Tigers were one of the biggest winners of Championship Weekend, shocking Tennessee in the SEC Championship Game, and taking home the league title as the five-seed. After a hot start to the year, which featured wins over the likes of Washington, Xavier, Arizona, and Murray State, and a close loss to Duke, Auburn hit some skids in the tough SEC. Bruce Pearl has righted the ship though, and enters March on an eight game winning streak, including victories over Mississippi State, South Carolina, Florida, and two wins against the Vols.
Auburn's roster is littered with shooters, including the dangerous guard duo of Bryce Brown (15.7 points per game) and Jared Harper (15.4). The Tigers bring a 26-9 record into the Tournament.
New Mexico State had a tremendous season that saw the Aggies win 30 games for the first time in school history. NMSU finished the season with a 30-4 record that included a 15-1 record in the WAC. The Aggies only lost to Saint Mary’s, Kansas (by three on the road), Drake and California Baptist. New Mexico State is led by an incredibly balanced scoring attack and is easily one of the best mid-major teams in the field.
Date: Thursday, March 21
Time: 1:30 p.m. ET
TV Channel: TNT
Location: Vivint Smart Home Arena, Salt Lake City, Utah.
Announcers: Andrew Catalon/Steve Lappas//Lisa Byington
Prediction: The Aggies are going to be a trendy upset pick, thanks to their resume, which is quite strong for a mid-major. They can go 12-deep in their rotation too, so they'll be able to throw plenty of looks at Auburn.
The Tigers are playing their best ball of the season right now though. We like them to win this game.
Auburn is the pick.