Newspaper article The Topeka Capital-Journal

Quick Scout: New Mexico State a Good and Bad Matchup for KU

Newspaper article The Topeka Capital-Journal

Quick Scout: New Mexico State a Good and Bad Matchup for KU

Article excerpt

All statistics from KenPom.com and Hoop-Math.com. KenPom stats also only include Division I competition.

Team: New Mexico State

Record: 23-10

KenPom (Ken Pomeroy) Ranking: 88

Point spread: KU by 11 1/2

3 Strengths

- Offensive rebounding:

NMSU's greatest strength is inside, where it ranks ninth nationally in offensive rebounding percentage. The Aggies actually should have the height advantage inside, boasting four rotation players at 6-foot-8 or taller.

- 3-point defense: One of NMSU's main focuses is guarding the line, as only 23.5 percent of opponents' shots have come from 3- point range (second-lowest mark nationally). Those rare outside shots normally don't go in either, as foes have made just 29.5 percent of their 3s against the Aggies (seventh nationally).

- Getting to the line: NMSU ranks 25th in the advanced stat free throw rate, which measures how often a team makes it to the free throw line per 100 field goal attempts. The Aggies also have been accurate from the stripe, making 71 percent of their freebies this season and 75 percent of them in WAC play.

3 Weaknesses

- Turnovers: The Aggies are one of the most careless teams in the nation, ranking 326th out of 351 Division I teams in offensive turnover percentage. Kansas hasn't thrived at creating giveaways this year, but it wouldn't surprise me if the Jayhawks throw out some full-court pressure to speed up the pace and try to take advantage of this weakness.

- Defensive rebounding: NMSU has only been average on the defensive boards, ranking 150th nationally while facing a subpar schedule. This could open up opportunities for KU players like Perry Ellis and Jamari Traylor on the offensive glass if they're aggressive enough.

- Schedule strength: This isn't NMSU's fault, but the WAC ranked 31st out of 33 conferences in KenPom's league rankings. In the Aggies' last 17 games, the top KenPom-ranked team they played was No. …

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