Prediction, Preview, and Odds
#835 New Mexico State 139 vs.
#836 Arizona -12.5
Sunday, November 17, 2019 at 2:00pm EST
Written by Nick Cowie

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#835 New Mexico State University
#836 University of Arizona
2-1
3-0
18-13-1
13-19
16-16
14-17-1
77
70
64
68

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The No. 19 Arizona Wildcats host the New Mexico State Aggies this Sunday afternoon in a non-conference matchup. Both teams are off to a hot start to their 2019-20 campaigns. Arizona's first three games were all blowout wins over the likes of Norther Arizona, Illinois, and San Jose State. New Mexico State dropped a game to UTEP but made up for it with double-digit wins over Western New Mexico and Southern. The Aggies will try to lean on their reliable defensive play to slow down the fire-fueled offense of the Wildcats.

Aggies aim to gain momentum

Coming into this one, New Mexico State has alternated wins and losses to start the year. They kicked things off with a dominant win over Division II Western New Mexico before dropping a game to UTEP in a disappointing 65-50 performance. They got back in the win column in their most recent game against Southern, a performance in which their offense woke back up. Outside shooting from the New Mexico State guards was the story of this win. Shawn Williams went 4-6 from deep with 17 total points and Trevelin Queenadded 20 points while shooting 3-7 from three. The Aggies will not be able to bully Arizona down low, so the three absolutely has to fall to give them a chance of pulling the upset.

It is in New Mexico State's best interest to slow the pace and keep the score low in this game. The Aggies have shown great defensive capabilities early on this season, not allowing more than 65 points in any of their three games. Keeping their opponents to such a low mark has also been a product of possession and rebounding. On average, the Aggies outwork their opponents on the boards by a 36.7 to 24.7 mark. It would be surprising and very impressive if they can dominate the paint against a big, physical team like the Arizona Wildcats

Arizona comes out guns blazing

The No. 19 Arizona Wildcats wasted absolutely no time getting into the swing of things this year. Through their first three games, their average margin of victory has been a whopping 36 points. The most impressive victory so far is their 21 point stomping of Illinois, a team that was on the cusp of the national rankings, receiving votes in all polls. After leading by just one point going into the break, the Wildcats put up 51 points in the second half to Illinois's 31. Arizona showed smart shot selection and accuracy from three in that performance, going 7-16 from beyond the arc. Through their first three games, the Wildcats are shooting 42 percent from three while opponents connect on just 25 percent of their threes. This could spell trouble for the Aggies who attempt 24.3 threes per game.

In the early going, freshman forward Zeke Nnaji has been an absolute force down low. Standing at 6 feet 11 inches tall, he will have a significant size advantage over anyone on the New Mexico State roster who has seen considerable floor time this season. So far this season, Nnaji is averaging 21.7 points and 6.7 rebounds per game. He is also shooting an amazing 81 percent from the field, making him incredibly reliable down low. If the consistency from outside holds up and Nnaji keeps dominating near the rim, the Arizona offense is going to be tough to stop for any team in the nation.

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With just two players averaging double figures in the scoring column, New Mexico State will likely have trouble scoring in this one. They are reliant on the three falling, and Arizona has been excellent at stopping three-point shooting so far this season. The Aggies' biggest strength is typically their defense, but Arizona is simply too strong and physical offensively for them to deal with. The Wildcats essentially negate all the strengths of the Aggies and will feed in their weaknesses. This one should be a fairly lopsided victory for the Arizona Wildcats.

Prediction: Arizona Wildcats -12

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Both teams have seen defensive success up to this point in the season but Arizona's shooting and post-game should be enough to put up a significant point total. It is unlikely that New Mexico State will have a huge offensive performance, but their shooting from the outside will be enough to help this game beat the over.

Prediction: Over 138.5
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Written By Nick Cowie

Nick graduated with an environmental science degree and is a freelance writer, covering anything from fighting to forestry. He is a washed up swimmer and a sports and comedy enthusiast.