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A Quick Look at New Mexico State, The Jayhawks First Round Opponent

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Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

I'll have more on the draw overall later in the week (spoiler alert: bad but maybe not as bad as first thought) but the most pressing issue first: New Mexico State is a criminally underseeded 15 seed, ranking 88th in KenPom which is higher than two of the 12 seeds, and the Aggies have not lost since January 17th at Seattle. The Aggies don't have a lot of great wins, but played Baylor tough at Baylor, so they should provide a tough test for the Jayhawks.

Fortunately for Kansas, New Mexico State does not attempt a lot of threes, ranking 8th in the WAC and 341st in the country. They do, however, make a fair amount of them, 36.3 percent on the season. Offensively they are a bit like Baylor in that they don't shoot very well inside, but get a lot of offensive rebounds (39.5 percent of their misses, 9th in the country). They rank 32nd in effective height, which will provide twofold problems: obviously it will be tougher to get rebounds, but it will also be tougher to score inside with all of that height. NMSU has two players who play a lot at 6'10" and one at 6'9", though it is worth pointing out that the Aggies rank just 199th nationally in rim protection (via hoop-math), and 281st at allowing teams to get to the rim.

New Mexico State thrives on taking the three pointer away, as its opponents attempt just 23.5 percent of their field goal attempts behind the arc, second fewest in the country. That will probably play a bit into Bill Self's hands as you know he won't want to take threes anyway, but there's no doubt that finishing at the rim and making those floaters will be a big issue for the Jayhawks in this one.

New Mexico State has a pair of senior guards, so you know they won't get rattled, although the Aggies are 326th in turnover percentage. Forcing some turnovers will be huge for the Jayhawks, especially given that New Mexico State really slows things down, and Kansas has struggled in the halfcourt a bit this year. The Aggies rank 233rd nationally in tempo, and their offensive possessions take 19.6 seconds on average, 294th in the country. That will mean fewer possessions, which will mean a greater chance at an upset.

We'll have some more film review stuff (assuming I can get footage of WAC games) and more in depth matchups going forward, but for now, know this: Kansas should emerge victorious, but like last year against Eastern Kentucky, it won't be easy.