Three-point defense: UTEP has three players, CJ Cooper, Jalen Ragland and McKenzie Moore who can get hot and hurt NMSU from 3 point range. Western Michigan hit 10 triples and Hawaii made 7. I think the long ball is the only way the Miners keep it close.
Turnovers: The Aggies had 17 turnovers at Hawaii. In a slower paced game against Tennessee State, NMSU had 16 turnovers. UTEP should be even slower, meaning possessions will be valuable. I think the Aggies should be fine if they keep the turnovers at 10 or under
Execution: You would think the Aggies have a distinct advantage here. NMSU has played three games against Division I opponents away from home, including a dominant victory in a true road game against Hawaii. UTEP has played one game, against a NAIA team. Not to mention the Aggies are at home, where they have beaten the Miners the past two times. I don't think the Aggies will score in the 90s again, but hopefully the Aggies' 6 makes from 3-point land against Hawaii is a sign of things to come, opening things up for the NMSU big men.
I think by the time these teams meet again, Tim Floyd will have a better idea about his team. The Aggies are a confident group and they are playing in their home opener. I don't think the Miners are talented or experienced enough to beat them.
Aggies win 68-61
I agree with your keys with possibly one exception. I believe UTEP will play a little more up tempo than they have in the past. I think the one thing you left out but will probably decide the game is free throw shooting. i anticipate a lot of fouls and if the Aggies make 70 to 75% of their FTs, they will win. Go Aggies!
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