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Aggies confident ahead of game against Baylor in NCAA Tournament

Aggies prepare for Baylor

LAS CRUCES, N.M. - The New Mexico State Aggies managed to run off 20 wins in a row earlier this season, but none of those wins came against a team as talented as Baylor. 

The Bears, after all, were previously ranked number one in the nation this season before sliding a bit late in the year. 

Still, Baylor is a big favorite over NMSU ahead of Friday's game.  According to Las Vegas, the Bears were about a 12-point favorite Tuesday afternoon, based partly on the size advantage they have over the Aggies in the frontcourt. 

But the Aggies are still confident this is a game they can win, despite being much smaller than Baylor.  

"We like to play physical, so me and Jemerrio (Jones), we're pretty undersized down there in the post, but we feel like we can use our speed, you know, and cause problems for them and stuff like that," said NMSU forward Eli Chuha. "But as far as height and strength, we're not too worried about it.  We'll find a way." 

NMSU has played Baylor each of the last two regular seasons, with Baylor winning both games by double digits. 

Friday's meeting will be the third time the Aggies and Bears have met in as many years. 

"It should be fun," said NMSU guard Braxton Huggins.  "I know most teams don't have us winning or even competing with them.  But I feel really confident in our group and what we bring to the table."

One thing that could give Aggies fans hope is the fact Baylor has stumbled in each of the past two NCAA Tournaments, losing its opening game both years. 

But the Bears say they won't make the same mistake again. 

"I mean, I'm pretty sure we're motivated," said Baylor guard Ishmail Wainwright.  "Not just the players, but the coaches, the fans.  We're motivated."

Last season, Baylor fell to an undersized Yale team that ended up out-rebounding the Bears.  But Baylor coach Scott Drew says his team already knows how athletic NMSU is, meaning they won't be caught off-guard. 

"You're gonna see a lot of players that athletically can do a lot of things that are very exciting," he said.  "So, hopefully, they see it in warm-ups and not in the game, because we don't need any SportsCenter dunks against us." 

The Aggies and Bears tip-off at 10:40 a.m. MST on Friday on TruTV.  

KVIA and KVIA.com will be providing complete coverage Thursday and Friday as NMSU looks to pull off the upset. 

 

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