Team Profile: 2007 BracketBuster Preview: Ohio at New Mexico State
Much like Old Dominion, New Mexico State couldn’t have asked for a worse matchup. Ohio isn’t even ranked in the RPI’s Top 100, and the Bobcats just suffered a brutal home loss to previously 4-17 Northern Illinois.Rick Pitino disciple Reggie Theus has done a remarkable job turning this program around after the somewhat disappointing tenure of legendary coach Lou Henson. NMSU had been on track for a potential at-large bid until this past week, when they lost games to Utah State and Fresno State. A win at Nevada in the final game of the year is now critical for any at-large hopes, but a loss to Ohio Saturday night would render even that game meaningless.
Key Matchup: Backcourt vs. Backcourt
St. John’s transfer Elijah Ingram and Kansas State transfer Fred Peete run the backcourt for Theus, and although NMSU gets out in transition with great effectiveness, they also turn the ball over a ton. Ohio’s backcourt of Sonny Troutman, Bubba Walther, and Whitney Davis will own a significant size advantage, and could certainly force a number of those TO’s.
Prediction: New Mexico State 85, Ohio 70
NMSU is just too explosive for the Bobcats to handle, particularly after a long trip to Las Cruces. If NMSU’s transition points outnumber their turnovers, the Aggies will win.