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New Mexico State vs Arkansas West Region Picks: Aggies Have Momentum on Their Side

Coming off a huge upset victory in Round 1 against UConn, the Aggies look to shock the world again with a win over No. 4 Arkansas. We like New Mexico State on the spread in a high-scoring affair on Saturday in Buffalo.

Last Updated: Mar 19, 2022 5:00 PM ET Read Time: 4 min

The No. 12 New Mexico State Aggies try on Cinderella’s slipper in the Round of 32, facing off against the No. 4 Arkansas Razorbacks in the West Region of the NCAA Tournament on Saturday.

The Razorbacks held on for a slight win over Vermont in their tourney opener Thursday, and face another physical slow-paced opponent in the Aggies. New Mexico State won a war with UConn, headlined by top scorer Teddy Allen’s 37-point eruption. Books are giving the Aggies 6.5 points in this matchup.

Here are our free March Madness picks and predictions for New Mexico State vs. Arkansas on March 19.

New Mexico State vs Arkansas odds

This odds widget represents the best odds available for each betting market from regulated sportsbooks.

Arkansas hit the board as a 6.5-point favorite and that spread has stayed steady, outside of some jostling with the juice toward NMSU. The total opened at as high as 139.5 and is down to 138 points.

Use the live odds widget above to track any future line movements right up until tip-off and be sure to check out the full college basketball odds before placing your bets.

New Mexico State vs Arkansas predictions

Predictions made on 3/18/2022 at 4:00 p.m. ET.
Click on each prediction to jump to the full analysis.

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New Mexico State vs Arkansas game info

Location: KeyBank Center, Buffalo, NY
Date: Saturday, March 19, 2022
Tip-off: 8:40 p.m. ET

New Mexico State vs Arkansas betting preview


New Mexico State: Donnie Tillman F (Questionable).
Arkansas: No injuries to report.
Find our latest NCAA basketball injury reports.

Betting trend to know

The Aggies are 13-3 ATS in their last 16 games vs. a team with a winning percentage above .600. Find more NCAA betting trends for New Mexico State vs. Arkansas.

New Mexico State vs Arkansas picks and predictions

Our side and total predictions are based upon our analysis of the line and total in this game. Our best bet is our favorite pick across all markets.

Spread analysis

New Mexico State did find itself in a favorable matchup with Connecticut in the first round, as the Huskies were cut from a similar cloth: big, bad, and banging down low. The Razorbacks are a 180 in terms of tempo, looking to pick up the pace and put opponents on their heels in transition.

You would think this switch in gears could be costly for the Aggies, who rank out just 242nd in tempo at However, NMSU is the king of the Western Athletic Conference, which is a league better known for its pace. The Aggies are a bit of an anomaly for the WAC and have faced plenty of foes who like to get out and run.

A big chunk of New Mexico State’s defensive resume is slowing up transition attacks, something it excels at. The Aggies also do a good job protecting the rim and rank 21st in effective field goal rate allowed (45.6%), and average 4.2 blocks per game (57th).

The Hogs are very reliant on running up-and-down the floor at a rapid rate, thriving on getting to the rim, and drawing fouls. Arkansas had mixed results versus Vermont in transition on Thursday, scoring just four fastbreak points but did go 20 of 25 from the free-throw line.

Defensively, Arkansas has its hands full with Allen. The burly 6-foot-6 guard started cold versus UConn then absolutely took over – doing damage inside and out – to finish with 37 points on 10-of-24 shooting, including 4 for 7 from beyond the arc. Allen also cashed in all 13 of his foul shots to secure the victory down the stretch, which were all of NMSU's free throws for the game.

The Razorbacks are an average defense against isolation and did a good job limiting top SEC shooting guards like Phlandrous Fleming Jr. and Santiago Vescovi, but Allen is a much more physical force (he’s 23 years old), and doesn’t shrink against power-conference competition, with stops at West Virginia and Nebraska.

He’s the best player on the floor – which is saying something considering the likes of Stanley Umude and J.D. Notae for the Hogs – and will keep the Aggies competitive in this Round of 32 showdown.

Prediction: New Mexico State +6.5 (-110)

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Over/Under analysis

The Razorbacks’ win against Vermont played Over the 141-point total, thanks in large part to their ability to get the foul line and score with the clock stopped. 

This Round of 32 total is sitting at 138 points, but New Mexico State could be more apt to run a little bit – at least more than the Catamounts, who couldn’t help but work the ball around on offense, despite passing on some pretty high-percentage looks.

The Aggies did put up higher point totals in WAC run-ins with pace-pushing programs like UT Rio Grande Valley (85), Dixie State (75 and 77), and Seattle (79), and NMSU just scored 70 points on 46% shooting (65% from 3-point range) against UConn’s stingy defense. 

There are plenty of players on the floor who like to attack the rim and also thrive on intensity and aggression. I could see this one getting heated, with plenty of personal fouls and points scored from the charity stripe if things are tight down the stretch.

Prediction: Over 138 (-110)

Best bet

Arkansas is a red-hot Over bet heading into the Round of 32, having topped the total in all three postseason games (going back to the SEC tournament), and enter Saturday on a 7-0 run hitting the Over, dating back to February 22. 

That stretch includes Over winners against the likes of Tennessee and LSU – the top two defenses in the SEC – as well as topping totals against slower-tempo teams like Florida and Texas A&M. 

As mentioned, the Aggies are a good defense versus transition, so they can slow up the Razorbacks' runners. But the Hogs did a good job still formulating fouls in the win over Vermont, and plenty of points from the stripe will bump this one Over the number.

Pick: Over 138 (-110)

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