LAS CRUCES, New Mexico - New Mexico State knew they would be returning to the NCAA Tournament. But what they didn't know was the seeding surprise that awaited them on Selection Sunday.
The Aggies earned a 12-seed in the West Region and will play 5th-seeded UCONN in the 1st Round of the NCAA Tournament on Thursday in Buffalo, New York.
The 12-seed admittedly came as a relief to New Mexico State, who had been pegged as either a 13 or 14 seed leading up to Selection Sunday.
Now, the Aggies will open against the Huskies who finished the regular season ranked 20th in the AP Poll and third in the Big East standings.
The Huskies most recently fell 63-60 to eventual champion Villanova in the semifinals of the Big East Tournament.
UCONN has won four NCAA Tournament Championships in their storied history, most recently in 2014.
But the Big East blue blood has yet to win a Tournament game under current Head Coach Dan Hurley, who took the reins in 2018.
Thursday's meeting will be the first ever meeting between the two schools.
After defeating Abilene Christian 66-52 in the WAC Tournament Championship Game on Saturday night, New Mexico clinched an automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament.
The NCAA Tournament appearance is the 23rd in the history of the program and third in the tenure of head coach Chris Jans.