New Mexico vs. Clemson Prediction, Odds and Key Players for NCAA Tournament First Round (Lobos Advance)

College basketball betting preview, prediction and best bet for New Mexico-Clemson.

Feb 6, 2024; Laramie, Wyoming, USA; New Mexico Lobos guard Jaelen House (10) looks to pass against Wyoming.
Feb 6, 2024; Laramie, Wyoming, USA; New Mexico Lobos guard Jaelen House (10) looks to pass against Wyoming. / Troy Babbitt-USA TODAY Sports

Richard Pitino’s New Mexico squad was one of the many bid stealers in the NCAA Tournament. The Lobos ran the table in the Mountain West, defeating reigning national runner-up San Diego State for the conference tournament title and the program’s first NCAA Tournament berth in 10 years. 

Can No. 11 New Mexico advance over No. 6 Clemson? The Lobos are the lowest-seeded team to be favored in their first-round matchup. Clemson will have over a week between games after falling in the first round of the ACC Tournament to Boston College. The Tigers have dropped three of their last four games ahead of March Madness. Can they bounce back? Here’s the betting breakdown of the matchup with a best bet. 

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New Mexico vs. Clemson Odds, Spread and Total

New Mexico vs. Clemson Betting Trends

  • New Mexico is 23-11 ATS this season
  • Clemson is 17-14-1 ATS this season
  • New Mexico is 19-7 ATS as a favorite this season
  • Clemson is 6-1 ATS as an underdog this season
  • The OVER is 17-17 in New Mexico games this season
  • The OVER is 17-15 in Clemson games this season 

New Mexico vs. Clemson How to Watch

  • Date: Friday, March 22 
  • Game time: 3:10 p.m. EST
  • Venue: FedEx Forum
  • How to watch (TV): truTV
  • New Mexico record: 26-9
  • Clemson record: 21-11

New Mexico vs. Clemson Key Players to Watch

New Mexico

Jaelen House: With New Mexico’s tournament hopes on the line, House led the Lobos to four wins in four days with big performances in the Mountain West Tournament. House combined for 92 points in four games. He finished with 28 points and 5 rebounds with three 3-pointers in New Mexico’s win over San Diego State Saturday in the conference tournament final. 


PJ Hall: A dominant big man in the ACC, Hall, a 6-foot-10 senior center, averages 18.8 points and 6.7 rebounds per night while shooting nearly 50% from the field. Hall has seven double-doubles under his belt this season and is trying to do more on the glass after combining for just three rebounds over the last two games. 

New Mexico vs. Clemson Prediction and Pick 

New Mexico plays fast at the No. 8 tempo in the nation, according to KenPom, but still plays under control. The Lobos, No. 12 in average possession length (15.4 seconds), are No. 15 in the nation in turnover percentage and will face a Clemson defense that makes teams comfortable by forcing the second-fewest turnovers per game in the ACC (9.3).

Can Clemson keep up with New Mexico? The Tigers are built down low but have a top-heavy backcourt with Joseph Girard III and Chase Hunter. Clemson is No. 236 in bench minutes and it’s fair to question if the Tigers’ legs will be fresh enough to match the Lobos's fast-paced attack. New Mexico scores over 57% of its points from inside the arc and Clemson’s defense is top-50 in the nation in defending shots from 2-point range. However, most of those points are in the fast-break. New Mexico is No. 14 in the country in fast-break points per game (14.80). 

Clemson’s offense is top-50 in the country in shooting but New Mexico’s defense has been stingy against shots this season, defending the perimeter at a top-25 rate in the country and forcing a lot of turnovers. 

This is the 12th time a No. 11 seed has been a first-round favorite over a No. 6 seed. In the previous 11, the lower-seeded club was 10-1 straight up. Take the Lobos to advance. 

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Game odds update periodically and are subject to change.