New Mexico State hoops

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Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Home stand

In my last entry I posed the question of a game being a must-win. This time I'm saying that these two games against San Jose and Hawaii are must win games for the Aggies. At least if they hope for a high seed (say No. 4) in the conference tournament and a somewhat favorable matchup in the first round.
I know that Coach Menzies will say its too early, but in my opinion, 5-4 is much better than 3-6 or 4-5 at this stage in this league. Especially when Idaho has Boise and Nevada this weekend. Boise also has to return to Las Cruces, so the No. 3 seed is still possible, but getting swept or splitting this week makes it that much tougher considering the Aggies still have to travel to Utah State and Nevada and I can see this team dropping one they shouldn't somewhere along the way, perhaps vs. fresno or at la tech or hawaii.
Not only are this weeks games against SJSU and Hawaii must wins from a standings standpoint, but because one game (san Jose) is against a team they already beat on the road, and the other is against a last place team that their coach said was in a tailspin in the WAC conference call on Monday. A loss on Thursday is possible as it seems the Spartans have survived injuries to their best two players in Adrian Oliver and Tim Pierce but the spartans are one of the two teams the Aggies have been able to beat in a close game (idaho being the other). And if i understand correctly, the Pan Am isnt friendly to the Spartans.
Hawaii has a couple of decent pieces but Coach Nash talked about his team's inability to knock down shots from the perimeter, meaning the Aggies zone will be useful to shut down Amis and Roderick Flemings inside. Hawaii is the one team i haven't seen thus far on television or in in person so they are a mystery to me, but losing to a one-win team at home would probably be the low point of the season.

6 comments:

JJ said...

I think the first item needs to be a better definition of “must win”.

Definition 1: If we want the Aggies just to compete and not have any higher aspirations, then actually no game is a must win, as long as they keep the games close.
Definition 2: If we want them to develop this year and be in a position next year to compete for the title, then there are a few losses we can endure and still achieve that goal.
Definition 3: If we want the Aggies to finally come alive and be in the title hunt THIS year, then that changes things.

Personally I want the last definition.

The “young team” label has certainly proven out so far this year, but it is time that if these players have any ideas of being the premier team in the league (and YES they have the talent for it), then they need to step up in games for the rest of the season to achieve this.

Definition 1 – Be competitive: Keep all games close, win a few here and there
Definition 2 – Compete for title next year: Must Wins (San Jose, Hawaii (twice) Fresno, Boise, Louisiana Tech (twice))
Definition 3 – Compete for title this year: Allow for loss @ Utah State. Bracketbuster depends on which team we play. All others Must Wins)

Anonymous said...

I think the definition of must win is stated in the sun-times poll. No one wants to wait until next year. Do we have the talent to win, in what everyone has called a "down year in the WAC?"

At this point of the season, what are your feelings on the New Mexico State men's basketball team?
Total Votes = 72
Happy, they are playing better than I expected 1 Votes, or 1.388 %
Satisfied, they are right where I think they should be 5 Votes, or 6.944 %
Disappointed, they should be better 63 Votes, or 87.5 %
Neutral, I am still unsure 3 Votes, or 4.166 %

Anonymous said...

Right on, JJ.
I say you get what you pay for and the Aggies are still the best ticket in town. Thursday is a battle of 3-and-4 teams at Pan Am. Same night, Reno visits Logan and Boise goes to Moscow. That's a real exciting Thursday night for tumbleweed country. Then on Sat while we solute Lou Henson for 1999, Nevada gets it's rematch at Idaho. For the 08-09Aggies, Joyner and some others have gotten minutes in live fire situations. It's hurt this year in close games but they've got to be playing for next year by now. You get to the conference tourney and hopefully get to catch a high-seed on their off night. No WAC team is on the bubble for an at large bid, so who cares about the close losses? Keeps motivating these guy to keep working and builds healthy grudges against these other programs. I didn't vote but I'm not disappointed with the performance. The main thing is: is the team 'satisfied.' Answer is 'no' and so that's good.

Anonymous said...

This team is young but, I still have a tough time watching them make the same mistakes over and over!
Man grow up and quit using the youth card!

That said, everyone expects us to sweep the home stand and once again, get back to .500%!!

Justin said...

If NMSU hopes to make any noise in Reno in March, these games are must wins. A loss to SJSU drops the Aggies into the 6 slot, which means a visit with either Boise or Idaho in the first round of the tournament, and home team Nevada (likely the 2 seed) in the second round. Staying in the 4 or 5 seed position means playing either Boise or Idaho in the first round, and neutral court USU in the second. Neither option is especially palatable, but I think USU becomes the more winnable second round game by March. I would actually prefer to be in the 4/5 slot than in the 3/6 slot.

I don't think this is necessarily a down year in the WAC. 2009 USU is probably the best team the WAC has seen since 2007 Nevada, and more importantly, the dregs of the conference have improved such that we don't have any RPI 250+ teams anymore. Every game will be tough from here on out.

Anonymous said...

Is that Randy Brown on the Kings coaching staff? Thought I glimpsed Randy on SportsCenter congratulating Mo Williams for his 43-pt game Tues. when LeBron kept feeding the rock to Mo... btw, where's Reggie Theus working?