NMSU hasn't been swept by both of its rivals since 2004-05, which I believe was the season Lou Henson was sick and the Aggies finished 6-24.
On Tuesday, the Aggies were halfway there after a 74-72 loss at home to UTEP.
I talked with Jack Nixon prior to the game. He said that unfortunately, the rivalry games are the games most fans base their opinion on for the rest of the year. NMSU is 3-11 against UNM and UTEP under Marvin Menzies. They've lost their last five against the Lobos, who come to town on Saturday and without Wendell McKines, the Aggies aren't likely to win at the Pit where they haven't won since 2002.
I was wondering what Aggies fans who read this blog felt. Would you rather beat the rivals or improve come WAC time with a mediocre record? The Aggies have certainly improved late in the year under Menzies, but this is the second time the Aggies start 2-5 in his four years here.
Other notes from the loss ...
— A huge play in the game was a Troy Gillenwater technical foul in the first half. He had just put the Aggies ahead with back to back 3s and then Christian Kabongo came back to tie the game at 30-30 but Gillenwater was whistled for a technical as the teams headed back up the floor. Randy Culpepper hit the free throws to put the Miners up for good.
— Hernst Laroche was great down the stretch, but he was 0-for-8 at one point and made his first field goal with 4:54 to play. Players will have off shooting nights from time to time, but he hhad just four assists with two turnovers. As one of two Aggies players who can get his own shot, Laroche can't afford too many 4-of-12 efforts.
— Again, I don't think the Miners are as talented as they've been in previous years. Tim Floyd outcoached the Aggies tonight I think. Culpepper went nuts from behind the arc in the first half, so what does Floyd do in the second half. Claude Britten, who would be a mid-level WAC post player, went right at Chili Nephawe to start the second half and helped push a five point halftime lead to 12 so Culpepper and Christian Polk could close it. Gordo Castillo had to be on the court for his experience and 3-point shooting, but the Miners were patient on offense and found the mismatch with Julyan Stone driving on Gordo whenever they were matched up.