Sean Miller is certainly more accomplished than Marvin Menzies, but they both replaced names at their respective jobs and have both made quick impacts at their current schools. Menzies got to the tournament in his third year and Miller's Arizona team was picked second in the Pac 10 in this his second season after taking the job after five years at Xavier.
"If you get hired at Arizona, there is a reason," Menzies said. "I was a little surprised he came this far out of his comfort zone but it's such a nationally known powerhouse you can recruit to there from wherever. I like his style of play. He lets his guys go a little bit and look to score in transition. They do a good job picking a zone apart, especially in the high post area. He's got a good team and a good future ahead of them from what it looks like. I would like to think that we have the same kind of upside by going the high school route. He has some good kids that he's signed and we have some good kids sitting out so I'm hoping we can get a little bit of their resume as the years go on here."
Miller said it's all relative, rather trying to restore tradition at Arizona or NMSU.
"It's all relative to where the program was when you show up as a coach," Miller said. "Xavier was a consistent winner so there were a lot of things in place from Day 1. Here at Arizona was a unique situation. When I showed up last year, I was the fourth coach that Nick Wise had in four years. It's difficult to play for more than one coach. When you get to four, it's very difficult. This is my second year and we are one game into it. We have a long way to go to restore Arizona to where it was with Coach Olson."
The Aggies have a home and away with Arizona with the Wildcats coming to Las Cruces next year in a series that makes sense geographically. If the Aggies continue to compete at the current rate, perhaps it will continue.
"We respect New Mexico State a lot. The program, the coaching, the talent level and the recent history of winning. I makes more sense from a travel perspective but right now, we have a home and away," Miller said.
Menzies on the matchup with the Wildcats.
"Not having gone to the tournament last year, I'm sure they are very hungry to take care of these types of games where they could come back and bite you in the butt on Selection Sunday. This would be a steal for us. I'm sure my guys think of themselves in a confident way. They probably don't envision it as being an upset if we were able to win it but the fact of the matter is that it would be. ... They are looking at the fact that they missed the tournament. It wasn't a typical year for the Wildcats. We have to play our A game to get this done."
Arizona's athleticism and defense creates a lot of offense. Not so much from their shooting, but they have people who can hurt you from long range.
"You can't give them open looks. Even some of their forwards can get going from the perimeter as well. We have to do a good job taking that away. It might not be their strong suit on paper, but you can't go into any high major program and look at this guy and play off him."
Menzies on freshmen Christian Kabongo and Chili Nephawe
"They are true freshmen and they have their moments. They are kids who will benefit big time from these kinds of games. We need them to be good by conference. There is a learning curve but so far they are learning their lessons well.
Menzies on Tyrone Watson's all around effort against Western
"It's easy to show versatility against a D 2 team. His test will be at Arizona. He did do a really good job against Lafayette. But his versatility is a big selling point for me because I get to slide him from anywhere from the 2, 3, or 4 and if we are struggling a little and want to get somebody with a little experience in that spot, he is my go to guy."
Menzies said he was leaning towards a redshirt year for Renaldo Dixon, who has yet to get on the court for that reason. There is also a grey area regarding the possible return of Wendell McKines.
Menzies recruited Arizona guard Lamont Jones while he was on the Louisville staff.