I want to start by saying I expect an Aggies win on Tuesday. I don't think Jeremy Williams and Christian Polk can combine to hit 7 3s and I expect the same dominance on the glass and in the paint as we saw in El Paso.
"They had a few unchallenged 3s and they made a couple of them," Marvin Menzies said. "If they are going to take a shot, it needs to be a heavily challenged shot. If you get rolling, now your concentration and confidence is high. Those guys got warm and were comfortable in their own building. You have to hope that you can create a different atmosphere here."
Things I would like to see ....
Hamidu Rahman needs to start playing better all around. I think the key to that is giving it to the big man early and getting him on the board. Unfortunately, Hamidu lets his offense dictate how he plays on the other end I think, so some baskets and touches early could be big for him and the Aggies.
I talked to Troy Gillenwater on Monday. NMSU coaches said they weren't expecting UTEP point guard Julyan Stone to guard Gillenwater. Troy expects it again on Tuesday.
"I wasn't surprised. He is one of their best defenders," Gillenwater said. "He made me work for every bucket I got. He has long arms and is quick. He's a point guard but not an average point guard. I'm pretty sure they are going to do the same thing. They doubled me in the post and whenever I caught the ball in the post, I looked over my shoulder and there was two people right there."
Here are some comments postgame from Tim Floyd on why he had Stone matched up with Gillenwater.
"It was just something that we wanted to experiment with," Floyd said. "We've looked at Jeremy Williams and looked at (Gabriel McCulley) on those 4-man matchups. Julyan has been very good in practice. I love his versatility and the guy is literally as good a defender as I've coached and it's because h is motor runs and he worries about his assignment. He has shown us he can guard 1-4."
While Stone may very well be a good defensive player, the Aggies have to move off the ball when Gillenwater has it in the post. UTEP did well to get the ball out of his hands and Gillenwater made the right decision when he was doubled. Other players have to help out. Jeremy Williams was usually the UTEP player to come off his man in pick and roll or to stop penetration, meaning the Miners don't respect NMSU's role players ability to knock down shots.
"I would say there is a bit of watching," Tyrone Watson said. "We kind of rely on him to score a chunk of their points. When he gets the ball, everyone is kind of in a standstill mode just expecting him to be a superstar and score every basket and sometimes it's not realistic."
Watson, Gordo Castillo and Bandja Sy have to be productive offensively, even if it's assists or offensive rebounds, not necessarily scoring.
"We need to take good shots," Watson said. "I think a lot of us got out of our norm and a lot of people did things we don't normally do and then when we kind of hit a wall, we all crumbled onto each other and it resulted in a team breakdown kind of thing."
Watson talked about playing more man to man. They did a great job in it early in the second half of the first game, forcing six straight turnovers I believe at one point to get back into the game. I know that's what the Aggies ultimately want to play, but don't know if they are there yet just from a desire standpoint. I think the Aggies could be good once they realize they aren't going to be the offensive force they were a year ago. They are going to need to grind it out and tire teams out I believe.
"We just have to make shots and get stops. Defense is key in every game," Gillenwater said. "We killed them on the glass but we didn't get stops. We have to give credit to them because they shot the ball. I just remember taking the ball out of the net every time. We do it at times but it's not consistent enough right now."