I was talking to Hernst Laroche following the Aggies' 95-62 win over Western on Monday. He believes this team is a Top 25 caliber team. I don't disagree with him. With the Aggies' next seven games, his team may very well show up in the polls.
Hernst Laroche, 10 points, 8 assists, five steals, 2 TOs.
"It feels good. We are trying to do good things this year and trying to make the Top 25. Ya, I'm saying it. I think we have the talent. We just have to prove to everyone else. We have the talent, we just have to prove it to the other teams."
On the upcoming schedule.
"That's what we want, to play good competition and try to be ranked. I think it's going to prepare us for the WAC Tournament so that is good for us."
On defense, the Aggies always talk about getting deflections. Western turned the ball over 14 times, many of them leading to fast break points. NMSU scored 29 points off turnovers.
"We try to be aggressive. We are all quick so certain lineups, we try to pressure the ball. Certain lineups are more long so we rebound more. It depends the matchup we get. I think we can switch it up against different teams. ... We are just trying to feel everybody out and see what we can use and try to change the momentum of the game."
Six Aggies were in double figures and Bandja Sy had had eight points and a team best nine rebounds.
"Everybody can put the ball in the basket. We are sharing the ball so I guess that is helping the team as a whole."
Marvin Menzies on Hernst Laroche's Top 25 statement.
"I think you have to shoot for the stars. I think that's a very good goal for the guys to have. I don't know if they totally understand that happens by one game at a time. If you want to be big time, you have to dream big time. I know we only have two games under our belt but you adjust to what is in front of you. We have a big challenge in front of us. The No. 2 picked team in the Pac 10 Arizona Wildcats on Thursday so we have to be ready for them. If that comes out in our favor, we have to be ready for UMass and USC and then come home after a long trip back east and be ready for UTEP. It's OK for those guys to have those kinds of goals and be an upper echelon program in the United States. That is one of our program goals to get there, hopefully sooner rather than later."
General thoughts on the evening where the Aggies received their WAC title rings
"It was a good evening for the Aggies. We played well. I was a little concerned that the guys would be a little distracted with the ceremony but I was happy to see they kept their focus and came out and handle their business. We didn't really let (Western) get going. We wanted to outrebound them by 20 (NMSU 53-30 on the glass) and we did that. Overall a good night."
On upcoming schedule, and how he feels about different lineups and the team's rotation
"We have a good feel. We went small a couple times and tried to turn up the pressure. Once we find out what we are going to see against the teams we are going against, we will have some things in our back pocket that we might want to look at a little differently than what we have done. But I think we have a pretty good rotation going."
I think Tyrone Watson could be the starter on the wing from here on out. Watson has a more complete game than Sy. Watson was 4 of 4 for 10 points. He had seven assists and six rebounds as well in 23 minutes. I will admit that Sy has improved, which I was kind of waiting to see. Sy is a tremendous athlete and a better shooter than Watson. He had eight points and nine boards and hit a triple from the corner.
Here's a score you're probably interested in from Monday
Pacific 64, Nevada 53
LOS ANGELES (AP) -Sam Willard had 15 points and 15 rebounds to help Pacific defeat Nevada 64-53 in the opening round of the NIT Season Tip-Off on Monday night.
The Tigers (2-0) advanced to a game against the winner of Monday night's Pepperdine-UCLA game on Tuesday night. The winner of the West regional earns a trip to New York for the semifinals on Nov. 24.
Demetrece Young added 14 points and Nyika Williams 10 for the Tigers, who have beaten the Wolf Pack four straight times.
Dario Hunt scored 12 points and Deonte Burton added 10 for Nevada (1-1).
Nevada led 31-21 at the break before Pacific opened the second half with a 9-0 run. Willard scored and Young hit a 3-pointer and another basket to give Pacific the lead for good at 40-32.
The Tigers extended their lead to 54-44 on two free throws by Pat Eveland with 5 1/2 minutes remaining.