Since joining the WAC in 2005, New Mexico State has traveled to San Jose State and Hawaii on the same trip twice — the split both times. Unlike those two years, the Aggies are playing at San Jose first. Gordo Castillo seemed like he prefers this order while Marvin Menzies said the opposite.
“I think that Hawaii trip is tough,” Aggies guard Gordo Castillo said. “You are on a plane for a long time the there is the time difference. I think it will be better to go to San Jose first and then go to Hawaii. But I just know after the first three years, that trip is tough. It’s tough to stay focused out there. We have guys that are mature enough. This is the young guys’ first long trip but I think they are going to be alright.”
My prediction for tonight’s game….San Jose State.
The Spartans may need this game even more than the Aggies, plus they have Adrian Oliver back. NMSU has owned the Spartans, but as I will talk about soon, this NMSU team doesn’t have that same killer instinct it did a year ago.
So that means I like the Aggies on Saturday at Hawaii. The Aggies match up with the Spartans. They really match up with Hawaii. Hawaii has never been able to handle the Aggies’ pressure.
In the first meeting, point guard Justin Graham had 12 shot attempts and freshman guard Kevin Shamburger had 16 shot attempts for 19 points. With Oliver back, Graham is more of a regular point guard. I think the Aggies’ guards match up well, but they have to defend all night. Don’t see that happening.
The Aggies should have an advantage in the post but I’ve been saying that all year and it still hasn’t happened. It was good that Troy Gillenwater got the game in last week I think, even though I initially thought the Aggies should sit him regardless.
“I think that was good for us (playing against Northern Colorado),” Menzies said. “I think having him, regardless of the result, we had a chance for him to see some things he didn’t do well and get his legs underneath him. He’s not 100 percnet but he’s close. After having a few more days to treat his injury and also get a little more cardio in, I think he will be ready for this trip.”
This NMSU team reminds of the team they had two years ago. The overall talent level isn’t the same, but the inexperience factor is in terms of playing at a certain level over time. That team put it together in the WAC Tournament but fell in the semis. The talent is there to win the tournament again, but they are not a lock I would say to advance, making the No. 2 seed even more important.
2008-09 17-15, 9-7
2010-11 14-13, 8-4
The only difference is most of the key players on that team should have been the key players on this team, so they have been there before, although they had Gibson who was a junior.
“We would be doing good and then have our falls,” Gordo Castillo said when I made the comparison to him the other day. “It’s the time of the year you have to leave it all on the floor. I think that is what clicked last year. There was no other way to get to the NCAA Tournament and that was our goal. We had to go out there and win. Guys were all doing the right things.”
As I said before, this team is capable. They seem to know it, and if they were ever waiting for a switch, they better flip it tonight.
“I think last year’s team, we figured it out earlier,” Castillo said. “When adversity hit, we knew how to get over it. I think we are still trying to figure that out. We have to be there pretty soon with the WAC coming.”