While the Aggies need tonight's game vs. Nevada to avoid losing five straight to enter the postseason, a win tonight helps NMSU avoid playing four games in four days. NMSU would receive a first round bye with a win, while also making certain to avoid Utah State until a potential finals matchup.
I think tonight's matchup is also interesting in terms of David Carter vs. Marvin Menzies.
Carter's team this year is similar in makeup I think to Menzies' in his second year. Carter took over at Nevada with veteran standouts in Luke Babbitt and Armon Johnson and reached the tournament semis. Menzies also came to NMSU with a veteran team, reaching the tournament final his first season.
The Aggies took a step back Menzies' second year as the Aggies had a core group of freshmen Hernst Laroche and Troy Gillenwater, junior Jonathan Gibson and sophomores Wendell McKines, Jahmar Young. The Aggies were all over the place in terms of consistency but the talent was there and they nearly upset Utah State in the semis. Nevada's team in Carter's second year has been the same. The Wolf Pack have four potential All conference players in Deonte Burton, Olek Czyz, Dario Hunt and Malik Story.
"When you have one of the youngest teams in the country, you have to talent and we have talent there," Carter said. "There is a lack of experience. When (NMSU) matured and understood how to win and mature they were able to get to the tournament. You have to learn how to compete at a high level every night."
Both teams are young again this season, contributing to the fact that each team needs a win tonight to get a first-round bye.
"If he goes to the tournament next year, I see a similarity," Menzies said. "He did make the decision to go young and that's a common ground. When there is a program with history, you can do that. I like our young kids and think they will develop and be pretty good players."