It will be interesting to see how the Aggies handle this week with a game at The Pit on Wednesday against a team they haven't beaten in seven tries, and then on Saturday against UTEP at home.
NMSU junior Tyrone Watson:
"After what happened last year, it's kind of offensive for the guys now in the lockerroom that we haven't won there. They've (UNM) been winning, basically every game we've seen them. Now I know a little bit about the history of it. These games are meaningful and I think everybody in the lockerroom is aware of that."
"This is going to be one of the most exciting weeks of the season just because it's back to back rivalries and UTEP got us here last time. All of the rivalry games are meaningful but this week in particular is a big week for the Aggies so I'm looking forward to it."
On The Pit
"It's one of the greatest atmospheres in college basketball, just to be there with the history it has. It's something to be a part of. Since I've been here, we haven't won there so this one is very meaningful."
NMSU senior Wendell McKines:
"This game (Wednesday) is all about heart and who is the best team in New Mexico. It's a challenge."
On the Aggies' 0-4 mark vs. UNM and UTEP last year.
"It's not an option. Whatever it takes to win, we just have to do it. Whatever sacrifices we have to make, we have to do it."
I also got some email feedback from former Aggie standout Justin Hawkins. Hawkins played in big time rivalries at Utah against BYU and he never won at the Pit at either Utah or NMSU
I also asked Daniel Mullings, Watson and McKines about Friday's opener at UNC.
Mullings: Overall we played well. At the beginning we had a couple bumps. It was my first college game and it was good to get one under my belt. At first I had jitters but playing with my teammates and bringing energy on defense got me going."
Mullings had an unbelievable dunk off a steal in transition, showing both his leaping ability and defensive prowess.
"I think that it got us going. It brought us together and got us going as a collective unit."
"We just were getting at them. As coach said, the last 10 minutes they would crack and sure enough they did."
McKines had 18 and 10 at UNC, but he only scored 3 points in the second half. I asked him if he noticed anything differently in the second half as far as the offensive end was concerned.
"We are more of a balanced team. the first half, I was scoring a bit more and in the second half, other guys stepped up. It really doesn't matter as long as I come out with the victory. It was obvious that their scouting report was that no matter who is guarding me, when the shot goes up put a body on me."
McKines on junior Bandja Sy, who hit some big 3s in the second half
"Bandja works on those shots. His work ethic has increased throughout his college career. It's good to finally see him stepping up and playing more of a role."