Hopefully you can post your pregame predictions and thoughts and postgame reaction here.
First of all, I picked NMSU to enter WAC play at 12-3 so a win over the Lobos is big for me as well as the Aggies as they have likely wins vs. Pine Bluff and at Bakersfield to go to 11-4 with wins in all three.
However, I, nor most people I'm willing to bet, had NMSU beating the Lobos at The Pit, making a sweep of the Lobos seem possible.
I'm going with the Aggies to win a 69-63 game on Wednesday at the Pan Am.
I'm sure the Lobos have improved since they lost to the Aggies in the second game of the season. The Aggies have shown signs of improving the past three games despite playing inferior competition. But who have the Lobos played? People are concerned about NMSU, but their three game losing streak came to Southern MIss (10-2 and No. 3 RPI), Arizona (10-4, 53 RPI) and UTEP, a team that I thought was originally a bad loss but since has beaten Clemson and Auburn (two bottom teams in great leagues) while hanging with Kansas State in Hawaii over the weekend. Simply stated, NMSU is the best team the Lobos have played and they lost to them.......at The Pit.
I know that it's not likely that NMSU will hold UNM to 28 percent shooting again. But I also know that Wendell McKines,, Hernst Laroche and Christian Kabongo won't be held to 0-for-14 from the field again like they did in the first half in Albuquerque. McKines was getting easy looks too and could have had 30. He finished with 14 and 9.
I think that assists are a big stat for the Aggies against the Lobos. NMSU had 17 assists in the first two games. Wendell McKines found Bandja Sy cutting along the baseline vs. the Lobos zone from the high post, the ball was moving and NMSU was getting good shots.
In addition to the story lines I wrote about in my last blog entry, I think Hamidu Rahman and the Aggies bench have to be productive because position for position, I think the two teams are extremely even. Yet Rahman had a good game against Arizona against and undersized center (13 and 8 6-12 shooting) and he also seemed engaged in the Aggies recent games against smaller players who aren't skilled. Bandja Sy has scored 21 points in the last two games and will have to check senior Phillip McDonald on the other end — Remember his block of McDonald and three-point play to ice the game in Albuquerque.
Two things stick out to me from the first game. It was ugly. I described it as a street fight. That's how the Aggies want it and playing at home, they should be able to dictate more of their style. The second thing was the possessions the Lobos had the ball in crucial situations, nobody wanted to shoot. Nobody wanted that big shot. Maybe they have defined their roles or maybe they were just shocked that an Aggies team was capable of playing that kind of defense. But at home. Rested. Confident. I have the Aggies on Wednesday.