First here is my guess at a starting lineup. I think this should also be the Aggies lineup moving forward but I'm curious as to your opinion.
Center - Sim Bhullar
PF - Renaldo Dixon (Was told he could play Tuesday, will play when the Aggies travel)
Wing - DK Eldridge
Wing - Daniel Mullings
PG - KC Ross Miller (experience gets him the start, but should be fairly equal timeshare with freshman Travon Landry)
Notes, Daniel Mullings could be held out on Tuesday as well (hip). If he doesn't play, I would say it's a tossup between Buovac and Aronis
It's hard to get anything from these games sometimes, but here are three things I'm interested in as the Aggies get ready for the season:
Can they score?
We know the Aggies can defend and rebound. They set the school record with blocked shots last year and with Renaldo Dixon and Sim Bhullar figuring to play more minutes at the outset, they should crush that record as well.
NMSU averaged 67 points per game last year. They look great when grabbing offensive rebounds, turning defensive rebounds into transition or scoring off turnovers, but when good teams force them to play halfcourt basketball, it's ugly. In its last game that mattered, NMSU shot 28 percent from the field in a 64-44 loss to St. Louis. Good teams were able to take away the Aggies size advantage by pressuring the guards into some of the 14 turnovers per game the Aggies committed. Teams could also pack the paint because the Aggies weren't a threat to make the 3 consistently. I'm not saying Western can compare to Saint Louis, but hopefully junior college transfer DK Eldridge, sophomore Matej Buovac and Kevin Aronis can knock down open 3s. Hopefully Eldridge, Mullings and the point guard can handle pressure better than they did last year, which is another reason the Aggies will miss Tyrone Watson. Watson was a good playmaker at the 4 spot. Renaldo Dixon and Chili Nephawe are different players at that position, so the NMSU guards have to take on that responsibility. Bhullar and Nephawe are both willing passers, so I think they will be able to pick the right guy out depending on how teams choose to guard them. It would be nice for the Aggies to have more players on the court who can deter teams from doubling or tripling the big guys. Finally, the new rules hope to open up scoring in college basketball, and in theory, the Aggies have players who can get to the lane, making it necessary to increase their 66 percent free throw percentage.
There are a lot of options.
Nephawe will play the four and five, Buovac and Aronis should play on the wings, Landry will play the point guard, as well as Mullings. That's at least nine players. I would also put Remi Barry in the mix at some point this year. That leaves Tanveer Bhullar deep in the rotation, leading me to believe they will redshirt him. Although Menzies told me that despite what's out there, a decision hasn't been made and that he will likely travel on the first weekend to Hawaii.
"He will play in the exhibition and he will travel to Hawaii," Menzies said. "We always felt like he could be a potential redshirt. Based on his brother and how the other bigs play, we haven't made a final decision. He's going to travel to Hawaii and be available and then we will sit down."
Point guard play?
This probably will be a key for every game this season until someone emerges. Menzies said Ian Baker could also figure in sooner than later if an appeal to the NCAA goes the Aggies favor.
Personally, I wouldn't mind seeing Ross-Miller out there and see if he has improved. I'm excited about Landry and think his ability to guard his position could free up Mullings a little bit.