Winning non conference road games is difficult.
New Mexico State already has two good road wins this year at Hawaii and at UTEP. Colorado State will be a stiff test for the Aggies this afternoon.
"We did a good job at Hawaii with an early road game and the UTEP game is kind of an enigma because of the rivalry," Aggies coach Marvin Menzies said. "This is a true road test. It will give us a true indication of where we are at."
Not only are the New Mexico and UTEP games "an enigma" but the Aggies are also somewhat familiar with those teams. NMSU as a program has generally struggled with these types of games against those upper tier conference teams, especially away from home.
This is a winnable game for the Aggies. I believe a 2-4 record these next four games would be fine as long as the Aggies compete in all six games. Anything else would be a bonus to me.
It's a toss up game on the road against a well coached team, Rams 68, Aggies 64
Rebounding: The Aggies are a terrific rebounding team, but we have seen them struggle in recent games against smaller teams, especially on the offensive glass. I watched UTEP destroy the Rams on the glass 48-29 with 16 offensive rebounds. A much smaller Northern Colorado team had 10 offensive rebounds against the Aggies. And lets not forget this is a Larry Eustachy coached team. Remember that Southern Miss team that crashed the offensive glass in two wins over the Aggies in the same season. NMSU also needs to pound the offensive glass. It's something Chili Nephawe talked about leading up to today's game.
"In their two losses, they were out rebounded in both of them and offensive rebounds are an area that we haven't been very good in," Menzies said.
Three-point line: Colorado State is only shooting 33 percent from 3-point range, but in the UTEP game, the Rams hit 8 3s in El Paso Daniel Bejarano is a strong guard, who made 4 that night. Jon Octeus, David Cohen and Joe De Ciman off the bench all shoot at least 38 percent. The Rams are at home and try to spread the court and look to kick.
Foul line: These are two Top 5 teams nationally in terms of getting to the foul line. NMSU is shooting 68.9 percent from the foul line and the Rams are shooting 73.5 percent. The team that avoids foul trouble is key. One matchup to watch is Chili Nephawe vs. JJ Avila, Colorado State's 6-7 power forward. Avila is good off the dribble and Nephawe is foul prone.