Honestly, I was going to say NMSU would lose this game entering the weekend, thinking it was the second game of what I believed to be the most difficult road trip in conference play. And then the Aggies lost on Thursday at Idaho. Marvin Menzies questioned his team's mental toughness on the road, as well as effort and energy level on the defensive end and on the glass.
Since NMSU lost its third straight WAC road game, I really have a hard time believing the Aggies lost to Seattle tonight, but Seattle does some things that have normally hurt the Aggies, pressure full court, shoot the 3, play small with guys who can get past the Aggies big guys.
NMSU wins 82-76
Establish the paint: NMSU has let teams off the hook in my opinion with the 3 point shooting this season. There are certainly games the Aggies have knocked them down and I think overall this year's team is a better shooting team, but the 3 should be complimentary to the big guys and to Daniel Mullings and DK Eldridge driving into the paint. I think Seattle will pressure like they did in the second half and pack the zone like Idaho did. To make matters worse for Seattle, they are without Deshaun Sunderhaus (knee), who had 22 points and 12 rebounds against NMSU the first time around. Renaldo Dixon has 18 points against Seattle the first time and obviously Sim Bhullar did not play. NMSU needs to get the big guys going on the offensive end because it seems if they are not involved, they do tend to check out as the game goes on.
Rebounding: Seattle is the No. 1 rebounding team in the WAC and NMSU is No. 2. Seattle out rebounded New Mexico State 35-33 with 16 offensive rebounds in the first game. Idaho out rebounded NMSU 38-34 on Thursday with 15 offensive rebounds. Personally I think the Aggies rebound much better in man to man defense. We will see how they defend Seattle. I think the Aggies want to play man to man tonight, but if interior players are in foul trouble, the Aggies could play zone again.
Turnovers: Despite facing pressure full court in the second half against Seattle, the Aggies only had nine turnovers in the first game. NMSU has struggled at times against teams full court as Renaldo Dixon or whoever plays the four spot struggles against pressure if they can't find the point guard. Seattle was extremely sloppy with the ball in the first game with 16 turnovers. Can't count on that again.