There is still something to play for New Mexico State.
I think if the Aggies win, shorthanded after the suspension of KC Ross-Miller and Renaldo Dixon, and coming off of Thursday night's brawl in Utah, it would say something of the toughness of this team.
But I don't see it happening.
Bakersfield lost by 3 this year at NMSU and Bakersfield has been a tough place for the Aggies in recent years.
Bakersfield beats a reeling NMSU team 68-63
Stay out of foul trouble: Everyone plays tonight. All seven of them. Ian Baker couldn't make the trip west from family in Washington D.C. making the guard rotation Daniel Mullings, DK Eldridge, Kevin Aronis, Travon Landry, Matej Buovac. Inside they have Sim Bhullar and Chili Nephawe. We know that Nephawe can play 40 minutes if need be. But Bhullar won't make it without some help, maybe from Buovac and even Eldridge if the Aggies want to play small for stretches. Needless to say, foul trouble for either big man would be tough to recover from.
Ball security: Kevin Aronis will start for Ross-Miller and Daniel Mullings will start at point guard. Mullings has been up and down at PG this year as the Aggies want to give him time there, but Bakersfield could be the type of team to give him trouble. Bakersfield can pressure full court and that seems to be when Mullings turns it over, in traffic. Freshman Travon Landry did some nice things against Utah Valley. NMSU will need everyone to take care of the ball after 14 turnovers the first game against Bakersfield.
Rebound/3 point D: I expect NMSU to play a lot of zone to both keep the big guys fresh and everyone out of trouble. But playing zone leaves teams open to giving up offensive rebounds and giving up 3 point looks. Bakersfield was even with the Aggies on the boards in the first game with 14 offensive rebounds and Bakersfield made 6 3s.