Saturday, December 12, 2009

Is UTEP the best team the Aggies play this year?

I think so.
I haven't seen all of the NMSU games in person but UTEP has stood out to me. Regardless of the competition they have played, they seem like a team who could do some things in C USA this season.

Speaking to Tony Barbee prior to the first NMSU/UTEP game, he talked about how it takes time to build the kind of team he wanted. He said that it's hard to get the support and patience that it takes to build a program. That is a comparison to NMSU, but Barbee's teams have improved throughout his three years while the Aggies have been up and down.

Barbee wanted to build a team where you couldn't focus on one particular player and despite losing Stefon Jackson, the Miners are better.

The Miners have six players who average at least eight per game. Their best player and leading scorer, power forward Arnett Moultrie, didn't even need to have a good game against the Aggies on Dec. 1 but he is leading the Miners with 13 and 6 per game. I believe that Moultrie and UTEP point guard Julyan Stone are the best players the Aggies will play against at those positions this year. With the possible exception of Luke Babbitt, who has a better perimeter game and shooting touch than Moultrie right now.

Some of UTEP's stats that stood out to me:

Second in C USA with 80.2 ppg, second in scoring margin, beating their opponents by 19.8 per game, first in field goal percentage, shooing 49 percent before adding Derrick Caracter and field goal percentage defense at 36 percent.

I think UNM is having a good year and would love to see the two regional teams play this year, but even though the MIners' schedule hasn't been that tough, they are athletic, talented and deep and their early schedule has given them some confidence early, which can't be understated.


Mike said...

UTEP is good, but UNM just beat Texas A&M on the road. They're clearly the best team the Aggies have played.

Anonymous said...

The Texas A & M game was on a neutral court with about 3000 fans attending. It was not in COllege Station.

Anonymous said...


In my honest opinion, I think youre crazy. How can you say that UTEP is the best team that the Aggies have faced when UNM has beaten #25 Cal and #18 A&M. The best win that UTEP has is against us and that is not saying a lot. I think that the fact that they have played a very easy schedule has allowed them to have the stats that you mention. UTEP might get better as the year goes along but I think UNM has a better team overall. Alford really has this team clicking right now and should be ranked after tonights win. I dont think Barbee will get the Miners into the rankings this season.


Anonymous said...

Heck no! did you see UNM today? They are really good. utep is very solid as well, but I think unm is a bit above them. i'm glad we play some tough teams, but we more than make up for it by playing all these "sisters of the poor" from the SWAC conference. can we get some real teams in here, PLEASE!

Anonymous said...

Caracter is playing for Utep and it will get UGLY tonight. I say we lose by 30!

Marvin was given the keys to a Corvette three years ago and crashed it.
It is sad to see Reggie's hard work go to waste with this idiot at the controls.

Anonymous said...

I agree, UNM. St. Mary's also beat a PAC-10 Oregon team last night, but the best so far has to be UNM. Go Aggies.

Anonymous said...

I agree. UTEP might have a little more potential but the Lobos have proven more this year. They've already beat two ranked teams and they handled a dangerous La Tech team.

justin said...

UNM's got the most impressive resume thus far of Aggie opponents, but I do think that UTEP has a higher ceiling for success this year. I have a feeling the Lobos may have peaked early. Of course, St. Mary's belongs in the conversation as well. Not many opponents come out of Logan with a win.

I have a feeling those blowout losses may not look quite so bad at the end of the year... UTEP, UNM and St. Mary's are all top 30 teams.

Anonymous said...

How does an ex Louisville player end up at utep? Should Menzies have used his connections to try and get him here?

Jason Groves said...

GS, you and others are right about the Lobos wins so far. UTEP certainly has some tough games coming up (Oklahoma, Miss and Texas Tech I believe) so we will learn more about them. But I think position by position, the Miners are more talented and are a deeper team even without Caracter.

Anonymous said...

The Miners definetely have a chance to prove their worth but as of right now I dont think they have. They havent played a team with a winning record yet and their opponents winning average is .307. I think the difference is the fact that UNM has been consisten against teams that they are supposed to blow out and have beaten teams that perhaps they are not supposed to beat. UTEP has only played teams which they can blow out and I'm not sure how that will help out against the rest of their nonconference schedule. Playing cupcakes is nice but I'm waiting for UTEP to play better teams before I believe they are for real. I mean Jason, we all thought the Aggies would be deep and talented before the season started and look at them now.


Anonymous said...

You also mentioned that the Miners were better and deeper position by position. With that in mind, do you think that UTEP would beat the teams that UNM beat and UNM itself?


Anonymous said...

Man what a difference a coach makes.
Whe Reggie was here, both Unm & Utep could only admire our program.

With Menzies here, were the ones admiring our rivals.
Pretty sad if you ask me.

Anonymous said...

UNM is more of a team than UTEP, and I'm not willing to buy that UTEP is more talented or deeper. Maybe deeper in the post, but not at the guard/wing position.

Matt said...

I think last night's game shows who is the better team: Your #19 New Mexico Lobos!