Thursday, December 29, 2011

Aggies commentary

My column following NMSU's 89-69 loss to UNM. Yes, 89-69 is my final answer. The unofficial stats and the Pan Am scoreboard said 89-69. The official stats said 89-67. NMSU later changed the score back to 89-69. The official stats took away a field goal from Aggies guard Christian Kabongo. Kabongo was officially 3-for-15 for eight points.

Is this Aggies team the 4-0 club that started the season or the team that has gone 4-5 since?
New Mexico State basketball fans showed up in droves to see for themselves on Wednesday night. They left shaking their heads, badgering their own players from the stands and questioning the head coach.
Was Wednesday’s 89-69 home loss to New Mexico an aberration or the product of an off night? It’s starting to appear as if the Aggies’ 4-0 start is the aberration.
“Every season is a journey,” New Mexico State senior Wendell McKines said. “We are just in a little bump in the road right now. We are looking forward to playing our best basketball in March and we still have a ways to go. We will be fine.”
Of course, McKines is right.
It is a long season and there is plenty of time for the Aggies to revert back to the defensive-oriented team that beat the Lobos at the Pit and nearly beat Arizona at home.
It needs to happen soon.
The Aggies open Western Athletic Conference on Jan. 7, 2012 at Louisiana Tech, home against Utah State (Jan. 12) and Idaho (Jan. 14) and at San Jose State (Jan. 19) and at Hawaii on Jan. 21.
At first, I thought the Aggies could open WAC play 4-1 at worst with a possible loss at Hawaii.
After what I saw on Wednesday and in a Dec. 11 loss at UTEP, I’m not so sure.
UTEP bolted out to an early lead in a 73-69 victory in El Paso.
UNM did the same, leading virtually wire-to-wire and ending the game early with superior ball movement, defense, and a deft shooting touch that the Aggies are not capable of at this point.
The Lobos could have won by 40. Making 12 3-pointers certainly helped their cause, but the Lobos ran circles around the Aggies with simple pick-and-roll basketball that led to wide open looks from all over the court.
It was stark contrast to the Aggies’ pressure on and off the ball in their 62-53 victory in Albuquerque that seems like a lifetime ago now.
“The defense of the ball screen wasn’t bad, it was the rotations off the ball, which we went over, and over, and over,” Aggies head coach Marvin Menzies said. “Yet we still did not execute it very well.”
NMSU had 17 assists in Albuquerque. The Aggies’ had eight on 22 makes on Wednesday.
“We were bad on both sides of the ball and when you play like that against a good team, you don’t have a chance,” Menzies said. “Against a very good team, you have to bring your ‘A’ game and we brought our ‘C’ game.”
With a shortened WAC schedule this year after Boise State’s departure, NMSU simply can’t afford to let games get away from them either early or in the final result.
The Aggies have historically lost a conference road game they shouldn’t somewhere along the line. With Nevada, Utah State and Hawaii playing well, sweeping all three also seems unlikely.
NMSU can still achieve its goals come WAC time.
But if the last two games against legitimate competition are any indication, don’t book your NCAA Tournament tickets just yet.

Jason Groves can be reached at (575) 541-5459. Follow him on Twitter @jpgroves.


Anonymous said...

It's not about the last game - horrible

It's not about our record in rival games - horrible

It's not about one season...

It's about the body of work. And the body of work is:
- a great March run two years ago
-consistently bad defense
-consistently inconsistent effort
-consistent lack of offensive execution
-consistent displays of disrespect for the coach
-consistent indifference expressed by the coach after being clobbered

Bottom line is that this coach can't get a team to consistently play basketball together very well. And isn't that essentially what a coach is paid to do?

It's about the body of work. And over 5 seasons, the body of work speaks for itself. OK win percentage, but not close to potential and painful/embarrassing to watch.

We'll likely have a good game or two left this season. We'll probably continue to have success against weak WAC teams. We may even make a run in March. But you can bank that it won't be what it could have been had we had a different leader of this team.

We deserve better.

Anonymous said...

I rarely post anymore because of the pathetic state of the mens basketball team under MM. I also decided not to donate money to NMSU this year - should have made this move last year. Losing by 20 at home to UNM is not acceptable. Well, check that. To MM and M Boston, all is good because we went 2-2 which is a stark improvement from years past. MM has accomplished nothing impressive with the teams made up solely of his recruits. Well, check that: (1) they beat UNM at The Pit this year, which was stunning, and (2) they might get good grades and if you ignore crotch grabbing, they appear to be good kids. Let me assure everyone out there - there are many, many mid major schools that have good kids who get good grades, but perform much better on the court. Life as an NMSU Aggie alum really sucks, but I'll always cheer them on. Go Aggies.
- Aggie Glare

Anonymous said...

Book my tickets? With this team? With this coach?

If I had tickets, I'd be giving them away or paying someone to take them off my hands.

Anonymous said...

I think if we look at the entire body of work under Menzies the surprising thing is that the win against UNM in ABQ has been the best win during his tenure here. At least in my mind. Its kind of disappointing that beating a rival in their home court can be the signature win of the past years. But we have not beaten a ranked team that we have played and the closest I can remember to getting great wins was against Louisville where we lost by 5 and the NCAA tourney game.Other than that, we dont have a good record against really good teams. We mostly get our wins against our bad opponents and conference. Something that must be looked at by someone at some point in time.


Anonymous said...

Menzies needs to be terminated. He can recruit but he does not know how to coach them. It sad that they have to place tarps on the seats to make the pan am look like a sellout. In the 90s the pan am was the toughest place in the country and now it a joke. I hope the pan am can get back to it glory days when we were on national television on a regular basis. Mc Carthy may have done wrong I. His recruiting the day but he knew how to coach and bring national attention to NMSU. Menzies lack of abilities will never bring NMSU to a top 25 like MC Carthy did. Reggie Theus brought that back and Menzies was unable to going. Boston needs to start looking for a new coach better yet the President needs to start looking for a new AD.

Anonymous said...

I was at the UNM game and couldnt help but notice the lack of leadership on the floor. It really did seem like street ball was being played with no real direction. If MM has no leaders on the court, then its going to be a long season. Period.
The Lobos were calling out picks, pointing out lack of coverage, and hitting 3 pointers all night. The bigger question is who exactly is going to step up?

Class of 2002

Anonymous said...

LOL I think it's pretty funny that you make a big deal out of a 2 point mistake in the score considering they got spanked, not even worth reporting.

Anonymous said...

We need a "gametime" coach.

Anonymous said...

If Kabongo is requesting to transfer and Menzies is agreeing, why was Menzies being secretive saying it is a personal coache's decision, like there is some guilt being hidden somewhere? Also, what is the deal with Renaldo Dixson and the other missing players from the bench?

I still think Menzies needs a center that can rebound and catch the ball without bobbling it away---redshirting BJ was a big mistake as far as this year is concerned.