Thursday, January 12, 2012

Hungry Utah State team coming here Thursday

First of all on Renaldo Dixon, Menzies had this to say on Tuesday,
"He's trying to make some decisions on a personal note. As soon as I have some information that I can share, I will share it. Right now, it's status quo as things have unfolded the last few games."

It sounds like to me both sides are trying to figure out the next step. Sounds like Dixon initially fell in line with his friend CK, but he's obviously not released yet. Menzies said he hopes Dixon will still be in an Aggies uniform. 

My keys to Thursday's Utah State game:
Rebounding, pound USU inside and limit turnovers

Two NMSU players who can have an impact for the Aggies are Hamidu Rahman and Wendell McKines. First with McKines, there is no reason why he can't improve on his ppg in WAC play. Few teams have a four that can hold him. Utah State could in jc transfer Kyisean Reed, who I'm looking forward to seeing in person. But he's still getting used to Division I basketball and McKines is a fifth year senior. 

Rahman has returned to form it seems. He's shooting 64 percent and averaging 9 and 7. The last two games, Rahman has played well but hasn't had much chance to be involved because the Aggies played undersized teams. Utah State has some size in Morgan Grim and Jordan Stone off the bench and the UtAgs want to play at a slower pace. I think Rahman can have a big game.

Stew Morrill: "(Rahman) is so big and they throw it to him a lot"

In Nevada's victory at Utah State, the Wolf Pack outrebounded USU by 10 with 13 offensive rebounds. The Aggies are the No. 6 rebounding team in the country. NMSU averages 14 offensive reboundes per game. 

Stew Morrill: "Wendell averages over 10 rebounds per game so you have to put a body on him. It becomes a lot harder if you rotate or they penetrate or if you're doubling the post. We basically have to try to gang rebound."

Utah State doesn't turn the ball over. They average 12 TOs per game. NMSU averages 17 per game. The Aggies had 20 turnovers against Louisiana Tech. Although La. Tech wants to play at a faster pace, NMSU turnovers kept La Tech in the game.

"If we limit those, it makes the game a lot easier for us," freshman guard Daniel Mullings said. "Our turnovers really kept them in the game. If we limit them, we will be good."

It's easier said than done, but the Aggies will try to get the ball out of the hands of senior point guard Brockeith Pane. Moreso than past USU teams, the point guard is even more important since there are new players around Pane. It will be interesting to see who Mullings guards, either Pane or sophomore shooting guard Preston Medlin.

"From what I'm hearing from teammates and staff, they have been ruling the WAC," Mullings said. "This will be a good test for us and we are just looking forward to the game. One thing I know about them is they set a lot of screens so we have to be ready for that. We have to come in with that mindset to see screens and talk to get through screens."

Medlin redshirted last year and is averaging 15 ppg and shooting 49 percent from 3 pt range.

"We had three seniors on the wing. Preston had quite a bit of potential but those kids were seniors coming off a championship and were going to get a lot of the shots," Morrill said. "It was a good move to redshirt him. He had a tough game at Corpus Christi but since then has emerged as a guy who thinks he can play and he's right. He's good at passing the ball and makes a lot of plays for his teammates. He's slight of build but more athletic than you might think."

Even though there are new players at USU, Morrill has a system in place that is obviously successful. 

"We knew what Tai Wesley and Pooh Williams did and we were comfortable with those guys playing them year in and year out," Aggies coach Marvin Menzies said. "I think as you get new players they are going to be there for awhile, you have to adjust to them. The way Utah State plays, their system is as important in understanding because of the consistency that Stew has."

Morrill said that USU coaches have primarily been studying film from the Aggies last three games after the departure of Christian Kabongo. 

"Mullings has come in as a starter and looks very capable," Morrill said. "He's athletic and he's doing some good things. Kabongo was taking a lot of shots and it seems like there are more shots to go around."

Lastly, Utah State enters the game a bit desperate. They lost to Nevada at home and Thursday's game is the first of four road games for them. Lose another game could end hopes of a league title. Lose two certainly will.

A home game is important for NMSU and getting off to a good start is important.

"The advantage of playing at home is only as strong as your crowd," Menzies said. "We do need to get the support in here because there is no use of playing at home if you're playing in an empty gym. If we get that, I think that's a big part of giving us potential success."


Anonymous said...

Can you change the font so it's readable without squinting ?

Anonymous said...

Anon 8:55 am,

If you are using a pc, try holding the CTRL (control) key down and clicking the + (plus) key. This will enlarge everything for you.


General comment: This will be a good test for the Aggies. So far, with the exception of the one win against the Lobos, the Aggies have only beaten weaker teams. Utah State is the team that more closely approximates the Aggies in skill level.

It should be an interesting game.

Anonymous said...

Stew Morrill: "(Rahman) is so big and they throw it to him a lot"

Me: But he has trouble catching the ball and keeping from turning it over.

In the situation when he is able to hang on to the ball, I would like to see him go up and slam some dunks---like a big center should be able to do.

Anonymous said...

"The advantage of playing at home is only as strong as your crowd," Menzies said. "We do need to get the support in here because there is no use of playing at home if you're playing in an empty gym. If we get that, I think that's a big part of giving us potential success."

Marvin, I can think of one advantage of playing at home in this situation---you don't have to contend with such a large, hostile opponent's home crowd.

Anonymous said...

Daniel Mullings is so much more welcome to Aggie basketball than Christian "Distant Memory" Kabongo.

Mullings handles himself with maturity.

No primal screams. No chest-thumping. No crotch-grabbing. No kiss-blowing.

In other words, he's a good kid.

As a player, he goes hard all the time. He doesn't turn the ball over and make silly decisions. He makes the smart pass, not the behind-the-back one. And he rebounds very well, unlike what's-his-name.

Utah State got out-worked tonight, but Stew Morrill won't allow that again. They went ice-cold in the 2nd half and missed open shots. They're a young group, but don't forget: Morrill has the fourth best winning percentage over the 14-year-period he's been with USU.

I hope the Aggies' kids continued success. They shouldn't be hounded because their coach is hard to support.