Thursday, August 23, 2012

NMSU hoops non conference

Here is what I've been able to put together. I think it's a better overall schedule than last year despite the absence of a big name opponent. There is a realistic chance to get a win over a Pac 12, MVC and Conf. USA team. There is also an opportunity for the Aggies to get off to a good start and we saw how that helped last year as opposed to previous slow starts. Finally, with a young team that will need some time to figure things out, you don't want a really difficult schedule when in all likelihood the Aggies would have to win the WAC anyway.

Nov. 11 — @ Oregon St.
Nov. 15 — Southest Louisiana
Nov. 17 — @Niagra (Tournament)
Nov. 18 — vs. Bucknell @Niagra
Nov. 21 — Highlands
Nov. 23 — Louisiana Lafeyette
Nov. 28 — @UTEP
Dec. 1 — Southern Miss
Dec. 4 — @South Alabama
Dec. 15 — @UNM
Dec. 19 — UNM
Dec. 21 — Missouri State
Feb. 23 — UTEP

Drake will be returned next year. South Alabama comes to Las Cruces next year
The UTEP date fills in for a Bracket Buster date.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Men's hoops non-conference opponents

From what we know or what I've heard, the NMSU non-conference schedule could include the following:

Home games
Southeast Louisiana — Nov. 15
Southern Miss — Dec. 1
UNM — Dec. 19
Missouri State —Dec. 22
UTEP — Feb. 23

Away games
Oregon State 
South Alabama 
UNM — Dec. 15
UTEP —Nov. 28

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Denver Pioneers

I normally do the preseason story on NMSU for one of the national publications. I wrote them last week asking about this year's issue, but there will be no extended story on the Aggies because NMSU was picked third in the Western Athletic Conference by this particular magazine.

I could see it I guess.

I haven't thought extensively about my preseason poll, but I had NMSU and Utah State in the top two in some order with Denver and Idaho following in some order  yet to be determined. This publication had Denver picked behind Utah State.

To begin with, Utah State lost a lot, although they had some touted guys sitting out. Same could be said for NMSU with NMSU likely returning the most size in the league again.

Denver was kind of a surprise to me, entering a league this season.

The Pioneers beat Utah State in Logan last year early in the year and picked up an early win over Saint Mary's as well. They also beat Southern Miss, something NMSU couldn't do in two attempts.

Denver finished the season 22-9 and 11-5 in the Sun Belt losing in the conference semifinals under fifth year coach Joe Scott. Scott runs the Princeton offense, which could make for an interesting game when the Aggies and Pioneers play this year. NMSU has done well against slower paced teams in the league already, but patience has always been a challenge here.

Denver was eighth nationally last year field goal percentage (48.8 percent) and 3-point percentage (39.8 percent). DU's style of played ranked them 173rd in scoring offense at 68 ppg, but they gave up just 60 ppg despite allowing opponents to shoot 44 percent against them. NMSU guarded the 3 extremely well last year and DU relied on the arc for 36 percent of its offense last year. I'm sure the offense created many open looks. as they were in the top 20 in assists per game.

In terms of personnel, 6-6 wing Chris Udofia is the leading returning scorer at 14.5 ppg. 6-5 forward Royce Oneale averaged 9.9. Udofia and Oneale led the Pioneers in rebounding last year at over 5 per game. Chase Hallam and Brett Olson are both guards who shot over 40 percent from 3 last year.

With four starters returning, and it's also worth noting is that DU signed Xavier transfer Griffin McKenzie who will sit out this year, Denver will be a good addition to the WAC, but topping the league's top 2 schools recently as a team that has never reached the NCAA Tournament? I'm not so sure.