Turnovers aren't an issue, unless the Aggies are very sloppy with the ball, which they weren't in Albuquerque and I don't expect them to be again against the Lobos. UNM doesn't force turnovers. It's not what they do. So here are three things NMSU needs to do tonight to get a win.
Defend the 3: UNM only made seven 3s on Saturday but it felt like more.
"When you see a 3 ball go in that's a dagger," sophomore guard Terrel de Rouen said. "Then if we go down and miss a shot and they come and hit another 3, that's a killer. That's the biggest thing is taking them off the 3-point line.
"I don't think our transition game was too bad, but when someone gets to the middle of the floor, it messes up rotations for your defense."
Players and coaches talked about the majority of UNM's 3s were open. The Lobos set a lot of ball screens, mostly with Kendell Williams. NMSU did a good job for stretches, but the Lobos take advantage of breakdowns. Look for NMSU to almost sacrifice the drive tonight just making sure to chase people off the 3-point line. Another part of that is transition play. If the Aggies don't turn the ball over, they can't take bad shots that give the Lobos transition.
Patience offensively: A lot of talk about Tyrone Watson and Bandja Sy with an off night on Saturday. Here's a little nugget to remember though. The Lobos extended their lead in the second half with Kendall Williams, Tony Snell and Alex Kirk on the bench. Even if Watson and Sy are better, the Aggies have to get the ball inside to Sim Bhullar and Bhullar has to attack Kirk. Renaldo Dixon has to attack Kirk and the Aggies have to make open shots when they get them. NMSU was 4-16 from 3-point range on Saturday.
Mix it up: Marvin Menzies said the Aggies tried to play zone defense on a couple possessions. The Lobos hit a 3 out of a timeout on one and then got to the paint on another. Playing zone against a team with a lot of shooters is risky business, but playing with Sim Bhullar on the court wouldn't be a bad idea when he's on the court considering the Lobos bring him out away from the basket where he only collected two rebounds in the first game. I think the Aggies could also pressure the Lobos more full court at times. I like de Rouen and think he can bother Hugh Greenwood like Hernst Laroche did last year. Renaldo Dixon is obviously more mobile than Bhullar so extending the pressure and creating some turnovers could jumpstart the NMSU offense.
I don't expect the Aggies to change much from the first game. The reality is NMSU played good enough defense in Albuquerque to hang around. I expect the game to be closer but the Lobos have already beaten NMSU and it's going to take something in addition to hoping Watson and Sy have better games. Lobos win 65-61