I think bad could be a bit harsh. Mediocre is more accurate, which carries a bad connotation.
First off WAC schools were a combined 50-50 entering conference play, the definintion of middle of the road. The best wins turned out to be NMSU and Louisiana Tech beating Southern Miss. The teams with good records Louisiana Tech and Utah State didn't play a difficult schedule and the Aggies didn't beat the teams that could have helped their cause. Entering the week, half of the teams in the league are below .500. There have always been bottom tier teams but half. Not to mention, the bottom three teams Seattle, Texas State and UTSA have combined for 6 WAC wins.
But as someone pointed out to me recently, when was the WAC truly a great basketball conference. Nevada steadily declined at the end of their time in the conference. The WAC is currently ranked the No. 13 RPI conference, which is right around where it's been throughout NMSU's time in the league.
2012 — No. 12 RPI — NMSU auto bid (No. 13 seed out first round)
2011 — No. 13 RPI —Utah State auto bid (No. 12 seed out first round)
2010 — No. 10 RPI — NMSU auto bid (No. 12 seed out first round) Utah State at-large (No. 12 seed out first round)
2009 — No. 11 RPI — Utah State auto bid (No. 11 seed out first round)
2008 — No. 21 RPI —Boise State auto bid (No. 14 seed out first round)
2007 — No. 9 RPI — NMSU auto bid (No. 12 seed out first round) Nevada at large (No. 7 seed, out second round)
2006 — No. 9 RPI — Nevada auto bid (No. 5 seed out first round) Utah State at large (No. 12 seed out first round)
From what I have seen since covering conference the season after Nick Fazekas leaving for the NBA, there is certainly a lack of starpower this year. Luke Babbitt, Paul George were lottery picks. Fresno State's Greg Smith has worked his way into the Houston Rockets rotation this year. Is Sim Bhullar the only realistic NBA player in the WAC right now?
The quality of the league as a whole won't be determined to me personally until the WAC Tournament. Consider if the New Mexico State basketball team wins the tournament — a realistic outcome for sure. Can we honestly say the quality of the league hasn't dropped off if the Aggies win the league without at Chili Nephawe and perhaps Tyrone Watson — two first game starters.
The league does lack the Star player. If Sy would have played this way all year than maybe you could add him to that list.
Don't think the WAC is any different this year from last. All the school that left are now the the bottom of the MWC. Who's to say La Tech not legit?
It we win the WAC and go the the NCAA tourn than I don't really care how good the WAC is.
Look at the WAC, and CUSA, MWC. How many teams from the three conferences have made it past the second round of the NCAA tourney in the last 3 years? None? If the measure of success is the NCAAs, then the WAC and the other two conferences aren't worth a squat.
Until teams from the WAC consistently beat up big conference schools in the tournament, the answer to how good the conference is will always be, "Not very."
NMSU needs to get out of the WAC. Of course the pathetic football team does not bring any value to other conferences so that does not help the sale.
The bigger problem is the lack luster support of alumni. As soon as they start stepping up and putting some money to athletics, the sky is the limit.
Lackluster support by alumni? Who do you think attend the games regularly? How about lackluster interest by students of which there are something on the order of 16,000 on campus during basketball season? How about team play in pre-conference that wouldn't interest the most diehard fan? How about marketing by the university that, well, is as close to no marketing at all as can be?
Mediocre at best but next year it becomes a pathetic joke.
Next year the folks who make up the Aggie spin machine will need to choose their words wisely when they write about a Aggie win.
Boasting about annihilating teams like Grand Canyon,Utah Valley,UTPA and Chicago State could become embarrassing.
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