Friday, March 22, 2013

Highs and lows of a rebuilding year

This year’s Aggies lived up to lofty expectations that in reality shouldn’t have been as high as they were.
Aggies fans knew that last year’s team would reach the postseason. This year, not so much.
Considering New Mexico State was replacing three of the most productive four-year players in program history, winning a conference championship and reaching a second straight NCAA Tournament is a significant achievement.
The Aggies were picked to win the Western Athletic Conference. They didn’t, instead winning the third Western Athletic Conference Tournament championship under head coach Marvin Menzies.
How the Aggies got to their second straight conference championship was anything but smooth.
Here are a few highlights and lowlights from NMSU’s 2013 basketball season:

Slow starters
NMSU didn’t exactly get off to a start worthy of a NCAA Tournament team.
NMSU entered conference play 5-8 against Division I opponents, including going 0-3 to start against regional rivals New Mexico and UTEP.
It’s a trend that has developed at NMSU under Menzies. The Lobos turned out to have a nice little year for themselves, but NMSU could have won the game in Las Cruces. The Aggies should have won the first meeting against UTEP in El Paso, losing a two-possession lead in the final minute.
The slow start continued into WAC play with the Aggies losing road games at Texas-Arlington and Louisiana Tech to open conference play. It was starting to near panic mode, but the Aggies proved to be a WAC contender after all.

The streak
If there was a turning point to the season, it may well have been NMSU’s early January road sweep at Seattle and Idaho. Bandja Sy hit a 3-pointer with seven seconds left to send the Aggies into overtime and ultimately a win. Two nights later, Daniel Mullings knocked down two free throws in the final seconds to escape Idaho with a win.
Seattle and Idaho were two of a season-long 12-game win streak that propelled the Aggies to the conversation for a league title. It was the school’s longest streak since the 2006-07 season.

Dealing with injury and distractions
Two Aggies basketball players have pending felony charges. Walk-on guard Emory Coleman was arrested in January for homicide by vehicle a year after a fatal accident that killed an Alamogordo man. Coleman’s situation was overshadowed by a felony battery charge against three-year starter Tyrone Watson. Watson has pleaded not guilty after his involvement in an incident at a house party in February where a fellow student was beaten. Watson missed seven games due to suspension and returned on March 2 against Denver.
Watson played two games after his suspension was lifted, but went down in the second game with a high ankle sprain against Louisiana Tech that ultimately ended his career.
Watson did play seven minutes against Saint Louis, but he wasn’t the only Aggies player to go down to injury. Junior center Tshilidzi Nephawe played nine games before undergoing season ending injury to repair torn ligaments in his hand. Point guard K.C. Ross-Miller also missed games this year due to injury.

Solid seniors
Watson and Sy enjoyed productive careers at NMSU. Both were on three NCAA Tournament teams. Watson was an all-around player for the Aggies and Sy was a highlight dunk waiting to happen. Sy ended his career perfectly with a game-winner against UTA at home on Feb. 23 and was the only Aggies player to register double figures on Thursday.

Eyes to the future
The injuries and suspension opened the door for role players to develop into future starters. Sim Bhullar put the Aggies on his 7-foot-5 frame and carried NMSU to a conference title in Las Vegas, earning Tournament MVP honors in his first season on the basketball court in nearly two years. With another off season to continue to develop his fitness and skill level, Bhullar should be a preseason WAC Player of the Year candidate, as will Mullings as a junior. Mullings improved at the foul line and the field while continuing to defend and rebound at an elite level. Juniors Renaldo Dixon and Remi Barry will replace Watson at the four next year to form a strong nucleus.
The Aggies need to find consistency at the point guard position, but with the state of the WAC next year, the Aggies should be runaway favorites next year where the expectations should have high expectations to match their experience and talent level.

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


Anonymous said...

Hi Jason,

Please open this conversation in a post devoted to the top for the masses to address a few questions about how we feel:

about the coaching staff

about the WAC

about Boston

It is a VERY good time to look at these questions.

We are sliding and there may not be a return once we have slid down the slope of thinking winning the WAC to be success, when the WAC of 2012 is not the same as the WAC of 2010 and the WAC of 2013 gets even worse.

Please address this with us. Many people want their voices heard here.



Anonymous said...

As we've known for a few years, this team still needs better outside shooting. Until that happens, they will be limited.
They already have a very formidable front line, but they need to address this area badly. Hopefully Kevin Aronis, Eric Weary, and Remi Barry get major minutes next season.

They also have a major need for a player that can create his own shot off the dribble and hit long range. Maybe Matthew Taylor, but from what I read, he is still a raw talent.

Patrick NaySay

Anonymous said...

It would be nice to come up with some offense that took advantage of Sim and that would operate when Sim wasn't there.

Am hoping that Chili has been perfecting his post moves as well.

Anonymous said...

Has anybody seen the Saint Louis Oregon game?

The 'amazing' Saint Louis defense looks mighty ordinary today. hmmmm.

And who is making them look ordinary? Two freshmen! I am sorry, there are no excuses for our showing Thursday.

Rebuilding? From what? To what?

We need a new plan!

Anonymous said...

I saw where St Louis got beat soundly by 12 seed Oregon. Oregon was definitely dissed in the seeding (one notch better than NMSU). But this is also a sign of just how far NMSU is from being legit. We lose by 20 to a team that gets beat by 17. And Boston and Menzies will still view this as a highly successful season because we won the pathetically weak (and getting worse) WAC.

Anyone know about Butler's hoops program when Menzies took over at NMSU? Neither do I. But since then, we all have seen them advance to two national championship games and a regular competitor in the tourney. Now I'm not foolish to assume Menzies is not successful because he can't get to the championship game. But routinley beat or split with our rivals, dominate a weak conference, demand a challenging non-conference schedule and be competitive, and win a few games in the NCAA tourney.

NMSU has a much more impressive history than UNM, but I bet younger Aggies and current students are not aware of this. We can have a legit program at NMSU, it's happened before. Until proven otherwise, I still am of the opinion we are hopeless with Menzies (and Boston).
-Aggie Glare

Anonymous said...

The time of 1 & done, needs to end!
Yes, we have gotten some tough draws:
-Texas w/ Kevin Durant
-Mich St./ final 4 team
-IU/ pre-season #1

Who is St. Louis and why were we so un-competitive?! Losing by 20?!!

Next year, NMSU will win the:
Conference and we need to put pressure on Boston Mezies about taking the next step! That's if Boston is still around when the new president puts his foot down!

Anonymous said...

I agree, glare,

What we are experiencing is a kind of false success. The teams we are beating require us to put an asterisk next to our so called achievements.

It is a fools game we in Aggieland are playing and we will end up a bottom tier team if changes aren't made in the next few years.

Oh well!

At least my tea tastes good!



Anonymous said...

I think that these are the main expectations that we should have for our basketball program regardless of who our coach is;

1. Have a winning season
2. Win the conference
3. Make a postseason tournament
4. Beat the rivals

Some schools have loftier expectations than others but I think those should be ours. I know people like to compare us to other mid major programs out there who have had relative success and we just dont seem to measure up. NMSU has not won an NCAA game since 93. How can we say our expectations is for NMSU to win games in the tournament and make some sort of run if we havent had that in 20 years?

NMSU basketball was a force in the early 90's but has not been since then. I understand that now that we have been getting to the NCAA tournament people want more than just a one and done but we need to be patient. I see a lot of old timers come here and brag about NMSU back then and how well McCarthy did. McCarthys teams lost once in the NIT First Round and twice in the NCAA First Round before they made the Sweet 16 in '92. I dont know how it was back then but Im sure folks werent hollering at him for not being able to make it past the first round. So why are we doing that to Menzies?

I know you might disagree with me but really that is what we should look at. We have had 5 winning seasons under Menzies to 1 one losing one. He has won the WAC 3 times and has taken us to a post season tournament 3 times. The worst knock that we can make on him is that he cant beat UNM or UTEP consistently.

Like Jason said, this team suffered through a lot of setbacks this year and managed to pull of a Tournament appearance. If we hadnt won the WAC people would be hollering that Menzies didnt win the terrible WAC. We actually won the WAC and people are hollering that we won the terrible WAC. I think that NMSU is headed in the right direction and we will have a good team coming back next year. Menzies has been consistent so far and while I get frustrated with him as well, I refuse to bash him for reaching reasonable expectations at NMSU.


Anonymous said...

Jesus, it isn't about bashing MM.

It's about looking at the whole picture and asking ourselves where we want to fit in that picture.

I have been thinking about Gonzaga this morning. How they got beat as soon as they faced a hard defense. All those cakewalks in the WCC didn't prepare them for the intensity they faced in the tourney.

They are going to have to change conferences to move forward from here. That is what I think. I think if they were in the MWC for example, they would be more seasoned and ready to face a Wichita State.

So it also is with NMSU. It isn't about the coach only. It is about the teams we play. If the conference is so weak, it makes no difference if we dominate it. If the schedule is filled with powder puffs, a 20 win season is a false measure of success or failure. The only thing we have to go on is how we fare against good competition and the eyeball test.

It is here that MM has not succeeded in my view.


Anonymous said...

It's pretty shocking how much criticism is levied towards MM and Boston. Their success over the last few years hasn't really ever been matched in the modern era. Henson and Theus both took us to NCAA with a one and done result. Our sweet sixteen in the 90s have been disallowed. 3 NCAA out of the past 4?!?!?! We should all be ecstatic with the trajectory of this program and hope that we can keep MM on for years to come. He has a unique recruiting pipeline with his focus on foreign born players, and I think with time we are going to see even greater success as he improves as a coach. Unlike Theus, he seems to really want to live in LC and make his mark here. That is a rarity these days. As Jason wrote, this team likely overachieved. We are young and will be much better next year. Rather than bashing our coaching staff, what needs to happen now is that we need to start turning out the people of LC to the Pan Am for every game. We want to be a feared mid-major? Then let's make people intimidated to even step foot at our house. That kind of feedback loop will only improve our team's mentality.

Anonymous said...

Congrats to the Aggies on their 20th NCAA tourney appearance. To win a game, Menzies needs to do the following in my opinion.

1. Have to get better in the half court (offense). Sim and Mullings need to catch the ball in areas where they can score.

2. Point Guard play must get better. These PGs in the tourney can flat out play.

3. Become a possible at-large team. This means getting a better seed. Menzies needs to schedule a very strong out of conference schedule.

The Aggies will be better next year and will probably play in the tourney again. But even if that happens, winning a game is still very difficult. Look at what happened to the Lobos.


Anonymous said...

You make a lot of good points and everyone agrees that NMSU will win the WAC next year and will get back to the big dance.

However, what's wrong with us asking the program to take the next step and win a game?
Or, is losing by 20 and 1st round exit acceptable?

I see a couple #13 seeds making a lot of noise. Why not us?!!


Anonymous said...

anon 6:55, you said: 'what needs to happen now is that we need to start turning out the people of LC to the Pan Am for every game. We want to be a feared mid-major? Then let's make people intimidated to even step foot at our house. That kind of feedback loop will only improve our team's mentality.'

I couldn't agree more. I appreciate that you didn't stop with a critique of 'bashing' but went even further and suggested a is my reply to you and all the others I have read here including you, Jason!

I would say that it is not either get new/and/or better coaching, get new/and/or better competition, get better attendance with intense atmosphere.

I would say it needs to be ALL OF THE ABOVE, and they are all inter-related with each other...better coaching creates more wins at the beginning of the season creates more excitement among the fan base. Better competition brings more accountability to the coaching staff, and better basketball and better recruits (even a program that has only been in division 1 for like 2-5 years like Florida Gulf Coast got to play Miami this come we can't do that!!!!!) and more excitement among the fans, and a more excited fan base gets us into a better conference with better competition and more money because our brand is more profitable and so it goes.

The problem we have now is that the level of competition gives us a false (or at least inaccurate) sense of how good we ACTUALLY are relative to the rest of division one.

And then it becomes easy to say, oh we only need a new point guard or better pg play among our current pgs (as Boston himself told my father today) or, as many here say: oh, we need to beat UNM and UTEP and then the fans will be excited.

Sure, those things will help, but it is more than those things. We need a different attitude amongst the players. We need a different level of readiness (both mental and strategic). We need a clearer system of accountability (what is ACTUALLY good, what is ACTUALLY just OK, and what is ACTUALLY not good!)

The problem we have at this moment, is because we win 20 games year after year, win the WAC tourney the AD, the coach and many on this blog, maybe including Jason himself call it success or even over-achieving, and call for a little change here and there with the pg or getting more fans in seats, and not ask how we ACTUALLY did.

In my view, it is a kind of denial of how good we actually are relative to the rest of division 1. If we win 20 games against sub RPI 100 teams, it is not the same as winning 10 games against the top 15.

Sorry, 20 wins does not neccessarily mean success. Nor does going to the big dance as the representative of the WAC.

See what I mean?

Sorry to belabor the point to those of you who already understand, but it just needs to hit home here.

Thanks for reading.


Anonymous said...

New Mexico State does not have any outside shooters. In order for Sim to be productive, they need players that can stretch the floor.

Anonymous said...

I appreciate that you have spent some time thinking about your comments, Alan. That kind of thoughtfulness is rare on the message board. That said, even if it is against subpar competition, we have never made 3 Tournaments out of 4 without cheating. That kind of success is unprecedented, so the idea that we would even remotely consider replacing Menzies seems divorced from reality.

Personally, I don't want to make perfect the enemy of really good. Currently the forecast is that we will continue to win (dominate, hopefully) a weak league, go to the NCAAs and take our shot. As with most mid majors, our best shots will be when we have senior laden squads with some experience, especially in the backcourt. That is a pretty darn good place to be for a school with our resource base, and trust me, there are plenty of schools paying much much more for a much inferior product on the court. IMO, even in an alternate reality where Menzies was remotely fire-able, we are at best 50-50 on whether the next coach gets us any further than we are now.


Anonymous said...

Wow folks (Alan, Jefe, DB, Jesus and a couple Anons) great posts. Now this is a good conversation.

Rivalry games. If you don't beat your rivals you're going to upset your fan base. MM has beaten UNM once since he's been here, if I remember correctly, and split with UTEP just about every year. That's unacceptable with some of the teams we've had recently. That falls on the coach.

Bad conferences. Check out my latest comments in Teddy's blog regarding how a losing football program hurts other programs. Plain and simple, the conference realignment is about football revenue, tv contracts and history. Unfortunately the basketball team is stuck in the WAC because of football even though we're independent in football now. It doesn't matter if our basketball teams wins 20 games. A losing football program isn't going to get us into a better conference.

Fan support or lack there of. Yes we've been to the NCAA's 3 times in the last 4 years under MM, but you wouldn't know it going to home games. We won 26 games last year and barely had the Pan Am half full. We won 24 this year and again 6K fans if we were lucky. It's embarrassing seeing the seats in the upper bowl of the Pan Am covered to make it look more full by having people sit closer together. Seriously? Get rid of it!
Alan and Jefe make great points. Just because we won 20 games doesn't mean we should be satisifed. Winning 20 games these days doesn't get you to the tourney. Just ask La Tech (27). Their weak schedule killed them. As you all mentioned, we must take the next step. Schedule tougher teams in non-conference play. Plain and simple. If we play garbage teams we're not going to get any better. Next years WAC is pathetic so I hope our non-conference schedule makes up for it. We may lose a few more, but quality losses are better than wins against poor teams when it comes to the NCAA tourney.

Menzies. Look he has had success, but against who? On paper he looks like a great coach, but looking at the level of competition you have to wonder. Those of you that attend games have seen how we could be beating a team and with about 6 or so minutes left in the game he'll tell his players to eat the clock. I am for sportsmanship, but come on. We need to instill a killer attitude in our team. Theus would mention about stepping on the other teams neck. Attitude is everything. A winning mindset is something I really haven't seen in the coaches or the players. Where does that stem from? The coach. I know people talk about the McCarthy era, but the guy brought in JUCO players that we didn't see "grow up" at NMSU. They'd be here 1 or 2 years then leave. He was constantly rebuilding. Also, UNLV was big reason for the fan support and competition. We did have some good players come in, but I guarantee it was because UNLV was in our conference. Since those days we haven't had any powerhouses in our conferences. Utah St/Nevada? Nevada had a couple good years, but how did they do in the tourney? Usually lost in the first round and didn't really play any tough teams either. Now they're the joke of the MWC. Utah St may have been good against us, but look at their horrible non-conference schedule every year. This year they came into Cruces with a big streak and never recovered after getting beat...bad. Just because they're good against us doesn't mean they're a great team.

I have to break my blog up folks. Part 2 to follow.


Anonymous said...

Part 2:

Leadership. Who was the leader on the court this year? Mullings, Sy and Watson weren't leaders. We needed a player that would calm the team down or get the team hyped up depending on the situation. No one took charge. I don't know what happened in the locker room, but coach should've pushed someone to lead. A good coach would've "called out" his players to find a leader to take charge. Along with a leader (on the court), a true point guard and a MUCH more challenging non-conference schedule, things must change and improve next year. I hope the athletic dept listens.

Go Aggies!!


Anonymous said...

Hey people unhappy with MM, those are some valid points, but I still think you are missing the bigger picture and not giving credit where credit is due. I don't think anyone is arguing that we should be satisfied and just stand pat with where we are. But we are moving in the right direction and it's important to remember and acknowledge that. I think we've been winning more close games under MM than we have in the recent past. I remember the late 90s and on with Henson's Illinois players (tons of talent), but we were famous for giving up secure leads late in games (Washington, Texas Tech, etc). We win a lot of close games now. As far as rivalry games go - we do need to come through, but UNM has been better on paper each year. I think we'll get there, but that can't be our top metric that overshadows all the success we are currently enjoying.

On scheduling tough opponents - we are doing this. We've played Arizona, Southern Miss, and Saint Mary's all under MM. Not to mention 2 games every year against UNM. We're not as successful as we would like to be for sure, but those are quality wins that are possible, and hopefully we can get rolling sooner rather than later (which has definitely been an issue). We've got to have some cupcakes early in the year to just give the team the chance to gel and get to know each other. Even Duke does this.

The reality is that we don't have a ton of developed talent year in and year out that is going to overpower teams and make up for the process of team building every season. However, given a full season MM has shown he can bring a team together, develop true cohesion, and get results. He really makes it a family type atmosphere - you can tell these guys like each other and are pulling for each other. This is awesome to see, and I've been proud of each and every team MM has put out. I haven't always felt this way about our teams. MM's track record for success at the end of each season speaks huge volumes about his ability to bring the best out of his players is evident. I think he's still working out how to give his team a mental edge against superior competition, but that has to be one of the hardest things to do. I have confidence he will get there.

All of this energy fans spend second guessing every move he makes and re-coaching each game is counter-productive. All of our energy should be spent on these questions: "Why isn't EVERY game a sell out?" "what can we do to make this the new reality?". Until we hold ourselves to this standard, we haven't earned the right to lambast a coach who's succeeding at historically high levels at our institution. In comparison to his peers, MM is on the low end of the payscale. We should all be keeping our fingers crossed that he doesn't bolt for bigger money. He's in the process of making us a true program, we as a community need to be giving as much support as we can.

Anonymous said...

ok, super great comments,

now this is a conversation!

JH, I got a big ah ha reading your posts.

I now realize what I think a good metric for measuring whether or not we were successful (among other metrics which we can grades, beating rivals, attendance, and so on)

At the end of the year, the question the AD, coach, Jason and all of us should answer is this: would our body of work for that year merit an at large bid to the tournament or not?

If the answer is yes, the season was a success. If the answer is no, than maybe there are circumstances, (like rebuilding, injuries, players beating the stuffings out of innocent bystanders....things like that) but if we go a few years without having an at-large bid meriting season, then maybe we need to take a hard look at things.

To me, this is the way of keeping a true accountability. It includes the need to have a stronger showing against good competition.

It says that winning against Idaho, Texas State and then Arlington does not a successful season make. It says that all 20+ win seasons are not alike.

We have had teams get at large bids in the past. This year, Middle Tennessee, Boise, La Salle, Saint Mary's all got at large bids...oh yea, and Wichita State too...there are others too.

In the absence of being in a conference where winning it matters, this seems to me to be the best solution when it comes to the question, how can we define what success is and isn't for us.

So I have a question for all the MM defenders reading this...including you, Jason...

Has MM had one season that merited an at large bid? (In your opinion, even if the committee had a different one...)

Your thoughts please!


Anonymous said...

Hi Anon: 7:41 AM

I took your point about close games to heart and decided to do a bit of research. Here is what I found. These were the games we won by 5 points or less this season:

@ Seattle 2OT RPI 298

@ Idaho 71-79 RPI 194

vs Idaho 76-74 RPI 194

vs Seattle 60-57 RPI 298

vs UTEP 55-51 RPI 95

vs Texas-Arlington 69-66 RPI 120

So I am sorry to beat this same drum over and over again, but it seems needed to make the point...all victories are not equal. Beating a team in 2 overtimes is great. Gutting out a win by 3 points is fabulous. But when that team is Seattle with its 298 RPI!!!!!!! it is not so impressive. At least it is not impressive to me.

The best close victory we had was against UTEP with its RPI of 95. That is hardly going to get the nation's attention to get us an at large bid.

An at large bid, in my opinion, is the bigger picture standard of success.

An at large bid says we are relevant in the NATION, not just in the WAC, and not just taking 'steps of progress' as a team.

I am not nocking those things, but after MM's 6 years, there should be at least one team amongst the 6 that would have been given an at large bid. I am not sure that any of these teams would have even been given at large consideration.

To me, if you can't show me at large worthiness, all the rest of the arguments are justification for something that is not working (5 years is a good statistical year here and there could be explained as an off year, a rebuilding year, etc....we are talking about 5 years with no at large worthiness.

Even MM at a discount is a discount that yields no at large worthiness. In other words, it is no discount at all and I can only hope another team pays him more money and entices him to make a decision we clearly cant make for ourselves with our 'win-colored glasses' on. Let him get hired by Texas Tech or whoever. I wish him the best. Nice guy, good experience having him here, but not a success.


Anonymous said...

Great conversation all around. Awesome to see so many Aggies engaged. I don't think using the metric of getting an at large bid is very fair. It's dependent on so many factors that are out of our control. Sure this year the committee awarded several at large bids to some mid majors, but historically those have gone to the Marylands of the college BB world. We are not in a top tier conference, so for us to garner an at large bid we'd probably need to go for 27 plus wins. And that might not even be enough, depending on where everyone one else is and whatever metric the committee decides to use that March. We need to accept the reality of where we are at in the WAC. Our top goal needs to be winning our conference tournament, because that is the only way we control our own destiny. And what is MM record in conference tournaments, something like 15-3? With even those loses being competitive. He is focused on what matters and he's succeeding where it matters. Kudos are due.

MM has shown he's innovative enough to establish this pipeline of foreign born players sprinkled with some US talent, he puts out a team with great team chemistry year in and out, deals pretty well with injuries and whatever curveballs a season throws his way, and gets his team to perform when it matters. Sure he makes mistakes, everyone is learning on the job. But his positives far outweigh the negatives, and he needs his due from the fans.

He's on the right track. NMSU is playing well with the hand they've been dealt. We should certainly set our sights higher and hope to enter conference play with <3 losses, but to be calling for MM's head when we don't do this year in and out is just unrealistic. It's a long slog to get where Gonzaga and other top mid majors are. Given what we've seen so far, I like our chances to get there under MM.

Anonymous said...

Damn Alan, did Marvin Menzies personally violate you or something?

Anonymous said...

Alan sounds worse than a scorned woman. lol

joe said...

here we go again another school wants mm. what ever let him go please.

Anonymous said...

The season was a success on many levels and frustrating on others. It was an enjoyable experience, all things considered. There are many schools that would love to be where NMSU ended up.

The Menzies era is not perfect, and improvement vs. rivals and consistency from start to finish is definitely needed to help w/ attendance. However, he has as many NCAA appearances as Steve Alford in the same time frame. The Butlers and Gonzagas of the world are few. However, I agree that we should aspire to match those schools. That being said, to not match them is no cause for shame. Keep improving. I think Menzies has done that.

The WAC is indeed terrible, but you have to play the games on your schedule and win. This year's team did well, despite some obvious shortcomings (outside shooting/inconsistent PG play). Saint Louis was a bad matchup for NMSU and exposed those weaknesses. Oregon is better than NMSU and exposed Saint Louis, again, based on favorable matchups. It happens.

I guess it's hard for me to call this season a failure, despite the numerous negatives posted here (admittedly, most are valid). The end product was enjoyable and 24 wins, even in a weak conference, is not too shabby. Ask La Tech and Denver if they enjoyed their seasons' end. NMSU came to play when it needed to. Now it needs to keep improving.

Anonymous said...

...scorned woman? wow...shaking my head at sexism!

And MM has done nothing to me...I have no problem with him as a person...I only met him once and he was cordial.

Nah, I just love the Aggies irrationally because I was like 5 or 6 when we went to the final four and I never got over it :-))) Now I am allowing myself to apply my rational brain to this passion, because I think the team is on a downward slide and the slide is ignored because of wins and conference tourney wins....

Anon 8:16, thanks for replying with your opinion, instead of something else :-)

I didn't say the measure of success should be getting an at large bid...

I said the measure of success should be *having an at large bid worthy season.*

the truth is, we don't have to worry about getting a bid. If things hold, conference wise, we can sleep walk through the season practically and get a bid from the weak tea WAC. That isn't the issue.

The issue is whether or not our team has been successful.

The key question here is what constitutes success.

I appreciate the challenges mid majors have in getting at large bids, and I also know that every year 10 or so teams from mid major conferences do get at large bids.

I think success for us would be having a team worthy of one of those 10 bids, if we had needed it.

In other words, we would have had to have the kind of season middle tennessee state had this year, for example.

If you look at conference RPI

You will see that the conference Middle Tennessee plays in was 15th and we are the 13th best conference.

So even in the week, terrible conference they are in, they managed an at large bid.

Saint Mary's of the WCC is another good example here.

That is what we should aim for.

That way we will know we are truly successful.

Since our win total doesn't tell us anything meaningful as I have illustrated time and time again above, and winning the conference tourney means even less than win total, we need another metric.

At large season worthiness test is the best one I have come up with yet. Again, a season or two without at large worthiness is acceptable.

6 seasons without at large worthiness is not!


Anonymous said...

Look folks are you not understanding the conversation here? Alan is making very valid points. He's talking about whether or not 20+ wins are worthy of an At Large bid into the NCAA tourney, etc.
Alan I have to agree that 20+ wins doesn't mean much if your wins are against teams with RPI's above 100 or so.
If you look at the WAC alone this year. There were 4 teams with 20+ wins, but the WAC tourney champ was the only one in the NCAA's. La Tech had 27 wins, but against who? They were predicted to get a 14 seed if they won the WAC because of their Strength of Schedule or lack there of.
Those previous years the WAC sent At Large teams was when those teams had tougher schedules. Nevada gained national recognition, but when we beat them, that helped our cause. It was mentioned there were a few teams that recieved At Large bids this year. Boise St in the MWC played UNM, Colorado St and UNLV all of which were ranked at various times of the season. They also beat Creighton (away) and lost to Mich St (away) by 4. That was a schedule that merited an At Large bid. Obviously the MWC had a horrible showing in the tourney, but we couldn't forsee that happening. La Salle, A-10, had a very challgenging schedule and some quality wins.
So what Alan and a few of us are trying to say is that yes MM has had success here, but those successful seasons were against weaker competition and we still had a poor showing against our rivals. This is not an attack on MM, it's pointing out how important a tougher schedule may bring a higher seeding so you might not have a One and Done in the tourney or you could earn an At Large bid.
Our so-called slow starts that MM teams has is against non-conference teams. Again, look at the slaughter we took this year in the first round. The team was either not ready mentally, the coach didn't prepare them or the lack of playing quality teams hurt them. I think it was a combination of all. Thoughts?


Anonymous said...

Thanks for all you have done to get NMSU to this point, MM. That will be known as your "expertise"- getting teams to the dance. Now its time to focus on the NEXT chapter of that and shoot for sweet 16 as a minimum.
The only way to do that, is to recruit a top-midlevel coach and pay him fat. Does NMSU have enough money in its coughers to cover the cost of a token coach? That is the biggest question to consider, not just all this "replace MM banter".

Dig Dug '95

Anonymous said...

two things:

first, no NMSU does not have the coin to get a bigger name coach.

second, we are not on a downward slide. That is not a rational statement. We beat our opponents in the WAC and loss to a nationally ranked #4 seed in the tourney. The regular season is still going to be important so we can hopefully get a better seeding. That's where our measure of success should be. A high seeding makes it easier to win a game or two in the dance. So no just because we all expect to cake walk through the WAC doesn't mean the season has no implications.