Transition defense: NMSU outrebounded Louisiana Tech 42-33 in the first game with 12 offensive rebounds. The Aggies scored 36 points in the paint. NMSU averages 12.4 offensive rebounds per game. I asked Marvin Menzies if the Aggies can afford to be so aggressive on the offensive boards against a team that wants to push every possession.
"Right now, our defensive transition is one of our concerns because of how well they push the ball from multiple positions. The flip side is that if you do a good job hitting the glass, they slow down because they have to block out because they are giving away too many put backs and won't be so fast to leak out."
Another factor that hurts the Aggies is bad shots that lead to transition (Aggies need to play inside out they attempted 37 free throws in the first game) and turnovers (La Tech scored 21 points off 14 NMSU turnovers in the first game, NMSU coming off 18 turnovers at Denver.) Louisiana Tech leads the league with 17 turnovers forced per game and steals with 9.2 per game
3-point defense: Louisiana Tech made 11 3s in the first game against NMSU. Brandon Gibson was 5-5 from 3 and Kenyon McNeail was 4-6 but Cordarius Johnson Raheem Appleby and Alex Hamilton are among the others that can shoot. La Tech shoots 24.7 3s per game and make 8 per game.
Rotation: Now that Tyrone Watson is back in the lineup, say what you will about the rotation at Denver, but I feel like Menzies knows that perhaps at least Renaldo Dixon was lost in the mix. My opinion is that won't happen again. In a game like tonight specifically, I don't think it can. Dixon can back up both Watson and Sim Bhullar, whose conditioning has improved but you don't want him playing over 30 minutes per game this time of year while Dixon has proven to be nearly as effective on the glass and protecting the rim. Not to mention the fact that La. Tech plays up to 11 guys nightly.
"This game will be more conducive to (Dixon and Remi Barry) playing and getting back into the groove. They will both have an opportunity in this game."
La Tech's bench outscored NMSU 38-19 in the first game.
I like NMSU tonight. This is typically the type of game that the Aggies get up for under Menzies and the Aggies are 13-1 at the Pan Am. I'm also not a big fan of La. Tech. I don't think they have played anyone, even in the WAC since the first weekend. I think its realistic they can lose both road games this weekend. But they have that weapon of the 3 ball and a very good point guard in Kenneth Smith. NMSU is capable of playing a faster pace to match La. Tech, but perhaps Bhullar can play a bigger role tonight. NMSU wins 76-71