Monday, March 18, 2013

Lessons learned from last year's NCAA

I remember talking to NMSU players following last year's first-round loss to Indiana. It seemed like the Aggies were depending on getting to the foul line against the Hoosiers. Afterall, the Aggies were among the nation's leaders in free throw attempts. Only problem was that NMSU wasn't playing with WAC refs anymore. NCAA games are called differently for whatever reason. Perhaps some are coming from a more physical league, more experience in the Tournament. But NMSU attempted just 10 free throws against Indiana.

Indiana was also ready for Wendell McKines, as the dominant offensive force on the Aggies. A year later and I believe this team is more balanced offensively while still doing the things that got NMSU into the tournament last year.

"You have to play harder, play stronger, make stronger moves because they are not going to call everything and we know that," Aggies senior Bandja Sy said. "They let us play."

Not that the Aggies shy away from a physical game, but they won't get calls and now they know this going in. Not to mention, St. Louis has been described as a very physical basketball team.

Sy and Daniel Mullings both said the Aggies can't afford to get off to a slow start again.

"They jumped out on us early before we kind of adjusted," Mullings said.

This year's Aggies are less reliant on the free throw line this season, and more balanced offensively.

"A lot of that has to do with a  lot of the starters that went down at the beginning of the season because we have a lot of depth at a lot of positions," Mullings said.

The Aggies defend and rebound well enough to keep them in any game. They aren't as reliant on getting to the foul line as they were a year ago and more players are capable of contributing. NMSU seems to have improved in areas of weakness from last year's tournament team.


joe said...

blah blah blah here we go again face it aggies are in cause wac is so weak why do you think they only take the winner of the tournament duh!

Anonymous said...

It will be an interesting match up.

It will be a matchup against coaches as much as anything. It appears Saint Louis is not an exceptionally talented team or anything. We carry a height advantage, and we have great athletes.

We will see.

I am lucky to be able to go and see the game in person.


Anonymous said...

I'm getting off topic but the point made on how the games are called differently is exactly why UNM won't wake it out the second round.

Anonymous said...

Joe your comments were blah blah blah. Guess that's why 20 other conferences sent only 1 team to the tournament. You're probably a big supporter of the BCS too. The NCAA tournament is about seeing underdogs beat favorites. There's that old saying about "any given Sunday." Anyone can win. Hence MARCH MADNESS!!!! This tournament, thankfully, isn't about seeing ONLY Big East or Big Ten schools play. I may have plenty of issues regarding MM, but that doesn't mean I'm not going to support my Aggies. I hope for the best and I'll be watching the game on TV. Alan we expect you to be yelling your head off.

Go Aggies!!


Anonymous said...

Saint Louis is ranked #3 in the country. They are a very good team and we will have our hands full with them.


Last year Indiana was ready for Wen like you said. Do you think Saint Louis will be ready for Sim?

Anonymous said...

#13 sorry

Jason Groves said...

Anon 225. I'm actually going to do a blog post on this. I don't think the Aggies depend on any one player this year as much as they did on Wendell last year. So if St. Louis wants to shut down Sim or let Sim have his points, I think this team is more balanced. I will expand on it though.

Anonymous said...


Since the rule is that only conference tournament teams are guaranteed a spot, the reason they take the Aggies is because they earned their way in. Any at large team was VOTED in by a bunch of guys sitting around a table drinking coffee and diet cokes.

And guess what, there are a 100 other schools that would like to be in exactly NMSU's position. It sure is bad to be one of those schools. (Listen to the weeping coming from El Paso if you don't believe it.)

Anonymous said...

I hope they have a better game plan than "let's get to the line."

I also like how this team is not talking smack like previous years. I still remember Jahmar Young & Wendell talking smack about Mich. St. and wen talking smack about Cody Zeller.

Let your game do the talking! Go Aggies!

Anonymous said...

Last year Indiana had WAY too many easy layups, and before long we were down double digits. There is no way that is happening again! This group of Aggies will not tolerate easy buckets, and their defense is tireless to the point that we should see alot of frustration mounting from St. Louis! We just need to box out and make sure our motor is always running, and that we are relentless, aggressive, and confident! I really like this group of players, and Coach Menzies will have them ready. *Gil*

Anonymous said...

Sim has made huge improvements on offense this year but for the Aggies to win, it's not his offense but his defense that is crucial. I agree with Jason. This is a very well balanced team and everybody shares in the scoring. We are winning on defense and that is where Sim is key.

Anonymous said...

I feel the Aggies have a much better chance at beating St Louis than they ever did with Indiana.
St Louis has had their shaky points in the season too.

This IS the year, everyone!!!!! We have a very balanced team and if the seniors take control early were off to the next round.

P.s Groves - tremendous job covering the team all year. Lord knows the El Paso Slimes Times would be lost as would the Aggie faithful without ya!

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