This is probably Hawaii's best team since Gib Arnold took over. Hawaii is good at home and accustomed to playing in this game over tipoff weekend and the midnight start local time is an hour later than usual.
It's the first road trip of the season for the Aggies, but I think the general feeling is they would be very disappointed to come back with one win in three games entering a rivalry game on Friday. The Aggies have done good things at times, but will need to put it all together to pull out a 68-65 victory over Hawaii.
Transition defense: Hawaii has adopted a more up tempo offense this season. Isaac Fotu and Christian Standhardinger are going to try to beat the Aggies centers up and down the floor. NMSU's guards can't turn the ball over or take bad shots, which is giving away points. And the big guys need to try to get back. NMSU should be familiar with one of the Hawaii guards to find in transition, Keith Shamburger, who is currently third on the team in scoring at 11 ppg.
Pound the interior: Jack Nixon pointed out that Sim Bhullar has only taken nine shots from the field in the first two games. Nine isn't enough, even though it has opened the door for Chili Nephawe to get off to a great start. Hawaii has two very good, although undersized post players in 6-8 Isaac Fotu and 6-8 Christian Standhardinger. Hawaii does have 7-foot senior Davis Rozitis, who comes off the bench. When he does, Hawaii puts him at the top of a 3-2 zone. He's active and could cause trouble up there, but it also means a guard has to play down low. Finally, NMSU has outrebounded its first two opponents by 35 rebounds with 31 offensive rebounds. If the Aggies find a way to turn those second chances into points, they could pull away.
Handle pressure: NMSU had 17 turnovers against Tennessee State. Hawaii has changed this season to pressure full court for long stretches. KC Ross Miller and Daniel Mullings have each had high turnover games at NMSU and DK Eldridge and Travon Landry are newcomers. It could be interesting to see who Hawaii targets in their pressure.