Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Can the Aggies run the table in the WAC?

Just two schools in the history of the Western Athletic Conference have ever run the table in league play.
That fact alone should provide enough motivation for the 2013-14 Aggies, even if the other schools that now make up the league, can't.
Players and coaches alike won't touch the topic, preparing for each game as it comes.
"If we drop one or two or three, we drop but we have to take them one at a time," said Menzies, who is 65-31 (68 percent) in WAC play. "I know it's cliche, but it's so true because there is no other option. You can't speculate on the next level."
But consider Menzies' first three NCAA Tournament teams and the level of competition the Aggies faced in 2010 (70-67 loss to No. 5 Michigan State), in 2012 (79-66 loss to No. 4 Indiana) and last year (64-44 loss to No. 4 Saint Louis). By virtue of two quality wins in non-conference play, the Aggies enter WAC play with a Top 50 RPI. If the Aggies manage to go unbeaten in league play, it would keep them on the national radar with a 23-game win streak by that point. It could mean the difference between a 14 seed or possibly a No. 12 in the Big Dance.
But lose a game, and that chance would likely be wiped out as the WAC is currently ranked the No. 22 conference by RPI according to RealTimeRPI.com.
"We would like that but we look at it like one game at a time," Aggies point guard K.C. Ross-Miller said. "We don't want to get ahead of ourselves and skip over a team. That's how upsets happen."
There has been precendce in recent years in the WAC, although the makeup of the conference was vastly different. Utah State was an at-large selection in 2010, finishing 14-2 in the WAC regular season. Utah State won 17 straight games before losing to NMSU in the WAC Tournament championship game. Utah State did not have a quality non-conference victory in 2010, but finished with a 34 RPI and a No. 12 seed in the NCAA Tournament.
A sustained win streak wouldn't be a new phenomenon for this group of Aggies, either. NMSU won 12 straight games last year in WAC play.
Putting together a win streak is no easy task considering conference play consists of two games against every team, there are six new additions to the league and road games are always a challenge regardless of the venue.

But NMSU's makeup this season seems more focused, and the level of competition is nowhere near as difficult on a nightly basis making the idea more realistic than most years.


Anonymous said...

I feel like the Aggies can and SHOULD run the table. Road games at Idaho, Seattle, and Bakersfield could be difficult but should be wins. If the Aggies want to be a "mid-major powerhouse" they need to beat every team on their schedule the rest of the way. Bottom line. No Utah State, No LaTech, No UTA. This should be an undefeated WAC season.

Anonymous said...

I hope they do run the table, but I think it will be a tall order. There's always the chance some team catches fire and bombs them away from 3pt land. Here's to hoping that they're able to overcome any such obstacles. Running the table would be a HUGE boost come tourney time. Good luck Aggies!!!

Anonymous said...

Yes, it should be an undefeated WAC romp for the ags. As it would be if they went down the road and played LCHS and MHS and scheduled western nm and northern nm and is there a technical school in Juarez we can put on the calendar?

I mean, seriously, have you heard of all the schools we are playing in the WAC?

The season of honest assessment is over. Now comes the sleep walking portion of the schedule.

Then comes the reckoning in March.

Please, Jason, quit talking about MM's WAC record and his record getting into the dance.

That 'accomplished' record is fool's gold and we all know it....well, maybe only those of us who remember the MVC and the Big West Conferences we had to navigate. I mean even the WAC ca. 2005 (and that was no great shakes)


Anonymous said...


Do you see the date underneath your post? It's 2014, not 1972 or 1991 or even 2005. College athletics have changed. Basketball has changed. Slab Jones and Charlie Criss and Sam Crawford don't play for us anymore. Neil McCarthy is not our coach.

The Aggies have who they have on their conference schedule, and the best possible result at this point is to beat them all. It's unfair to the team to judge them relative to previous results from a bygone era. Having made a Final Four in 1972 or a Sweet 16 in 92 doesn't score us a single point in 2014, let alone win us a game.

Anonymous said...

I agree, who ever you are at 7:04...the past is the past.

The point I was making was merely that you can't judge MM by the same standards as those other coaches because those other coaches actually beat good teams regularly...

What gets me going here is the fact that because we are in such a pathetic conference, it is so easy to win it. Then people here and elsewhere claim that MM is a good coach; a successful coach. To me, this is false. He is good against the Idaho's of the world and the TX Pan Americans of the world.

Granted, we did beat UTEP twice and UNM once this year and that is a success. Northern Colorado was a success.

The rest of it is highly suspect. And this extends over the years.


Anonymous said...

Alan, I was going to comment that your comments did not make sense at all, but Jan 3, 2014 7:04 pm did it much better with some facts. MM did not have anything to do with the WAC completely changing. You have to play with who remains.
Big Al

Anonymous said...

anon 9:54, see the comment above yours...

of course we have to play who is on the schedule...but by the same token, you have to temper an evaluation of success based on who is on the schedule as well...

btw, did you notice that the only other team in the WAC with a winning record comes to the pan am thursday night?


Anonymous said...

To illustrate my point about how people celebrate MM just because we go dancing every year, go down to the comments under 'UNM 3 keys unlocked'. You will see the last comment is someone claiming that getting to the dance is 'above average'. This is NOT TRUE. Our success is relative to who we play.

You can not tell me that getting an automatic bid in the WAC is as much an accomplishment as it would be if we were in the MW conference, for example.

If in March our record is at-large worthy, I will be the first to congratulate MM and celebrate an above average successful season. But a WAC championship? Nah, that is a plastic accomplishment.

If we have an at-large worthy team, it means that we are one of the 65 best teams in the country at the end of the year.


Anonymous said...

Saying it's not an accomplishment is NOT TRUE.

Anonymous said...

of course its an accomplishment, anon 12:21, going to the bathroom is an accomplishment...

of course winning the WAC tourney against a slew of teams with losing records is an accomplishment...just not the kind that makes me want to keep the coach around.


Anonymous said...

Here's where we currently rank in a few of the more respected college basketball rating systems. Some use win %, some take into account margin of victory, some use offensive and defensive adjusted efficiency and are adjusted for strength of schedule.

RPI - 52. Will be somewhere around 42 entering the conf. tournament if we run the table.

Sagarin - 60


Pomeroy - 56

Massey - 55

our composite Massey rating (the mean of 47 ranking systems, which you can access here http://www.masseyratings.com/cb/compare.htm) is 62.

We are inside the "68 best teams" cutoff right now, and pretty clearly above average, considering there are 345 D1 schools.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for posting.

I noticed these numbers as well. They are encouraging and reflect our wins against UTEP, UNM and Northern Colorado.

I for one hope the aggies are at large worthy by the end of the year. It will not satisfy me to get an automatic bid only as the conference clearly doesn't reflect our tradition and greatness as a basketball school.

It is true that right now, we are on the bubble for an at large bid: http://tourneybubble.com

Let's see how we fair through the season.

To stay at or near the bubble, I think we will need to run the table of the WAC.

The reason I have been making a stink on this board is to try to get people to raise the standards of what success is. In other words, not automatic bid, but at large bid worthy (whether we need that at large bid or not).


Anonymous said...

regardless of what tourneybubble.com says, the Aggies are not getting in without winning the auto bid. An at-large would by definition mean a loss in the Conf. Tournament and there is no team in this conference we can lose to and still get an at-large. Perhaps with a sweep of UNM or removing the losses at CSU and vs. WMU. (Btw, CSU is a far worse loss than WMU, name recognition aside).

I respect your standards, but this season, at-large has come and gone. We are playing the reg. season for seeding and the tournament to get in.

Anonymous said...

You're just a wet blanket Alan. And all you care about is firing our very successful head coach? Curious, who should replace him? I do have a news flash for you. Menzies will be hired by a bigger school before the powers that be fire him.

Anonymous said...

6:29, we are on the same sheet of music. At large has come and gone, most likely.

The point I am making again and again is that in the absence of respectable conference competition, we need a different means of evaluating whether or not our coach has succeeded. It is clear that we are almost assured of getting into the dance the way things are right now, so that is NO EVALUATION.

The one I have determined to be a good one is at large WORTHINESS...it doesn't mean we actually need the at large bid, because in the WAC we either don't need it or we won't get it because like you said, we lost to somebody rinkydink.

As for 9:59, calling people names is not my M.O....and you won't even post your name!

As for the second part of your comment, that somebody else will hire away MM, we can only hope so! Or at least, that is my hope....

I am not against MM, btw. I just want a dollars to donuts honest assessment of what success means....getting to the dance is clearly NOT an honest assessment, say what you will!