Saturday, January 4, 2014

Grand Canyon: Three keys and a prediction

New Mexico State opens WAC play tonight at Grand Canyon University in Phoenix.

Marvin Menzies has held more practice time in the past week to keep his team focused. Grand Canyon is looking forward to this game and they are 1-0, but I think NMSU wins rather easily, 80-65

Rebound: Grand Canyon's 6-9 senior Killian Larson is the only player in double digits in the WAC with 11.7 rebounds per game. He had 26 and 12 against Texas Pan American and he averages four offensive rebounds per game. Grand Canyon just isnt in the Aggies class as a team rebounding though. I expect the Aggies to dominate a team on the boards like they did at home against South Alabama, a team that would finish in the top half of the league easily, GCU, not so much.

Get the ball inside: Teams are shooting 45 percent against Grand Canyon (sixth in the WAC) and nearly 59 percent on two point field goals. Chili Nephawe has showed the ability to score inside this year, against UNM he was active on the boards and the in the paint. I even expect NMSU to use DK Eldridge and Matej Buovac in the paint. The Aggies have used Eldridge on the block against smaller guards and Buovac as a stretch four since Remi Barry's injury.

"DK has that ability, he's a strong, big guard that when we have size advantages, we think we can take advantage of iso situations, we can do that," Marvin Menzies said. "Matej as a stretch four, we have always kind of talked about it, if we have foul trouble."

Limit 3s/TOs: Grand Canyon only shoots 30 percent from 3-point range, but the long ball accounts for 33 percent of their points. Grand Canyon made 14 3s against Texas Pan Am with Jerome Garrison hitting four and Daniel Alexander making five 3s. The Aggies enter every game hoping to keep the opponent to four or fewer. NMSU has done a decent job limiting turnovers to 13 this season, and GCU only forced nine per game so it doesnt seem they pressure the ball.

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