But the reality is that after losing back-to-back road games to
State and Missouri-Kansas
City last weekend, the Aggies are
currently in fourth place in the conference standings behind 4-0 Utah Valley,
3-1 Chicago State
and 3-2 . Missouri-Kansas
That's the backdrop entering this weekend's single game against 2-3Texas-Pan American on Saturday at the
. Pan American
"I think the guys know that they didn't play well and they got beat," said Aggies coach Marvin Menzies, whose team is 14-7 overall and 3-2 in WAC play. "Teams are going to be motivated to play against us and we didn't respond the way that I would have liked."
Menzies gave his players three days off following Saturday's 68-66 loss to UMKC, not only to regroup, but for players like Daniel Mullings and DK Eldridge (ankle) to rest.
"We needed it," Menzies said. "DK was struggling a little bit and Daniel needed the rest. Having those extra days off are valuable for the long term."
Menzies had targeted Saturday's game for a possible return for NMSU sophomore center Sim Bhullar, who has missed the Aggies first five WAC games with a foot injury.
"I have heard some different things and we are still having him evaluated," Menzies said. "I'm not sure if he will play this weekend or next weekend. I was maybe more optimistic that he would be back, but we can't afford to push him back too quickly. We want to have him for the rest of the year when he does come back."
Texas-Pan American has won its last two games against UMKC and
, both on the road.
UTPA had lost 10 straight prior to last weekend, beating Chicago
84-61 two nights after the Cougars beat NMSU. Chicago State
"You just don't know what you will get on a given night," Menzies said. "I know what we are going to get. We are going to get every team's best shot, but we have to use that as motivation and be ready. (UTPA) won two tough games on the road. They have a lot of talent and it looks like they are learning how to play together."
The Aggies opened WAC play last year with back-to-back road losses at Texas-Arlington and Louisiana Tech. NMSU went on to win its next 12 games.
"When we look back at it, hopefully it will serve as an opportunity to really focus in and grow as a team," Menzies said.
After losing two WAC games, the Aggies dropped from 54 to 76 in this week's NCAA RPI rankings. At 4-0 in WAC play,
jumped from 199 to 149, followed by Chicago
State (187), UMKC (193), Seattle (242), Idaho
(271), Grand Canyon (273), Bakersfield
(274) and UTPA (308).