Tonight the Aggie men's basketball team returns home to take on UC-Davis in the regional matchup of the Legends Classic Tournament. This tournament isn't like a traditional tournament where the winners advance and the losers go home. The semifinals for this tournament were predetermined with the host schools, NMSU, Texas, Tennessee and West Virginia all meeting next week in New Jersey to battle for the crown. This is the way for the tournament organizers to guarantee they have a big draw for their tournament (which we believe this year is the inaugural year) from local fans in the New Jersey/New York area as well as makes it easy for each teams' fans to plan for a trip. Just ask Kentucky fans who thought they were going to Madison Square Garden and then got knocked off by Gardner Webb or even Gardner Webb's athletic department who had no idea they'd be headed to New York and had to scramble to rearrange their schedules.
So, win or lose tonight and win or lose on Sunday night, the Aggies will be headed to the semifinals of the Legends Classic. Now, that being said, it would be very bad if the Aggies were to lose tonight and it would be even worse were they to lose Sunday night to LeMoyne-Owen. Pop quiz Aggie fans, where is LeMoyne-Owen? We'll let you know before we get to the links... you'll probably be surprised.
Back to tonight's game. UC-Davis just finished it's probationary period for jumping to Division I. They're a full fledged member of Division I basketball now and their coach Gary Stewart has high hopes for his team. He told our friends at Blue Ribbon Yearbook ''I'm about championships." While you might think Stewart is a little crazy, he's got experience. He's been an assistant coach at Washington State and UCLA and has a history of building teams from scratch.
For the Aggies to come away with a win tonight, they'll need to defend every man on the team. Stewart runs a very unconventional offense where any person on the floor could be playing the point.
Our friends at Blue Ribbon Yearbook tell us if the Aggies have a height advantage at any position, they can clear out and post the bigger man on the smaller one. Often, Stewart said, they will go to what he calls ''five out,'' with five players outside and no post presence.
''It's hard to explain, but it's just not a cookie-cutter system,'' he said. ''It's not what you're used to. It's almost like when a football team empties the backfield and goes with five receivers. That's a different concept than normal. Well, this is a different concept.
''The best visual I can give you for the initiator is, think of Phil Jackson's teams, where Ron Harper played the point. People don't think of Ron Harper as a traditional point guard. Our initiator could be a kid who might play power forward for somebody else.''
There are several matchups of interest tonight but the biggest one will be in the post. UC-Davis has a 7'2" center by the name of Michael Boone. This will be one of the few times that Martin Iti steps on the floor as the shorter guy in the post.
The Aggies will also need to contain Shane Hanson. Hanson averaged less than five points a game in his freshman year last year but had a coming out party in Davis' opener against La Verne scoring 24 points in 28 minutes on 8-12 shooting. That's some serious production.
We look for our Aggies to come out with some fire and build an early lead. The Aggies will undoubtedly want to get the taste of Monday night's defeat out of their collective mouths.
If you missed it yesterday, don't forget to check out this week's interview with Coach Mumme.
And definitely check out this week's interview with Coach Spence who had praise for his two seniors, Sherrell Neal and Anikia Jawara after their outstanding performance this past Friday against UC-Irvine.
Now before we get into the links, we promised we'd tell you where LeMoyne-Owen College was located... Are you ready? It's located in Memphis, Tennessee. LeMoyne-Owens' website says it's "a private, historically black liberal arts institution, distinguished by diverse faculty, rigorous academic programs, and success in preparing students for professional careers, leadership, and service in the local and global community." Now you know a little bit about LeMoyne-Owen.
On to today's links... Continue Reading This Post >>