The Daily Aggie

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The Daily Aggie :: 03/21/15

Today the New Mexico State women's basketball team takes the court for their first NCAA Tournament game in nearly 30 years as they face top seed in the Spokane Regional, Maryland. The Terps come into the game having lost just two games (back-to-back), both in the non-conference and both early in the season. A 70-64 setback against Washington State at home and then a 92-72 no-shame-in-that-loss at perennial national championship contender Notre Dame. Since that time the Terrapins have rattled off 26 consecutive victories as they rolled through the Big Ten undefeated which was unofficially the fourth best RPI rated conference.

Maryland, as we discussed on the podcast, is the best team the Aggie women's basketball program has faced in at least 15 years. Sure, the Aggies have faced ranked teams such as Kansas (whom they defeated), very good and often-times ranked UNM teams, a very good (in recent years under Keitha Adams) UTEP program but this is Maryland. They are one of women's college basketball's bluebloods. They own a national championship and are perennial national title contenders in their own right.

So what are the Aggie women facing today when they step on the court? They are facing a team that has beaten their opponents by an average of 19 points per game (16 points per game in conference), a team that is sixth in the nation in field goal percentage (47.3 percent) and third in the country in offensive points per possession (1.085). Defensively, they're just 123rd in field goal percentage defense, however, they are 38th in three point percentage defense allowing opponents to hit just 28.5 percent of their three point attempts. The Aggies live and die from the three point arc so facing a team that give us such a stingy percentage does not bode well in a game in which the odds are already stacked against the team.

Perhaps a positive for the Aggies is that the Terrapins faced Iowa, a team that likes to shoot three pointers and does so quite well (they boast the nation's third best three point percentage), and they allowed the Hawkeyes to convert 8-of-15 attempts. Though the Hawkeyes lost, they kept it close losing 92-88.

The biggest key for the Aggies will be to go out, have fun, play loose and understand that there is absolutely no pressure on them. As Coach Trakh said in an interview with the Las Cruces Sun-News, nothing that happens today on the court diminishes what the team accomplished this season.

The Aggies play at 11:30 a.m. MDT and the game is slated to be televised on ESPN2 and can also be seen on ESPN3 and the WatchESPN app.

Tournament Links

Women's Basketball
Jason Groves of the Las Cruces Sun-News takes a look at the Aggies tough task against Maryland.

Childs Walker from the Baltimore Sun writes that the Terps are looking to avoid NCAA Tournament history and not become just the second No. 1 seed to lose to a No. 16 seed.

The Associated Press has a few notes on the College Park games.

Steve Megargee of the Associated Press looks at the history that Coach Trakh has made in leading the Aggies to the Big Dance.

Men's Basketball
Check out our photo gallery from the game in case you missed it.

Mark Rudi of the Las Cruces Sun-News recaps the Aggies' loss to Kansas in the NCAA Tournament.

The Kansas athletic website recaps the Aggies' loss.

The Kansas athletic website shares video highlights from the game.

The Kansas athletic website also shares a photo gallery from the game

Matt Tait of the Lawrence World-Journal talks about the Jayhawks' strategy against the Aggie big men.

Matt Tait also recaps the Aggies' loss.

The Lawrence World-Journal has more on Kansas' win over NMSU.

The Lawrence World-Journal shares an infograph on the game.

Tom Keegan of the Lawrence World-Journal talks about KU's point guard Frank Mason III.

The Daily Aggie :: 03/20/15

The New Mexico State men's basketball team will face the Kansas Jayhawks, the No. 2 seed in the Midwest, today at 11:15 a.m. CDT in the NCAA Tournament. For the Aggies it will be their fourth straight appearance in the NCAA Tournament as they look to break through in the win column. It will be a tough task but certainly not an impossible one.

The Aggies appeared relaxed and confident in yesterday's press conference and didn't show too many signs of being overwhelmed by the stage, as they shouldn't be coming into their fourth consecutive NCAA appearance.

The question becomes, how will that translate when the team steps out onto the court today? Kansas is relatively inexperienced in terms of key players with tournament experience, however, this Kansas team played the toughest non-confernece schedule in the country and navigated through the Big 12 to win another regular season title, arguably the toughest conference in the country (yesterday's tournament results notwithstanding). KU head coach Bill Self addressed the topic yesterday saying, "The things that we bring to the table from an intangible standpoint is that we're too young that we may not know, and sometimes that's the best way to do it, too."

So what can the Aggies do today to spring the upset? First and foremost it's important for the Aggies to get off to a good start offensively. This has been a bit of an issue for them in the past couple of tournaments. Against San Diego State last year the Aggies only had 14 points through the first 16 minutes of the game and only 20 at halftime. In the loss to Saint Louis the year prior, the Aggies only scored eight points through the first 14 minutes and had just 16 points at halftime.

If the Aggies continue that trend, they will not win this game.

Second, and this is the case with nearly all upsets in the tournament by mid-majors, the three point arc. The Aggies need to make at least six or seven three pointers in this game and they need to keep KU's three point shooters under wraps. The Aggies have done a good job this season guarding the three point arc, however, KU has four different shooters who have made at least 30 threes each and even though KU forward Perry Ellis is more of a threat down in the post, he can step out and hit the occasional three pointer having attempted 44 threes while making 17.

Finally, the Aggie need to finish plays around the basket. In the losses to Michigan State, Saint Louis and San Diego State, the Aggies missed numerous shots around the basket that they normally make. In the Saint Louis and San Diego State game, we believe those were directly attributable to the physical play inside of the Billikens and the Aztecs in combination with a fairly loose officiating whistle. The Aggies need to be able to finish through contact today because this is going to be a physical game down in the paint.

If the Aggies can manage those three keys in addition to a couple of other keys mentioned by Jason Groves, the Aggies have a strong chance to pull off an upset.

The Daily Aggie :: 03/18/15 :: NCAA Tournament Links

The New Mexico State men's team will leave El Paso at roughly 1 p.m. today to head to Omaha where their team hotel awaits.

More photos from around the team hotel can be seen here in our gallery.

Here are a few NCAA Tournament related links as both the Aggie men and women get ready for their respective opponents.

Men's Basketball
Mark Rudi of the Las Cruces Sun-News writes that the Aggies' defense will be the key on Friday against the Kansas Jayhawks.

Steve Ramirez of the Las Cruces Sun-News notes that it won't be cheap for Aggie fans to travel to see either the men's or women's team play at their respective NCAA Tournament sites.

Kansas head coach Bill Self appeared on ESPN's Mike And Mike radio show this morning. You can listen to that segment of the show here.

Matt Tait from the Lawrence World-Journal writes about KU sophomore Brannen Greene's shooting woes.

Matt Tait also pens a story on Aggie head coach Marvin Menzies and his mentors.

The Associated Press discusses Kansas' extra day of rest entering the NCAA Tournament on Friday.

Women's Basketball
Childs Walker from the Baltimore Sun discusses Maryland and their No. 1 seed in the tournament.

Jason Groves of the Las Cruces Sun-News discusses the rarity of upsets in the NCAA Tournament on the women's side.

Mark Rudi of the Las Cruces Sun-News gets thoughts from the Aggies on their matchup with top seed Maryland.  Continue Reading This Post >>

The Daily Aggie :: 03/16/15 :: A Closer Look At The Aggies' Seeding

It's been quite a while since we've filed a blog post but with the announcement of the 2015 NCAA Tournament field and the general disappointment/outcry over the Aggies' 15-seed (which happens to be the lowest the Aggies have ever been seeded), we thought it'd be a good time to take a look at the resumes of the teams that received 13, 14 and 15 seeds (or as we'll refer to it -- "Why you probably shouldn't think the Aggies got hosed by the NCAA Tournament Selection Committee")

We've felt since the conclusion of non-conference play that the Aggies were probably not getting anything better than a 15 seed and their weak non-conference resume (notice that we said resume and not schedule) and lack of quality wins was going to be the culprit.

First, to be fair, the Aggies had a schedule that was capable of netting them as high as an 11 or 12 seed had they simply won games in the non-conference and realistically, had done any one or two of the following: beaten Colorado State, Wyoming (in the tournament) or St. Mary's (RPI 72), held on against UTEP, split with UNM and not lost to Oral Roberts, they'd probably be looking at a 13 seed right now instead of staring down the beak of a Jayhawk.

Second, obviously not having Chili Nephawe or Daniel Mullings for a significant stretch of non-conference games did not help their cause either. Some might point to the injuries and wonder why the NCAA Selection committee did not give the Aggies the benefit of the doubt. The fact of the matter is that once you drop past a certain point (most likely an 8 or 9 seed) the NCAA selection committee probably doesn't even take into account what injuries/suspensions/etc. you may or may not have dealt with. The fact of the matter is that teams on the lower end of the seeding process probably don't get the scrutiny that teams at the higher end of the seeding list get, particularly ones that play in a single-bid league such as the WAC, Big Sky, Big West, Southland, etc.

So, with that being said, let's take a look at the numbers. Below is a list of the teams that garnered the 13, 14 and 15 seeds. The team names are prefaced by the NCAA's ranking on their 1-68 ranking along with their unofficial RPI (via Basketball State) in parenthesis.


51. Valparaiso (RPI 57)
11-3 vs. teams in the RPI Top 200 (7 non-conference wins)
8-2 vs. 101-200 (3-1 on the road, 1-0 neutral, 5-1 non-conference)
3-1 vs. 51-100 (0-1 on the road, 1-0 neutral, 2-0 non-conference)
0-0 vs 1-50

52. Harvard (RPI 51)
11-6 vs. teams in the RPI Top 200 (4 non-conference wins)
7-3 vs. 101-200 (4-1 on the road, 0-1 neutral, 2-2 non-conference)
4-2 vs. 51-100 (1-1 on the road, 1-0 neutral, 2-1 non-conference)
0-1 vs. 1-50

53. Eastern Washington (RPI 81)
7-7 vs. teams in the RPI Top 200 (5 non-conference wins)
6-4 vs. 101-200 (3-3 on the road, 4-1 non-conference)
1-2 vs. 51-100 (1-2 on the road, 1-2 non-conference)
0-1 vs. 1-50

54. UC Irvine (RPI 87)
8-9 vs. teams in the RPI Top 200 (4 non-conference wins)
5-4 vs. 101-200 (2-2 on the road, 1-0 neutral, 2-3 non-conference)
3-3 vs. 51-100 (0-2 on the road, 2-0 neutral, 2-1 non-conference)
0-2 vs. 1-50


55. Georgia State (RPI 67)
9-5 vs. teams in the RPI Top 200 (3 non-conference wins)
8-2 vs. 101-200 (3-2 on the road, 1-0 neutral, 2-0 non-conference)
1-1 vs. 51-100 (0-1 on the road, 1-1 non-conference)
0-3 vs. 1-50

56. Northeastern (RPI 85)
12-6 vs. teams in the RPI Top 200 (7 non-conference wins)
9-2 vs. 101-200 (3-1 on the road, 3-0 neutral, 5-0 non-conference)
3-4 vs. 51-100 (1-4 on the road, 1-0 neutral, 2-3 non-conference)
0-0 vs. 1-50

57. UAB (RPI 130)
8-10 vs. teams in the RPI Top 200 (3 non-conference wins)
5-2 vs. 101-200 (1-1 on the road, 2-0 neutral, 2-2 non-conference)
2-5 vs. 51-100 (0-2 on the road, 1-1 neutral, 1-3 non-conference)
1-3 vs. 1-50 (0-1 on the road, 0-2 neutral)

58. Albany (RPI 104)
10-5 vs. teams in the RPI Top 200 (6 non-conference wins)
8-5 vs. 101-200 (4-3 on the road, 5-4 non-conference)
1-0 vs. 51-100 (1-0 on the road, 1-0 non-conference)
0-1 vs. 1-50


59. New Mexico State (RPI 108)
3-9 vs. teams in the RPI Top 200 (3 non-conference wins)
1-3 vs. 101-200 (0-2 on the road, 1-3 non-conference)
2-3 vs. 51-100 (0-3 on the road, 2-3 non-conference)
0-3 vs. 1-50

60. Belmont (RPI 110)
7-6 vs. teams in the RPI Top 200 (5 non-conference wins)
6-3 vs. 101-200 (1-2 on the road, 2-0 neutral, 4-1 non-conference)
1-1 vs. 51-100 (0-1 on the road, 1-0 neutral, 1-0 non-conference)
0-2 vs. 1-50

61. Texas Southern (RPI 118)
2-10 vs. teams in the RPI Top 200 (2 non-conference wins)
0-3 vs. 101-200 (0-3 on the road)
1-4 vs. 51-100 (1-4 on the road, 1-4 non-conference)
1-3 vs. 1-50 (1-3 on the road, 1-3 non-conference)

62. North Dakota State (RPI 96)
5-6 vs. teams in the RPI Top 200 (3 non-conference wins)
5-3 vs. 101-200 (0-3 on the road, 2-0 neutral, 3-1 non-conference)
0-1 vs. 51-100 (0-1 neutral)
0-2 vs. 1-50

The thing you'll notice is that of the 12 teams listed here, only New Mexico State and North Dakota State do not have at least one win on the road/neutral against a team in the RPI Top 200.

Some might question why UAB received a 14-seed while the Aggies with a better record were given a 15-seed and that's a valid question, particularly with UAB's RPI at 130 and the Aggies' RPI at 108. Again, it comes down to "quality wins" or the lack thereof and specifically road wins. The Aggies were 0-5 on the road against the RPI Top 200, UAB was 4-7 vs. the RPI Top 200 on the road/neutral and also picked up a Top 50 RPI win at home. Overall, UAB was 8-10 vs. the RPI Top 200 and the Aggies were just 3-9.

The Aggies' resume also doesn't stack up to the other 14 seeds in terms of quality road wins and quality non-conference wins. Consider this quote from NCAA Tournament Selection Committee Chair Scott Barnes when addressing Colorado State's exclusion from the tournament: "Then the lack of any true road wins against teams in the top 100 was also a factor.” In the case of New Mexico State, that number is zero whereas three of the four teams on the 14-seed line have one road or neutral Top 100 win, the exception being Georgia State whose RPI is nearly 50 spots better than New Mexico State's.

While it's certainly disappointing for the Aggie fans, players and coaches, it's pretty simple when you compare the numbers to see why the Aggies were given the seed that they were given.

The game against Kansas is a daunting task but it's called March Madness for a reason. The game is played on the court and not on paper which is why no matter what the seed, there's always a chance.  Continue Reading This Post >>

The Daily Aggie :: 08/29/14

It's our first Daily Aggie post of the 2014-15 season (and hopefully we'll get back to blogging a little more frequently). Before we begin, some shameless self-promotion, be sure to check out our 2014 Aggie Football Preview and 2014 Aggie Volleyball Preview. The Aggie volleyball team opens their season today when they play Missouri State from the Missouri Valley Conference as part of the Utah Classic in Salt Lake City. The Aggies will continue play tomorrow as well when they take on Montana State and Utah.

The Aggie football team opened up the 2014 season last night with a 28-10 victory over Cal Poly. Here are a few thoughts on the team's debut. Number one, the Aggie defense was much improved over last year's disaster. There were far fewer missed tackles and missed assignments, players for the most part looked in position to make a play and overall the defense looked a bit faster to the ball. The performance wasn't without its issues, the Aggies had a bit of trouble all night long with the pitch on the option play and they also gave up a couple of big quarterback runs but that's bound to happen when you're playing an option team and in particular when you're a young defense playing an option team. One thing to keep in mind about the performance last night was that the Aggies really didn't have to defend the pass at all. Cal Poly attempted just seven passes for a grand total of six yards and Cal Poly's lone attempt to get the ball down the field through the air was an absolutely awful decision. At that point in the game the Aggie defense had not shown the ability to stop the option and the Mustangs were in the midst of putting together what would have likely been at least a field goal scoring drive, if not a touchdown scoring drive. That was probably the turning point in the game because the Aggies were able to turn that turnover into a touchdown and take the lead for good. The best defensive play of the game came on third and 2 early in the fourth quarter. The Mustangs had started a drive at their own 11 and had gotten it to their 40 yard line. The Aggie defense strung the option play out to the sideline and Kawe Johnson blew up the Chris Nicholls on the pitch for a loss of three yards. The Aggies scored a touchdown on the next drive and effectively sealed the game, going up by 18 points. The Aggie defense also forced another turnover early in the second half just one play after the Aggie offense had turned it over and once again the Aggies capitalized and turned it into seven points going ahead 21-10.

On offense, it was all about freshman running back Larry Rose III. The coaches have been raving about Rose all preseason and it's easy to see why. Despite being a smaller back, Rose runs with surprising power. That combined with his shiftiness and ability to make people miss on tackles, it's clear that Rose has a bright future at New Mexico State. One small caveat again, Rose's performance comes against a lower division opponent (Cal Poly is a Football Championship Subdivision team while the Aggies are a Football Bowl Subdivision team) so it makes it a little harder to gauge how much of the performance is the competition and how much of that performance is Rose, we suspect the largely the latter. One other aside to Rose's performance, the offensive line looked good last night. The group is the Aggies' most experienced and potentially the deepest returning unit and they looked like it last night.

Tyler Rogers looked pretty good in his first game as an FBS quarterback going 18-of-27 with two touchdowns and an interception. Obviously we didn't get to see the full arsenal of Tyler Rogers and the game plan seemed to be fairly vanilla, perhaps because it was Rogers' first game. The Aggies were definitely run heavy last night. The team ran 74 plays, 47 of them were run plays (just over 64 percent). It's unlikely that we'll see that kind of disparity in the play calling the rest of the season, unless of course Rose continues to run for five yards per carry, then we could very well see a 65/35 run/pass split.

The much heralded freshman wide receivers Greg Hogan and Teldrick Morgan were largely quiet on Thursday night. Hogan caught one pass for 25 yards, Morgan caught the Aggies' one pass down the field, a 30-yard completion. We'll undoubtedly see more from these two in week two than we saw in week one.

The special teams were unspectacular, though they avoided being the disaster that we were accustomed to seeing last year. The Aggies didn't do much on punt returns returning four punts for a an average four yards per punt return. The kickoffs were equally average though the sample size was small, just two kickoff returns for an average of 13.5 yards. We doubt the coaching staff has too much issue with having just two kickoff returns. If Aggie opponents continue to average just two kickoffs per game (highly unlikely for obvious reasons) it won't matter too much what the kick returners average because the Aggies will be winning most of those games.

All-in-all the performance was a solid B-. There were certainly players that stood out, Larry Rose III, Derek Ibekwe and Rodney Butler on defense all immediately come to mind. There's still work to do offensively, Having only 118 yards passing isn't going to win the Aggies many football games this season and the passing game will have to be more of a factor, in particular the aforementioned Greg Hogan and Teldrick Morgan. Defensively, while it was an improvement over last year, the Aggies were also playing an incredibly one-dimensional team (again, just seven pass attempts by Cal Poly). The true test will come against a more balanced offense, similar to what they'll see in the upcoming game against Georgia State who rolled up 566 yards of total offense in their season opening win against Abilene Christian. The punt return game still needs to get better. Last season the Aggies' average 6.1 yards per punt return so after just one game, the Aggies are below last year's average which was below average.

It's said that the biggest improvement that a team will make is between week one and week two. We'll see what improvements the Aggies can make next week when they travel to Georgia State.

Check out the highlight video from last night's win after the jump:  Continue Reading This Post >>

The Daily Aggie :: 03/19/14

The Aggie basketball team is making their third consecutive trip to the NCAA Tournament, fourth in five years and their third trip to Spokane in the past seven years. Spokane has been the site of the Aggies' most competitive games in the tournament with the Aggies hanging tough with Kevin Durant's Texas squad in 2007 then nearly pulling off a big comeback against Michigan State in 2010.

So what must the Aggies do this year to stick around past the first day? They'll be going up against a team in San Diego State that has lost just four times this season. With such a small sample size it's a bit harder to draw solid conclusions on how to beat the Aztecs but we're still going to try.

Number one, the Aggies have to get out to a fast start, get the lead and hang onto it. In SDSU's four losses they led those games for a total of 11 minutes, nine seconds out of 160 minutes of basketball. They never led in their loss to Arizona and at Wyoming they led for just 21 seconds.

Second, piggybacking off of the need for a fast start, if the Aggies don't jump out to a lead, they can't get too far behind. You're not going to get many big runs against SDSU and the Aztecs play very well with the lead. The largest lead they've lost all season is eight points at Utah State back in late January.

If the Aggies are able to hang around, they need to have the lead with five minutes remaining in the game. SDSU is just 1-4 on the year when they've trailed with five minutes left to play, however, they are 26-0 when they lead with five minutes remaining and have won their past 118 games when leading with five minutes left to play.

Finally, this may sound simple but the Aggies need to be able to score. Of San Diego State's 29 wins, the Aztecs have scored between 60 and 79 points in 22 of them and they've held their opponents under 60 points in 18 of their 33 games, over half of their contests, and another 13 games where the opponent has scored between 60 and 69 points. While the Aggies are coming in averaging 77 points per game, it's highly unlikely that the Aggies will be able to hit that average based off of what San Diego State has done to their opponents this season. However, if they do hit their average, they have an outstanding chance of winning. Historically the Aztecs have a losing record under Steve Fisher when their opponents score more than 70 points, though they've had two opponents score over 70 points this season and have won both games.

San Diego State has held an opponent to their season low score 13 times this year and the list includes Arizona, Kansas, Creighton, Washington, and UNM.

Obviously there are other things that the Aggies must do tomorrow night including not turning the ball over and hitting free throws but those four keys we just listed, start fast and build a lead, hang around and don't get too far behind, lead with five minutes to go and score more than 70 points are four keys to beating the Aztecs.  Continue Reading This Post >>

The Daily Aggie :: 03/18/14

Here are a few links to read in preparation for the Aggies' NCAA Tournament game on Thursday against San Diego State:

Jason Groves, Las Cruces Sun-News: 2014 NCAA TOURNAMENT: New Mexico State, San Diego State each looking for next step

Jason Groves, Las Cruces Sun-News: New Mexico State guard Ross-Miller will not play in NCAAs

Bernie Wilson, 7-5 Aggies centre Bhullar stands in SDSU’s way

Mark Ziegler, San Diego Union Tribune: Bhullar goes from novelty to hoops force

Terence Chin, The Daily Aztec: Aztecs end remarkable regular season, begin postseason against New Mexico State

Jeremy Mauss, Mountain West Connection, Campus Insiders breaks down San Diego State (video)

The Daily Aggie :: 01/17/14

Yesterday we wrote about the Aggies' two separate win streaks of seven games this season and on this week's episode of the podcast we discussed at length with our co-host Teddy Feinberg from the Las Cruces Sun-News the probability of the team going undefeated in conference play. With the team playing in arguably one of the weaker leagues in the country (ranked around 22nd in overall RPI) and given the way the team had played in their first three conference games, winning by an average of 18.3 points per game (two of which came against the teams picked to finish second and third in the preseason), it stood to reason that the Aggies would continue to ride roughshod over the rest of the WAC.

Instead, that train derailed last night just four games into conference play. The Aggies lost to Chicago State, a team that until joining the WAC this year was a member of the Great West Conference, a conference that was without an automatic qualifying bid, a conference that last year was won with a 6-2 record by the New Jersey Institute of Technology. Chicago State has been, at least over the last 14 years, one of the bottom-feeders in Division I. Prior to this season they had records of 6-26, 4-26 and 11-22 and since 2001 have had just one winning season (their season win totals are between two and 12 wins).

So what does the loss to Chicago State really mean for the Aggies? In the grand scheme of things, probably not a great deal. The Aggies will probably still win the WAC regular season and they'll be the prohibitive favorite to once again win the WAC tournament and make the NCAA Tournament for a fourth time in five seasons. Certainly the loss will hurt the Aggies' RPI which in turn will hurt the Aggies' seeding come March. It probably takes anything higher than a 13-seed off the table.

Historically speaking it also robs the Aggies of a chance to do something that just one other team in New Mexico State men's basketball history has ever done and that is to go undefeated in conference play. It's been nearly 80 years since that occurred (the 1937-38 team is the only one to have done so). It also ends the Aggies' chance at setting the school record for consecutive victories (21) which was also set by the 1937-38 team.

It also knocks the Aggies out of the potential spotlight. Think of all the national media mentions the Aggies would have gotten had they gone on a long win streak and in late February and early March been mentioned as one of the teams with the longest win streaks in the country. They now fade back into the media oblivion that has accompanies the new WAC.

Obviously none of that matters once you step on the court and the ball is tossed up in the air for the jump ball. What does matter however is that the Aggies lost something intangible last night. They lost their air of invincibility that they had quickly built courtesy of their three dominant victories to open WAC play. Had the Aggies been able to make it through the first half of the WAC season unscathed and had they continued to beat opponents by double-digit margins, there would have been some serious seeds of doubt planted in the minds of the rest of the conference of whether or not the Aggies could be beaten. That's a great asset to have. You have to look no further than what Tiger Woods did to opponents for over a decade. When he stepped between the ropes for a tournament, everybody in the field knew they were playing for second. Whether or not the result bore that out didn't matter. There was in intimidation factor there that was not only tangible but it was backed by statistics.

One final thought. We saw a tweet last night after the loss saying that nobody goes unbeaten in conference play and that the Aggies will be fine. We certainly agree with the latter portion of that statement. The Aggies will be fine and we still believe they'll win both the regular season and the conference tournament. However, the notion that nobody goes unbeaten in conference play couldn't be further from the truth. Over the past eleven seasons there have been 21 teams that have gone undefeated in regular season conference play and just one season, 2011-12, did no team go unbeaten in conference play.

2001-02: Kansas
2002-03: Kentucky, Weber State, Penn
2003-04: Saint Joseph's, Gonzaga
2004-05: Pacific
2005-06: George Washington, Gonzaga, Bucknell
2006-07: Memphis, Winthrop
2007-08: Davidson, Memphis, Cornell
2008-09: Memphis, Gonzaga
2009-10: Butler
2010-11: Kentucky
2012-13: Gonzaga, Memphis

As you can see it's a good mix of great teams in great leagues (Kansas in the Big XII, Kentucky in the SEC) to good teams in bad leagues (Pacific in the Big West, GW, Bucknell, Winthrop). If you look closely at the list you'll notice a couple of names that appear multiple times -- Gonzaga and Memphis. These are two examples of teams who had significant talent advantages in their leagues, much like the Aggies have in the WAC which is why so many felt like the Aggies could run the table in conference this year.

So while we briefly mourn the loss of the chance to make history we continue to look ahead to the Aggies completing their ultimate goal which is to win the conference tournament, make a return trip to the NCAA Tournament and hopefully stay a while.

The Daily Aggie :: 01/16/14

It's been a while since we've filed a blog post so we're dusting off the keyboard today to talk about the Aggie men's basketball team. The Aggies are in Chicago tonight to face Chicago State, a team that surprisingly enough is tied with Utah Valley for second place in the WAC at 2-0. The Aggies are riding a seven game win streak and thus far through three games have been unchallenged. All three games have seen the Aggies jump out to first half leads as large as 14, 22 and 20 points respectively.

The general consensus is that the Aggies can and probably will run the table in conference play. It's something that has only happened once in New Mexico State men's basketball history, the 1937-38 season in the Border conference when the Aggies went 18-0. That year they also recorded the longest winning streak in program history at 21 games. Should the Aggies run the table in the regular season they would enter the WAC Tournament with a 20-game winning streak and would of course break the record during the WAC Tournament.

With the WAC not being what it used to be in terms of the strength of the conference, the Aggies must win the conference tournament in order to make the NCAA Tournament and in reality, they probably need to run the table in the regular season to assure themselves of a decent seed (a 12 or 13). Given the fact that of the remaining eight WAC teams not one of them has an RPI inside of 150. Right now the Aggies don't have any "bad" losses (their season-opening loss to Western Michigan has been helped by the fact that WMU's RPI has risen to 131 in the latest official RPI) but any loss to any WAC team will likely be deemed a "bad" loss by the selection committee. But we are still two months away from Selection Sunday so let's get back to the Aggies' current situation.

As we mentioned earlier, the Aggies are on a seven game winning streak, their second such win streak this season. This got us wondering. How many times have the Aggies had two separate lengthy win streaks in the same season? We dug through the record books and it turns out that this is just the sixth time in the program's history that they've sported two separate win streaks of at least seven games during the same season. Here's the list (starting with the most recent):

  • 2013-14 (7, 7*)
  • 1998-99 (8, 7)
  • 1992-93 (8, 7)
  • 1990-91 (7, 7)
  • 1969-70 (8, 9, 9)
  • 1936-37 (9, 8)
  • *denotes active streak

    So there you have it, this team has already done something that only five others have done. The other common thread among those teams, all but one of them ('36-'37) made the NCAA Tournament and of course the 69-70 team reached the Final Four.

    Tonight's game is scheduled for a 6:00 p.m. (MT) tip-off and can be heard on the Aggie Sports Network and there will be a live video stream courtesy of Chicago State and that can be found here:  Continue Reading This Post >>

    The Daily Aggie :: 12/11/13 :: Arizona Preview

    When the New Mexico State men’s basketball team takes on top ranked Arizona today it will be just the third time in program history that the Aggies have faced off against a No. 1 ranked team. The Aggies’ three previous meetings came in the 1968-69 season when the Aggies lost to eventual NCAA Champion UCLA in the NCAA Tournament and then during the 1990-91 season when the Aggies faced off twice with No. 1 UNLV, both losses.

    “When we scheduled the game we had no idea they’d be number one in the country,” said head coach Marvin Menzies. “We knew they’d be ranked and we knew they’d be in upper echelon for sure but it’s really fortunate for us because of the extra notoriety and PR that you get [playing the No. 1 team].”

    In addition to the rare opportunity the Aggies have in front of them in playing the top ranked team in the country, they’re also looking to notch a signature victory in non-conference play and also and perhaps just as importantly, end a three-game losing streak that was most recently added to after a loss on the road at Gonzaga, albeit one that saw them compete well, particularly in the first half. Menzies is hopeful that the positive showing against the Zags will carry over into this showdown. “I think the guys have a little bit more belief and swagger in playing a certain way,” said Menzies. “You get more and more respect and trust as [as a player] when you see the evidence after the games of what the coaches are telling you. If anything it’s evident that they’re following more intently.”  Continue Reading This Post >>