Weekly Coach Menzies Interview :: 12/08/09 Your thoughts on the UTEP game last Tuesday, it was a tough night for the team.
Marvin Menzies: Typically we've been getting off to a tough start and that's not good. That was one of those games that we came out flat again and not making shots. Unfortunately we're not playing with the level of energy when we're not making buckets. When you're not making buckets you've got to step it up on the defensive end and that hasn't been the case. We've got to try to find the right combination of guys that can do that. That was a tough loss at home and probably one of the worst losses I've experienced here. Hopefully there won't be too many more of those and we can continue to get back on track going forward. The defense that UTEP played against the Aggies that night seemed to be different than the type of defenses that the Aggies have faced in the past couple seasons, it was a more physical, in-your-face defense.
MM: It was aggressive, they got into the passing lanes and did a good job of pressuring the ball and forced us to play at a speed that we weren't capable of playing at that night. We got frustrated and as a result turned the ball over. Then we had some careless turnovers as well. When you have both of those things going against you in the same night it's going to be a long night and that's what happened. Going back to the New Mexico game, turnovers were a big part of the story in that game but you have to be proud of the way your kids came back in the second half and they ended up shooting 50 percent in the half and maybe a good sign that they're coming out of their shooting slump.
MM: Yeah, you would hope so. We probably would have shot even better had we not turned it over so much. We would have had more attempts at the bucket. That was one of those games where you try to take whatever you can and build on it and make sure that you identify the areas that are weaknesses right now and just continue to work hard to get better in those areas. The fundamentals and technical aspects of footwork were things that were glaring weaknesses that evening.

The Pit had a lot to do with it, I thought our young guys didn't respond well to the crowd there but I do feel like the second half showed that the kids were not just going to lay down and they fought back and got back to within nine points with three or four minutes to play. They showed some heart so that was good. But you hate losing to your rivals, you hate losing games, at the end of the day there's no moral victories in a 17-point loss. At the under eight timeout in the second half you picked up a technical foul, how much of that was for the officiating and how much of that was for your team?
MM: I think it was probably a little bit of both at that point. You have to pick and chose your spots and strategically that was one of those times. Unfortunately it still wasn't enough to get us over the hump. Sunday you take on UTEP down in El Paso, what do you do differently in preparation for that game? I assume you'll see a lot of the same type of defensive pressure from the Miners on Sunday.
MM: We've got to get our guys to study the film on our last game and understand what they can do differently and teach them and show them on the floor the adjustments that we need to make and have our guys ready to attack their zone a lot more effectively than we did the last time. We've got to do a better job of being physical and rebounding and toughness and showing mental toughness as well. You got some good news this week that B.J. West was cleared to play by the NCAA, what is the situation with him and will he see the court this year?
MM: We haven't made any decision on whether or not he'll play yet. He's willing to get back on the floor and play and help his teammates but we'll evaluate that at the end of the week after he's had a chance to practice a few times. It's not something that we need to decide today so we're not and we're going to hold off until we get a little better feel on what the roster will look like in addition to his ability to pick things up. We haven't been able to work out or practice with him until yesterday. We're going to evaluate his conditioning and go from there. If Wendell and Troy are able to come back, how much an issue will chemistry from a court perspective, from a playing persepective?
MM: I think at this point we're so close to knowing one way or another that we're just going to defer until we have affirmation one way or another. Our issues are not all personnel driven. There's technical issues that need to be worked out and on the floor issues that need to be worked out. I don't know that any one player or two players being interjected, obviously they could be a boost but we still have other areas that we need to address as a team so that we can continue to improve. Our focus is that right now.


2-10 vs. Unm & Utep

Menzies is 2-10 vs. Unm & Utep.

Can you ask him next time if he feels this record is acceptable? Thanks.