The Daily Aggie :: 01/30/10

A couple of big games are on tap for tonight for the Aggie men's and women's basketball teams. Both games have big implications in the standings at least in the present. The Aggie men are in Ruston to take on Louisiana Tech. The Bulldogs are 6-1 in league play, the Aggies 5-2. A win tonight by the Aggies would move them into a tie for first place with Louisiana Tech. Whether or not it will be a three-way tie at the top with Utah State will depend on San Jose State. The Spartans visit Utah State tonight. SJSU is coming off a sweep of Louisiana Tech and New Mexico State in San Jose and earlier in the week easily dispatched of Hawai'i, avenging a one point loss on the islands.

Today's game between the Aggies and Bulldogs, much like last year's games between the two teams, features some of the best starting players in the league. This game should be a fast paced, high-scoring game. Louisiana Tech is averaging 76.7 points per game while the Aggies average 75.1 points per game in conference play.

Louisiana Tech's best player is Kyle Gibson who is averaging 21.6 points per game in conference play. However, the Bulldogs also have four other players averaging double-figures in scoring as well. Defenses cannot simply shut down Gibson and expect to win. This season the Bulldogs have been led in scoring by four different players and each of those four players can light it up. The lowest point total for a Bulldog leading scoring in a game this season has been 11, a loss at New Mexico. The next lowest point total is 16 and they won that game handily. Kyle Gibson, Jamel Guyton and Magnum Rolle are each capable of scoring 20 plus points.

While most will focus on the battle tonight between Kyle Gibson and Jahmar Young, there are other battles to watch as well. La. Tech point guard DeAndre Brown versus Aggie point guard Hernst Laroche, Jonathan Gibson versus Jamel Guyton and perhaps the most important battle will be down low as Wendell McKines and Hamidu Rahman face perhaps the best post duo in the league, Magnum Rolle and Olu Ashaolu. Rolle is averaging 15.4 points and 10.3 rebounds per game in league play while Ashaolu is averaging 10.4 points and 7.0 rebounds per game in league play. Ashaolu is nearly doubling his production from last season.

The other key to tonight's game is whose bench will contribute the most. It seems to be a constant theme this season in the WAC, the team who can find bench production in terms of points, seems to be the team that comes out with the win.

Tonight's game tips off at 7:00 p.m. MT. The game can be heard on the Aggie Sports Network and streaming audio will be available for tonight's game.

The Aggie women's basketball team hosts second place Nevada tonight in the Pan Am. The Wolf Pack sits at 5-1 in league play while the Aggies are 3-3 and tied with Louisiana Tech for third. The Aggies need a win tonight to keep pace in the league race. La. Tech hosts Idaho tonight, a game that most likely will result in a La. Tech win.

The Aggies and Wolf Pack are both averaging 68.7 points per game in league play. The key difference is that Nevada is giving up just 59.8 points per game, second in the league while the Aggies are giving up 68.7 points per game, second worst in the league.

Nevada has the best field goal percentage defense in the league, allowing teams to shoot just 34.8 percent against them. They also boast the best three point shooting defense as teams have hit just 24.2 percent of their three point attempts (24-of-99) and allow an average of just four makes per game. The Aggies are tops in the league averaging eight made threes per game.

Much like the Aggies, Nevada has several players who can lead them in scoring on any given night. They've had six different players end a game as the leading scorer. Tahnee Robinson is averaging 18.7 points per game in league games, the second best average in the league. Crystal Boyd and Jasmine Lowe are the fifth and sixth leading scorers in the league averaging 17.0 and 16.8 points per game respectively.

The other big story line for tonight's game is Madison Spence. She's currently averaging 10.3 points per game and sits at 989 career points. She needs just 11 points tonight to join the 1,000 point club. She would be the second Aggie basketball player to do so this season as Jonathan Gibson joined the club earlier this year on the men's side. She'll become just the 17th woman to score at least 1,000 points in an Aggie uniform.

Tonight's game tips off at 7:00 p.m. MT and will be televised on AggieVision with Kyle Doperalski calling the action. Streaming video and streaming audio will also be available for the game via Aggie Access (subscription required) and the game can also be heard on KSNM AM 570 in Las Cruces.

And finally, the Aggie inaugural women's basketball alumni will tip off at 2:00 p.m. MT in the Pan Am. The game will feature a two 20-minute halves with a running clock and a 10-minute halftime. The Aggies' all-time leading scorer, Anita Maxwell, will be signing autographs tonight prior to the game versus Nevada.

On to today's links...

Aggie Men's Basketball
Jason Groves of the Las Cruces Sun-News blogs an update on Troy Gillenwater. No new news but a decision is expected next week.

Jason Groves of the Las Cruces Sun-News previews tonight's game.

Ethan Conley of the Louisiana News Star examines how La. Tech has gone from worst to first in a single season.

The Louisiana Tech athletic website previews tonight's game.

Rush The Court has our weekly recap/preview of WAC action.

Aggie Women's Basketball
The Nevada athletic website previews tonight's game.

Jason Groves of the Las Cruces Sun-News previews tonight's game.

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