Frustrating, disappointing, undisciplined. Those are all the adjectives being thrown around today after the Aggies' ugly 73-69 loss to I-10 rival UTEP yesterday afternoon at the Don Haskins Center in El Paso.
Are they warranted? Let's see.... Frustrating? Yes. Disappointing? Yes to a degree, it was certainly a disappointing result yesterday but there's a lot of season left, so the jury is still out. Undisciplined? That's perhaps the most stinging comment because it implies a lack of control either by a certain player over his emotions/actions or by a coach over his team's emotions/actions.
Christian Kabongo's actions on Sunday afternoon, the crotch-grabbing incident, was unwarranted. It's the kind of thing that should not ever happen. There are plenty of ways to display your emotions, we've seen just about everything from chest pounding, screaming, three-goggles, smoking gun gestures. All of those are fine (sometimes a little over the top but whatever). But crotch grabbing? Not exactly the best way to represent yourself or your team. If we learned anything from this weekend it's that not controlling your emotions on the court can lead to some disastrous results.
Last season the Aggies had six technical fouls called on players in 33 games. In just nine games this season the Aggies already have four. At this rate they're on pace for 15 technical fouls which is, well, a lot.
About the game itself. It was a bad loss. Pure and simple. UTEP is not a good team. The Miners have an RPI of 330 (there are only 335 teams in DIvision I), they were held to 35 points against Stephen F. Austin and had scored over 64 points just one other time this season (against the Aggies in Las Cruces).
We noted yesterday that this felt like a trap game, despite it being a rivalry game. The Miners laid the trap and the Aggies fell into it. UTEP jumped out to an 18-3 and went up by 18 at 24-6. Give the Aggies some credit, they battled all the way back and actually held a five-point lead in the second half. However, it really should never have gotten to the point where the Aggies were trailing by 17 points. For the second straight road game the Aggies have been blitzed to start the game.
If you combine the first 13 minutes of the Southern Miss game and the first six minutes of the UTEP game, the Aggies have been outscored 53-18, deficits of 17 points against Southern Miss and 18 points against UTEP. Yes, the Aggies have battled back to make both games tight in the second half, however, you can't keep digging yourself large double-digit deficits and expect to win games.
The Aggies have a five game homestand and a game at Cal State-Bakersfield to figure in which to get their ship righted before conference play starts. The Aggies can still get into double-digits in wins before WAC play starts.
The Aggies need to work on their free throw shooting. The Aggies were able to get to the free throw line 32 times against UTEP but converted just 17 of them. Getting to the free throw line is going to continue to be a big part of the Aggies' offense and they need to take advantage of those opportunities.
The Aggies also need to realize that more and more teams are going to focus their defensive attention on Wendell McKines and the team needs to be ready to take advantage of whatever opportunities that presents.
On to today's links...
Aggie Men's Basketball
Bill Knight of The El Paso Times recaps the Aggies' loss.
Teddy Feinberg of the Las Cruces Sun-News shares his thoughts on the team.
Jason Groves of the Las Cruces Sun-News recaps the Aggies' disappointing loss.
Jason Groves blogs more on the Aggies' loss with quotes from players and coaches.
The Sports Network recaps the Aggies' loss.
Parsing The WAC has info on an Aggie target.
Aggie Women's Basketball
The Boise State athletic website recaps the Aggies' loss.
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