bleedCrimson.net: What were some things that you worked on in the past couple of games that are helping you prepare for the game against UNM and also for conference play?
Marvin Menzies: We just tried to get back to playing aggressive defense and rebounding with the same intensity that we had earlier in the year and trying to clean some things up offensively. We added a few set plays that we think will be good for us going into conference and so we'll get a chance to look at some of those. Just trying to get back in the gym and back on the practice floor and have a chance to play some competition here at home and get back in the confines of home and have the friendly atmosphere and get that good feeling back and get our confidence back.
bc.net: You talked about the rebounding and after the game against McNeese, offensive rebounding for them was something that you weren't particularly pleased with. What are some things that the team can do to shore up rebounding on the defensive end?
MM: You've just gotta work on it in practice, there's no shortcuts. The kids will learn what you emphasize and we've done a good job I think as a staff of making it a priority and as a result hopefully that equates to a better output when you actually play the games.
bc.net: Are you concerned at all with the assist numbers, would you like them to be a little higher or are you okay with where they are right now (12.9 APG)?
MM: As long as we're winning the stats are really just the stats. I think we can do a better job of looking to share the ball a little bit more. It's not that the guys are selfish but I think we needed to establish a little bit better offensive flow which would allow for more drive and dish and making the extra pass. A lot of times we haven't completed our fast breaks at a very high percentage which are usually that one extra pass and a score, well those were a lot of times turnovers which took away assists. Not overly concerned and not too worried about it going forward.
bc.net: When you look at the game tomorrow night against UNM, what are some things that you're looking for from your team in terms of defense? Obviously you had an outstanding performance the first time around.
MM: That game seems like it was a year ago. It's funny how fast the season flies by and so we have to approach this as a brand new game and play this one on it's merits as they stand alone. There's not really anything else that we're doing other than trying to get better and trying to improve in areas that we haven't done a great job on and then when we lace 'em up we'll see where the chips fall.
bc.net: Both teams are very good at turning their opponents over, you're turning teams over once every five possessions, they're turning teams over once every four possessions. What are some things that are going to be keys for tomorrow night for the Aggies to come avoid turnovers against UNM?
MM: Taking care of the ball is as much being in sync with your teammates and repetitions in practice and just understanding and getting more familiar with the system as the other guys get more reps. It's something that you would hope that those numbers diminish as the season goes on but we don't have a whole lot of time other than to get ready with the practices and the few games we've had. We'll make those points of emphasis and then the kids gotta go out and take care of the ball.
bc.net: From a game plan perspective do you expect to see anything different defensively? Teams have really tried to take Wendell out of the game and neutralize him, especially on the offensive glass and in the four losses that you've had teams have really been able to limit his offensive rebounding.
MM: Your better players are always going to be key factors in the opponents' scout and they obviously have done a good job against Wendell early in those losses and Wendell has done a good job of bouncing back from that and has had good output since those games. I'm not too worried about him going forward. We all know what we need to do and they've gotta stop more than just Wendell. At the end of the day we've gotta win as a team.
bc.net: For tomorrow night's game, who are one or two players that you really think might need to have a standout game, maybe play above their norm?
MM: You know, I don't really know. I think we have a lot of guys that have that ability. I don't think it's got to be any particular guy, I just think we've got to have a good team effort like we did up in Albuquerque. We just need to have a concerted energy and focus that would allow us to have positive numbers across the stat sheet.
bc.net: On Saturday you take on Arkansas-Pine Bluff, what are some things you'll be looking at in that game? It's an afternoon game, day before New Year's.
MM: We've had a few afternoon games already and we have to travel that day and so we've just got to make sure the guys are not distracted by the comings and goings of a different start time. They've got the same start as we have and so it's just a matter of relying on your experience of already doing that as well as the experience on the team and making sure that the guys are staying focused and not letting the change in routine affect their focus and concentration.
bc.net: As you head into conference play, where is the team in terms of development compared to where you hoped they would be at this point of the season?
MM: Right now I'd love to be undefeated but since we're not undefeated I just want to make sure every game that we're taking steps towards being a better team and growing from those games that we don't take those steps and learning those lessons. We've had a chance to do that since UTEP and now we're optimistic that we'll have a good effort tomorrow night.