The Daily Aggie :: 01/14/12

It's game day for the men's and women's basketball teams as they both host Idaho. The Aggie women play at 3:00 p.m. (MT) while the men tip off at 7:00 p.m. (MT).

The Aggie women are in search of their first conference victory and this game will be one of the best opportunities of the season. Idaho comes into the game with a 5-12 overall record and are 0-1 in WAC play after losing 66-54 at Louisiana Tech. On the season the Vandals are averaging just 59.5 points per game while giving up 66.5 points per game. The Vandals are also winless on the road this season.

Idaho has been a team that the Aggies, for whatever reason, have struggled with since joining the WAC (the same can be said for the men's game tonight). Idaho has won the last seven meetings between the two teams.

Sophomore wing Alyssa Charlston leads the way for Idaho averaging 13.5 points and 7.5 rebounds per game. She's shooting 45.9 percent from the field and is Idaho's best percentage three point shooter. Freshman guard Stacey Barr is Idaho's volume three point shooter but as averaging just 28.6 percent on the season (32-of-112).

Idaho is a poor free throw shooting team, averaging just 64.9 percent on the season which could be a big deal if the game comes down to free throw shooting, although, the Aggies have struggled in their past few games hitting free throws in crunch time.

For the Aggies, they need to play two good halves of basketball. They've had some first half success lately but haven't been able to close the deal in the second half. This will be one of the Aggies' better chances to win in conference play and they need to make the most of it.

Today's game can be heard on KSNM AM 570 in Las Cruces.

The Aggie men will host the Vandal men tonight at 7:00 p.m. as the Aggies try to ride the momentum from the Utah State victory on Thursday night. Much like earlier in the season and much like we discussed with the football team last season, a big win needs to be followed up by another big win. Suffice it to say that the win over Utah State will mean nothing if the Aggies lose tonight to Idaho.

The Vandal men come in with a 9-8 overall record and is 2-1 in league play but don't be fooled by their just above .500 record. This is a very good basketball team that is literally a few seconds (and a mere seven points) from being 12-5 just like the Aggies.

Idaho has a pair of big men in Kyle Barone and Djim Bandoumel who as we noted yesterday have combined for 58 blocks this season, just one fewer than the entire New Mexico State team. The Vandals also went into WAC play with the best field goal percentage as well as the best field goal percentage defense. Those two alone should tell you that this is a good team.

The one area that Idaho had struggled in is (prior to conference play) was free throw shooting at just 67 percent per game, however, the Vandals are shooting 84 percent at the line in conference play which is tops in the league.

Idaho moves the ball well and their offensive system is much like Utah State's since head coach Don Verlin was an assistant on Morrill's staff for several years. It will be interesting to see if the Aggies come out in zone tonight against the Vandals since it worked so well against Utah State. Our guess would be that they may test it but it won't last long because Idaho is a much better shooting team than Utah State. Idaho's top three players, Kyle Barone, Stephen Meredith and Deremy Geiger are 56.1, 47.8 and 46.5 percent shooters from the field respectively.

The Vandals are also one of the best three point shooting teams in the country (7th) and the best in the WAC at 41.3 percent. The Aggies will need to do as good a job contesting three point shots tonight as they did on Thursday night against Utah State.

It will also be interesting to see if the Aggies will have as big an advantage in the paint as they did against USU. Our guess again would be no since the Idaho bigs are a little more athletic and skilled than the USU bigs.

Tonight's game is scheduled for a 7:00 p.m. tipoff an can be seen on AggieVision, ESPN3 and ESPN Full Court. Radio coverage will also be available via the Aggie Sports Network and legendary broadcaster Jack Nixon will be calling his 1,000th Aggie basketball game tonight.

On to today's links...

Aggie Men's Basketball
Teddy Feinberg of the Las Cruces Sun-News talks about Jack Nixon's accomplishments.

The NM State athletic website previews today's game.

The Idaho athletic website previews today's game.

Aggie Women's Basketball
The NM State athletic website previews this afternoon's game.

The Idaho athletic website previews today's game.

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