The Aggie women's basketball team is back in action tonight as they host Hawai'i. The Aggies defeated the Wahine 74-58 to open conference play. That's how screwed up the WAC schedules are, the Aggies have completed their series against Louisiana Tech, playing back-to-back games last week and yet they go almost six weeks between meetings with Hawai'i and San Jose State, but we digress. The Aggies' victory against Hawai'i earlier this season was one of the most complete efforts the Aggies have had this season. They completely shut down UH senior guard Megan Tinnin (a native of Albuquerque) holding her to nine points (more importantly, zero three pointers) and kept her in foul trouble all night. The Aggies' Big Four, Spence, Wampler, Lowe and Corbett did what Coach Spence has said they need to do, they scored 17, 16, 14 and 13 points with Wampler dominating the post with the 17 points and six rebounds.
The recipe for success will be the same tonight. First, the Aggies need to play with the same energy level that they played with on Saturday night against Louisiana Tech. If they do that, they should win this game. The Aggies also need the Big Four to produce. If they do, they should win this game. They also need to keep Hawai'i freshman Kamilah Jackson in check on the boards. It should be an interesting battle between Jackson and Aggie freshman Jasmine Rutledge. The two freshmen are two of the league's best rebounders so that battle should be fun to watch.
Tonight's game is scheduled for a 7:00 p.m. (MT) tip off can can be seen on AggieVision with Kyle Doperalski calling the action. If you're away from a television set you can hear the game on KSNM AM 570 in Las Cruces. Streaming audio and video area also available for tonight's game via Aggie Access (subscription required).
The Aggie men's basketball team is taking a break from conference play this week but the win they got against Louisiana Tech on Saturday afternoon (sans Troy Gillenwater) just keeps getting better. Last night the Aggies got some help from Hawai'i who knocked off the Wolf Pack in overtime, 73-71. That gives the Aggies a one game advantage in the loss column over the Wolf Pack and the Aggies are two games clear of Boise State and Idaho after the Broncos swept the regular season series over Idaho.
Now, here's the dilemma for head coach Marvin Menzies as posed by Jason Groves of the Las Cruces Sun-News on his blog yesterday. Do you sit Gillenwater on Saturday when Northern Colorado comes to town for the ESPNU Bracketbusters game? Our answer? Yes. Absolutely. Do not risk Troy re-injuring that ankle if his ankle isn't 100 percent healthy. The Aggies need him for the stretch run. With four conference games left, the Aggies still have a shot at securing second place in the league standings. However, four losses are also not out of the question and here's why.
The Aggies' next two conference games are on the road at Hawai'i and at San Jose. The Aggies have historically (in the WAC) struggled in both venues. The Aggies have had close games with both teams, in fact, the Aggies have gone in with better teams than this one and struggled against worse teams than UH and SJSU currently field (hopefully that makes sense).
Here's the breakdown:
03/2/06 61-56 L
02/12/07 71-68 W
01/13/08 94-71 L
03/7/09 70-59 W
01/21/10 71-69 W
At San Jose State
01/28/06 81-75 W-OT
01/27/07 85-78 W
02/2/08 83-81 W
01/5/09 75-73 W
01/23/10 93-84 L
As you can see, the Aggies' largest margin of victory in those ten road games in 11 against a bad Hawai'i team in 2009. That UH team finished eighth in the WAC that season and was relegated to the 8/9 play-in game and lost to an even worse Fresno State team.
Last season, against an even worse Warrior team, with an NCAA-bound team the Aggies needed a buzzer-beating jumper from Jahmar Young to beat Hawai'i. A team that nearly beat Michigan State, a Final Four team, needed a buzzer beater to beat one of the worst teams in Division I college basketball.
Against San Jose State, the outcomes have been more favorable but the final margins have been much closer. The largest margin of victory at SJSU during WAC play has been seven points. The Aggies needed a buzzer beater from Jonathan Gibson in 2008 and a pair of last second free throws from Hamidu Rahman in 2009 and the Aggies were run over last year after a pretty physical battle against Hawai'i two nights earlier.
So, the answer is yes. If Troy is not 100 percent, you sit him against Northern Colorado (especially if Hawai'i plays the Aggies as physically as they did last year in Honolulu, that was more like a football game). The game on Saturday doesn't mean anything in terms of the "big picture" (i.e. NCAA tournament seeding as the Aggies would probably be no better than a 14-seed right now or WAC tournament seeding) other than keeping the Aggies' record in Bracketbusters games spotless. The important games are the final four WAC games. A 3-1 or better record should give the Aggies second place and barring disaster (i.e. an 0-4 stretch) they should finish in the top four.
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