Sunday, March 16, 2008

Grading Menzies

Colleague Lucas Peerman gave Marvin Menzies a C+ for the season, following the Aggies 3-OT loss to Boise State. Some people supported the grade, as well as some people who just simply jumped down his throat. Here's my take.

The team got off to a bumpy start to the season. Getting swept by UTEP was lame and splitting with UNM was somewhat acceptable but the Lobos did not play well in Las Cruces and were not challenged in Albuquerque. A terrible loss against North Texas also sticks out, as NMSU was up by 20 and gave it away on their home court.

The team played very well in conference overall. I'm talking regular season here. They came away with a big win in Boise when Jahmar Young went nuts with 33 points. There only home loss came against Nevada and the Wolf Pack beat them in Reno as well. The Aggies throttled Utah State and Boise at home.

People forget about the loss at Hawaii but it was discouraging. Although a nice bounce-back win at San Jose State, a team that gave other programs fits when playing in Cali.

The conference tournament was filled with highs a lows. They did what they had to do against Idaho and the win against Nevada seemed to be the so-called hump that the team needed to clear. Losing to Boise was extremely disappointing, particularly because NMSU had beaten them twice already. It seemed like the Aggies were the better team entering the contest but take nothing away from Boise. They won and came up big.

The reality is this - the WAC was down this year. Nobody really wanted to win the conference down the stretch and certain teams just weren't as deep as in the past. Nevada, although talented, was not as good as last year. Utah State was good, but not great. Fresno took a big step back for certain. The door was open for the Aggies in this conference. They had one of the more talented teams - if not the most. I give Menzies credit for leading the team through some strong stretches in conference and also a big win over Nevada in the tournament. That was a big mental hurdle to clear. But losing to Boise was a perfect culmination to the season. The Buss said on Lucas' last post that the game was symbolic of the entire season. I couldn't agree more. Fall behind big early, take a few steps forward and a few back, start and sputter, appear to peak, get over the hump and then fall short.

Overall, I would give Menzies a B-. Walking away from the season without a postseason berth should be considered a step back by all the fans involved. This was a tournament team last year that played in a better conference last year. I give him credit for holding on to the recruits as well as bringing in Wendell McKines, who looks to be a more-than-capable player. But keeping everyone on board kept the talent pool high. I saw progress in his first year as a head coach on the D-1 level. And if they win last night, it's a different grade - a higher grade no doubt - bottom line. But they didn't. And really, they probably should have. NMSU was the more talented team, pound-for-pound.

It was a fun year, an exciting year and a disappointing year, all wrapped into one. One other thing it was was a crazy year. The team kept you on your toes. That's how I'll remember the 2008 version, of the New Mexico State Aggies.


Infamous Chuck said...

First off thanks to all the seniors, for doing their part to rebuild the tradition that NMSU Basketball has enjoyed over the years. I agree with your grade for Coach Menzies. I think it's hard for many to admit, when expectations were so high because of how talented this team was. Especially given the heartbreaking loss.

What has me puzzled right now is how we got left out of the post season. Obviously the WAC was a one team bid in the NCAA, but how does the Sun Belt get two teams?

Furthermore, how was the WAC only a one team bid in the NIT, come on. This new CBI is just confusing to me. Reports on KVIA 7 said that NMSU didn't have regular season attendance numbers to warrant a game at the Pan Am, meanwhile KTSM 9, reported that "utep a.d. Bob Stull guaranteed the CBI a required $60,000 to host a game." So is that on top of the attendance numbers? Either way can Aggie fans justify spending that much money to participate in a new tournament?

Not to down play the NIT or CBI, but if people say the winner of the NIT is the 66th best team, so does that make the CBI winner the 98th best team?

Anonymous said...

The only inconsistent thing about NMSU was, it's inconsistency this season.
The WAC tourney had Aggie highs and Aggie lows.
The most talented team in the WAC is not getting post season action and the program took a major step back.

I still give Menzies a D+.
If you can't win with a talented bunch, how can you win w/o Hawk, Iti, Peete, and Passos??
I'm not saying the cupboard is bare but, next year will be a rebuilding year, right?

The fans get a C- during the season and an A+ in the WAC tourney.
If Menzies wants fans to come to the games, he's got a ton of community PR to do.

Anonymous said...

The heart break has turned into frustration.
The more I think the angrier I get. I'm still trying to figure out what happened this season!

I'm really worried about the future of the program w/ Menzo at the helm.
He inherited a gem and took the program back to the pre-Reggie days!

Enough baskeball.
I heard that Wyoming dropped us from the FB schedule and that we are now scheduled to play Nicholls state. Any truth to this and why did Wyoming drop us?

Were they afraid of us?

Infamous Chuck said...

Anon 8:40am, here's the link to Wyoming's football non conference article.

"With respect to replacing the road game at New Mexico State with a home game against North Dakota State, we had a date conflict with New Mexico State," said Burman. "We asked them to move our game in Las Cruces in 2008 to an open week on their schedule but they were unable to do that. We also worked hard to try and find New Mexico State an alternative opponent to take our place on their schedule, but were unable to secure a school that could play on the date that New Mexico State wanted to play. We appreciate New Mexico State's willingness to work with us."

Teddy said...

They're done...I'm bummed, I was looking forward to the Wyoming game.