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.