By Lucas Peerman
What a game! I'm sure a lot of you saw the Aggies lose a triple-overtime thriller to Boise State in Saturday's WAC Championship. Despite the disappointing result, it was a well-played college basketball game and one I
will remember for a long time.
I'd like to offer an update on my over/under numbers from yesterday, when I stated the Aggies were a much better team with Hatila Passos than with Martin Iti. Statistically, that was certainly the case on Friday against Nevada. Not so much against Boise State.
Both Passos and Iti played well and were a big part of the reason the Aggies went to triple OT with the Broncos. According to the over/under numbers, however, NMSU was -12 with Passos in the game and +7 with Iti in the lineup. The biggest reason for the Passos' negative number was a couple of big runs Boise State put together to begin the first and second halves.
Here's the over/under numbers for New Mexico State in last night's game with the first half, second half, (and end of game) listed:
Jonathan Gibson, -1, +1 (0)
Fred Peete, -12, +1 (-11)
Justin Hawkins, -9, +2 (-7)
Herb Pope, -14, 0 (-14)
Hatila Passos, -6, -6 (-12)
Jahmar Young, +1, +2 (+3)
Wendell McKines, +7, +1 (+8)
Martin Iti, -1, +8 (+7)
This is my first time keeping track of over/under numbers during a basketball game and if I've learned one thing, it's that these numbers in the context of a single game can be very misleading. There's just way too many other factors that affect a player's number.
That being said, I do believe that if these numbers were tracked over the entire year, statistical trends would emerge that show just how valuable certain players are to the team. If the Aggies host an NIT game (unlikely they'll even get it, as I explain below), I'll try to cover it and record the over/under stats for that game.
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1. I thought Boise State was the more aggressive team in the third overtime period. They took the ball to the whole. NMSU settled for the outside shot. That was the difference
2. As much as I hate to admit it, Reggie Larry outplayed Justin Hawkins. There were a few NBA scouts there at the championship game and I'm sure they would agree. Although he has his moments, I'm afraid Hawkins isn't an NBA-level talent. And I really hate to say that because I've seen him transform into a leader this year.
3. Could the Aggies miss out on an NIT bid? When reporter Jason Groves brought up that possibility to me last night, I thought he had totally lost it. But the more I research, the more I agree the Aggies probably won't get an NIT bid. Only the top 96 teams play after their conference tournaments end and the Aggies have an RPI of 124. Let's look at it another way: Each of the six power conferences get three teams (some will get four, some two, but it will average three teams). That's 18 of the 32 NIT teams, leaving 14 spots. Conference USA, Atlantic 10, Missouri Valley and Mountain West will get two teams in the NIT, which leaves six remaining spots. Any team that won its conference's regular season gets an automatic bid to the NIT if it fails to get an NCAA bid. Utah State is in this situation, and I'm guessing about four other teams will get a bid this way as well.
That leaves one open spot.Nevada (2-1 edge over NMSU, plus a 75 RPI) gets a bid before the Aggies. Hopefully I'm wrong, but I think you just saw the Aggies play their last game of the season.
Teddy just asked me what grade I would give NMSU coach Marvin Menzies on the year. I'd give him a C+. What do you guys think?