Saturday, March 14, 2009

A good effort from the Aggies

I gotta give it up to the New Mexico State basketball team for their effort against Utah State on Friday night in the WAC Tournament semifinals.

How many people thought the Aggies were going to win? Not many, I can assure you. Really, they could have and, some would say that, they should have won.

The Aggies caught fire at the end of the first half and it seemed like everything they put up — more specifically, every 3-pointer they put up — found the bottom of the net. They were down 17-7 early and then found themselves with the lead, in what seemed like, seconds later. They were up 13 at the half!

I think most knew Utah State was going to make a run. But NMSU went toe-to-toe with the UtAgs. They didn't back down. And it went down to the final possession. Utah State was 2-0 against NMSU in the regular season and handled them both times. Some would say that its tough to beat a team three times in a season, and it is. But Utah State was better than NMSU this year. The Aggies weren't supposed to win this game. They battled hard and it was good to see.

Beating Boise was a positive and fighting Utah State was also a good sign. The team did in fact play better ball in the second half of the year and played one of its better games in its season finale.

Alas, the team went to the tournament two years ago and seemed on the up-and-up. Now, that's two straight years without the postseason. Some would say CBI is postseason. Not to me. The NCAAs is postseason. The NIT is the junior circuit. The CBI is AA ball. I've been hard on Menzies. But he came here and the team hasn't progressed, at least in my eyes. Progression would have been building on what had already been accomplished and taking it a step further. He has rebuilt the team — for some reason — and there aren't many tangible results to show for it. Playing the No. 1 seed tough in the conference semifinals is nice, but it should not be the goal when the season starts. Winning your conference and playing in the postseason should be the goal. Next year will be a big year for Aggie basketball. The "growing process" talk of this past season isn't going to fly in, what should be, a better Western Athletic Conference. I give them credit for their performance. But remember when they won the WAC two years ago? They're didn't contend for the title this year. Maybe next year they will. But maybe is far from a guarantee.

20 comments:

Anonymous said...

Very good post/column, you are right on. The attendance for NMSU mens games are bad and we are not winning under menzies. Next year will be his hot seat year. Can you please report on the rumors of at lease 3 players looking to be leaving the team.

Anonymous said...

We should fire Menzies, how can some one with 3 freshman and 3 sophomores that get significant minutes not win the WAC. I mean, you'd think that Menzies would have a national championship by now, it's already his second year and nothing to show for, only one WAC regular season championship. I mean, why is he even rebuilding, he should have just kept Tyrone Nelson, Pasos, Hawkins and Peete. What was he thinking letting those guys be seniors last year? He should have known Theus was gonna take off after his second year and started recruiting a long time ago. I can't believe we have such a looser of a coach.

Anonymous said...

Hey I got an idea Teddy. Why don't you get your sorry sack down to the gym and tell Boston you want the job! I am sure you could do a whole lot better. Speak of something you have knowledge about, like cleaning latrines!

Anonymous said...

I don't think you know what your talking about. Did you watch any of the tournament? Our freshmen, sophomores, and one junior did a great job. Maybe if there was better coverage of Aggie Basketball in the Sun News attendance would be better. I'm assuming the Alb. Journal isn't bashing Alfred because the Lobos lost a game they were supposed to win. Alfred is the UNM coach if you didn't know.

Aggie007 said...

I can feel the heat on Menzies' position. I'm sure Dr. Boston is looking for major improvement next seaso; if it isn't there, I see him sending Menzies back to his 'natural' position - Assistant Coach - and Dr. Boston giving the coaching search another try.
I'm sure if the right questions are asked, Dr. Boston will have some "read-between-the-lines" comments confirming this.
I'd also be interested in seeing what JY, Gillenwater and McKines will do, in terms of transferring or staying. I see JY going wherever Reggie lands; McKines going to St. Mary's and Gillenwater going to a major D-I team. What do you think?

Anonymous said...

Menzies needs to be let go! With all the talent he has had the last two years and he still can not take us to the big dance. Everyone in the WAC knows that our down fall is our head coach, how much does he get paid.

Anonymous said...

The Aggies had a great tournament run. If any of you saw the WAC championship game last night where Utah State demolished Nevada, Utah State is a good team. Tai Wesley and Gary Wilkinson are men playing against 19 and 20 year old kids. ESPN-2 showed a graphic last night that Gary Wilkinson at 26 years old is older than 200 current NBA players. Hey our guys gave them everything they could handle. I see a bright future for Aggie basketball. As for Mckines, Young and Gillenwater transfering, please put the talk aside. Young and Mckines will have to sit out their junior year and only play their senior year. Gillenwater would be a junior if he transfered. Pope going to Seton Hall got no hardship status so he will be a junior next year. I don't see anybody leaving. As for Theus, what college program will hire him? A mid-major team maybe but big time forget it. Theus has already proved he will use his status to get questionable players to make a run and then leave. GO AGGIES.

Anonymous said...

I agree with the Aggies not going to the CBI.

It's a bush league tournament that schools have to pay to play in. That money could be used for lots of other things, than sending the aggies to a farce of a tourney.

All our our players have a chance to go to the NCAA tournament next year. They just need to stick together, play together, and get just a tad better.

The Aggies will be one of the top teams going into WAC play next year. Mark my word.

RM said...

007 I love how you just pull info out of your backside. I talked to JY and his mother in Reno. He'll be back. I talked to Wendell's grandparents. Awesome people. They said he loves it here, plus his baby is in Las Cruces. He is here for sure.

Gillenwater is a the wild card. If he comes back, and I hope upon hope he does, we'll be scary good. I have no information about him.

Nice try trying to stir the pot. Sorry I'm letting facts get in the way.

Anonymous said...

I disagree with the last part of your post. You say that the goal in the season is to win the championsip and advance to the NCAA. It should be the goal yes, but at the same time if that goal is not achieved with the team that we have why is that bad? I dont think you picked the Aggies to win the conference so why do you critize them for that? If I dont expect someone to achieve a certain goal why am I going to hammer them and say they failed when I expected them to. Its like telling the JV basketball team in HS to go out and win the district championship for varsity. Their not ready yet no matter how talented they are and like you said experience matters. Tell me that if we had won more games during the season the outcome would have been different. It wouldnt. The WAC was a one seed conference and we got beat by the best team in the semis. Sweeping UTEP, UNM and getting more road wins wouldnt have mattered on Friday night. People need to stop critizing the team for not winning when since the beginning everyone said that they wouldnt do it. We have the talent, experience and team to do next season so lets focus on that now.

GS

Anonymous said...

I actually think MM did as well as could be expected this year. Relatively speaking, it was progression from his first year, where I think he failed miserably. Others point to all the obstacles he dealt with last year, but he had a very talented, veteran team with home court advantage in the WAC tourney. This year, we had a young HC in his "sophomore" year, coupled with a team just as young. Those of you who expected more were not being realistic. MM did a much better job this year than last, and I think that's a good sign.

Teddy, in an earlier post you talked about the WAC being weaker, and some posters challenged that opinion. I have not had time to research who was accurate, but this much I do know - the WAC had a substantial drop off from RT's last year here. If I recall correctly, the WAC had two teams in the NCAA that year. That's what made MM's first year so frustrating to me - on top of the veteran, talented team and home court advantage, the WAC was substantially weaker than the year before when RT led us to a WAC championship and into the NCAA.

But let's hope MM can build on this year. If the teams stays together, and MM continues to grow as a HC, I must admit I'm cautiously optimistic about next year. I know nothing about certain players leaving, but if key players do leave, that's a "red flag" for MM's style and my optimism will evaporate.

Next year's football season will likely be awful, as DW goes through growing pains. This means NMSU men's hoops will be even more critical to the athletics budget. So yes, MM will be under pressure next year to not only win but to captivate LC and improve PAC attendance. This means dominating at home (especially the UNM and UTEP games), and competing tough on the road. It won't be easy, but unlike the end of the 07-08 season, I'm actually looking forward to next year. Go Aggies!
-Aggie Glare

Anonymous said...

I have a bone to pick with the AD-Mr.Boston,why did you and your department go on and on talking about playing in the CBI-and then ,just like last year,pull the plug on the idea for the same lame reasons you gave LAST year-in fact,I thought that I was reading LAST year's story.IMHO, a first round matchup with UTEP would have a sure sellout.You have "diss'ed" the CBI TWO years in a row,so you better not go crawling back to them for an invitation-just stick to the NCAA's and NIT's and quit raising false hopes like you did with that lame dumme(y) football coach-or the Aggie faithful will find a way to jerk YOUR chain!!!

Aggie007 said...

Anon 10:54,
Understand that when student-athletes transfer, they do not lose a year of eligibility. If Wendell where to transfer, he would sit out next season and be a junior in 2010, but a senior academically, therefore leaving the possibility of having an easy senior season when he would be preparing for his pro bball career wherever that is ...
RM: McKines grandparents may be awesome people, but that doesn't mean he isn't going to try for a 3rd time to get into St. Mary's.
And would JY's mom say anything different, even if he were seriously considering transferring? Imagine if she did say JY was exploring his options? That would be a major strain in his relationship w Menzies should he decide to stay. So RM what FACTS are you talking about getting in the way?? Ask Teddy or Jason to get you a quote.
Now, I am not an anti-Aggie fan. I am a huge Aggie fan, but I try to be realistic and have realistic expectations. I hope all of the players stay because we will be much better, but over the years, there are always unexpected transfers.
PS. I HOPE we move Joyner or Gabriel and bring in a BIG center to give Rahman some quality competition and vice versa.
PSS. Gotta give Pistol Pete credit for standing up for himself; even if he didn't take down the Bison. He should've knocked his head off.
At least NMSU got some pub on ESPN!

Anonymous said...

Menzies gets another pass because of a young team.

All I can say is, that next year will be a make or break year for Menzies.
No more hovering around the .500% mark!
No more getting swept by either Utep or Unm!
No more excuses!

We had one of the longest home winning streaks in the nation and it dissapeared under Menzies watch.

I'm pretty fed up with the mediocrity we've seen and I want to see our team win the WAC and in the Big Dance a year from now!!

Those are the expectations now, are you up to the challenge, Marvin??

Aggietude

SM said...

Good post, Teddy. Regarding next year, I have several concerns:

1. How do we surpass the teams that finished ahead of us this year? Utah State gets basically everybody back, except for Wilkerson. Either way, the Utags will always be good because they will never be inexperienced...all their freshman and sophomores are in their early 20's having returned from prior missions. Thus, you don't have young kids straight out of high school running your team. Nevada and Boise will also be downright scary with most of their players returning. Idaho is going to continue improving with their leader, Hopson, coming back. Basically, everybody is in NMSU's position, which begs the question: how do we leapfrog these teams? My gut sense is that we don't with Menzies at the helm.

2. Where is the low post scoring and rebounding going to come from? Wendell handles more than his share, but Rahman, Gabriel and Gillenwater do not. Gillenwater is a solid offensive player, but his defense slid as the year went on and I can't identify a double digit rebounding game. Rahman and Gabriel are both projects, but they better develop quick.

3. Is our success only possible if Gibson shoots well. We could have beat the UTags if Gibson would have shot half as well in the second half as he did in the first. It seems like he can carry us to victory when he is hot, but carry us to certain defeat when not. Our success should not be entirely contingent on Gibson's production.

4. Finally, in a close game, can Menzies outcoach Morril and Fox? The answer to that is probably not. That means, either our team will have to be way better than UNR or USU, or they will win the big games. I like that Menzies seems to enjoy LC and has a positive outlook, and I also like that he enforces discipline with this team, but guys like Morril and Fox dominate him when it comes to the nuts and bolts of coaching. One can only imagine what Morril or Fox would have done with the 07-08 Aggies.

Anonymous said...

Aggie Tude what longest streak are you talking about? Reggie had a good streak going of 14 but we lost to Fresno State that year. Menzies never had a streak like that going but Reggie lost it not Menizes. Get it right

GS

Anonymous said...

007 at least RM did more work than TF ever does. And what makes you dispute his claims and be so sure those two will be leaving?

JY said he's happy here. Thats good enough for me to be considered a fact. Maybe Big Wen's grand folks were hiding something, but that doesn't mean Wen is going to leave his daughter behind to go back to the Bay Area. Your one negative dude man.

Anonymous said...

Our home winning streak disappeared under Reggie Theus versus Fresno St.

Anonymous said...

BTW-Did anyone know that our coaching legend Lou Henson is on the CollegeInsider selection committee? Maybe someone should tell our AD?...

Aggie007 said...

SM: Couldn't agree with you more. Good post.