Sunday, November 20, 2011

Thoughts on Aggie hoops, Aggie football

A few more thoughts on NMSU's basketball win over UTEP on Saturday before talking Aggie football….

We've seen it before — the Aggies embodying their best player on the hardwood. Last year it was Troy Gillenwater. This year it's Wendell McKines, who is back after injury. And I don't believe it's a coincidence that the team seems to be playing harder for the full 40 minutes this season.

McKines had a big game on Saturday night (23 points, 13 rebounds) but it's his energy and attitude that's infectious — flying through the air, diving for loose balls. This rubs of on teammates — the Aggies have virtually the same personnel as last season but look to be working harder. Center Chili Nephawe has been playing with more emotion and edge this year. Does this have something to do with McKines' presence? Well, I certainly think it's possible.

As I wrote yesterday, NMSU played hard on defense throughout Saturday night and passed the basketball well. Did I think they played smart the whole evening? I wouldn't say that.

The Aggies seemed to keep UTEP in it early and looked for the big play late — which resulted in wasted possessions. They could have won by more than 16 points.

I think Christian Kabongo can look good one trip down court — he scored 15 points on Saturday and hit some big shots — and then bad the next — five turnovers and some mind-numbing around-the-back passes.

But really, the Aggies have a very good shot at winning the WAC this year. They have a BIG team — McKines, Nephawe, Hamidu Rahman and Tyrone Watson. One possible key to beating the Aggies this year is by breaking even with them on the boards. Good luck with that though — they're big and long and like to bang underneath. Easier said than done, that's for sure.

Hernst Laroche is a steady point guard. Bandja Sy has been shooting hot early and freshman Daniel Mullings is an interesting prospect. So while the team is not perfect, they have done some things very well and have looked impressive to this point.

As for football….

Saturday's 42-7 loss at BYU was not a good showing by this year's team.

The 249 yards was a season-low for the Aggies — this was a surprise, as NMSU has moved the ball well on just about everyone they've played to this point of the year. It was the second-straight road clunker for the Aggies — two weeks ago it was a 63-16 loss at Georgia.

From a defensive standpoint, BYU moved the ball and NMSU surrendered 10 of 14 third-down conversion attempts to the Cougars.

Key sequence: With the score tied at 7 in the second quarter, BYU drove 90 yards for a TD. NMSU went three-and-out and the Cougars regained possession and scored just before halftime. So a 7-7, competitive game became a 21-7 contest going into intermission.

NMSU will go to Louisiana Tech this Saturday for yet another TOUGH contest. The Bulldogs are in the WAC driver's seat after a 24-20 win at Nevada. They're a talented team and a win for them this weekend in their season finale will assure them of a WAC championship.

After this Saturday, the Aggies will return home the following weekend for a game against Utah State — it's one that seems winnable. If they can win one of their final two games, that would give the Aggies five wins on the season, which would be quite unbelievable — in a good way — considering where they were last year and the general expectations coming into this season.

As I end many of my posts....We shall see.

Follow me on Twitter @TeddyFeinberg


Anonymous said...

You can say that Kabongo was showboating with his behind the back passes, but what you or anyone else has not said is that he was successful, he tried 5 such passes and 4 were successful for assists(one ended up in the seats). When you are continually pushing up the floor with the ball, there will be some opportunities for behind the back passes. Timing is the key. The last one he tried with a big lead was unnecessary. The first four were beautiful. But, you have to know when to stop. Big Al

Anonymous said...

The Aggie bb team is displaying a fire that wasn't there last year. McKines could well be the spark.

That said, I wouldn't hang my hat on beating the likes of UNM or UTEP. Neither team has been particularly good this year, especially UTEP.

The Aggies have it all in front of them. If they can continue to play inspired ball, rebound and play defense like maniacs, AND not get too caught up with showboating, then the WAC championship can certainly be theirs.

Anonymous said...

I watched the Aggie-BYU game from the sidelines Saturday. The temperature at the start of the game was 30 degrees. It got really cold in the second half. That stopped both teams' passing games. While NMSU has a great running back, BYU had three that were able to out pound us on runs and short passes. Aggie players tried really hard but it was difficult to tackle and catch balls. The score will be much closer next year in Las Cruces with an Aggie win.

Anonymous said...

What's the story on Berri Remi (sp)? When is he supposed to be available?

Anonymous said...

Sure Kabongo made four passes that got to the intended target. Two behind the back passes you could make a great case that they were the right passes to make. Two passes the receiver of the passes had to wait for the ball before taking jump shots. (One in particular was on a McKines three that could have arrived a lot earlier, but was successful because McKines shot the ball quickly.) The last was just plain bad.

What is telling, is that Kabongo had 6 assists on the night against 5 turnovers. Six to 5 ratio is pretty darn mediocre.

Maybe for the good of the team, just maybe, Mr. Kabongo could concentrate on making the good/right pass and worry about making the highlight reel after the game.

And some might argue that losing a 20 point lead with seven minutes left isn't a big deal as long as the team wins, so it isn't as far as the W is concerned. However, a 20 point lead with four minutes left will get our subs in for some great game experience. In the UTEP game, we didn't get that. And that is a missed opportunity.