First off, this is an important game for the Aggie men's basketball team.
The Aggies beat the Lobos at the Pit 62-53 earlier this season to move to 2-0. Days later they came home to blow out UTEP and a season sweep of their rivals seemed possible — at least a 3-1 record looked like a sure bet.
But the Aggies have leveled off since then — they have gone 5-4 over the past month of the season and slipped up in El Paso against UTEP. A loss to the Lobos — which would mark a 2-2 rivalry record — would be considered a letdown.
As for UNM, the team has gone 9-1 since that defeat to NMSU and stands at 10-2 on the year.
Is Wednesday's game for the WAC championship? No. But a win would show Aggie fans their team is still headed forward — the beginning of the year Marvin Menzies was talking about it being a special season and NMSU received a vote in the Top 25.
The Aggies need this one simply from maintaining the excitement and good play they generated at the beginning of the year because it's leveled off to some degree.
• It will be interesting to see how the Lobos gameplan for the Aggies.
The first meeting UNM looked pretty unimpressive — they shot 28 percent for the game and turned to ball over 21 times, a no no when facing an NMSU team that wants to get into the open floor for easy baskets.
We've said it 100 times on this blog: When facing the Aggies, teams have to make rebounding the ball a priority and play patient on offense — ball security, ball reversal, and a good shot should come during the possession.
And we've also said this a ton: If the Aggies stay focused playing defense and in rebounding the basketball, they can beat anyone on their schedule. This Aggie team plays harder than last year, they just don't always execute.
They have size and athleticism, to go with erratic 3-point shooting and ball handling. They can struggle from the free-throw line — Hamidu Rahman goes 1 for 2 every time he steps to the stripe — and need to take care of the ball themselves.
With that being said they are well-rested, relatively healthy and are at home against a good team. This is a chance for people to see where they now stand going into conference.
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