It will be a big game this Thursday night for the Aggies when they host Nevada in WAC men's basketball.
The Aggies are 4-1 in league play this year after splitting a road trip to San Jose State and Hawaii. NMSU was down big to UH before mounting a comeback late, only to fall short 91-87. They absolutely demolished SJSU 79-63 in the game prior. The truth is that the San Jose State and Hawaii road trip is one of the toughest ones in conference play. Not a lot of fun.
Nevada is 5-0 in the WAC and has some legitimate talent on their team — point guard Deonte Burton and Duke transfer Olek Czyz at forward both stand out. They also have guard Malik Story and forward Dario Hunt in their arsenal.
But I like the Aggies in this one.
First off, they're home and should play the part of a team that knows they need the win. They'll have to split with Nevada this year if they want a shot at a WAC regular-season title, and Thursday's game is their best chance at doing that.
One would hope — again, hope — that a good crowd would show up and that the students turn out. Again, that's the hope although there's certainly no guarantees in this regard.
It's hard to call this a must win, simply because there is a lot of basketball to be played this season. But it's about as close as the Aggies can get without calling it such — a VERY important matchup and NMSU must defend its home floor. If you want to be WAC champs, this is one that would seem imperative to get and it gives the Aggies a chance to prove themselves in league play.
And I expect senior forward Wendell McKines to play well that night, returning to the Pan American Center in a big WAC game.
One thing the Aggies can't do is fall behind big like they did to Hawaii. I do think it will be a close contest. And a big one at that.
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