Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Bulldawgs have tools of a No. 1-ranked team with state tournament officially here

Will it be an easy road to a state championship for the Las Cruces Bulldawgs boys basketball team?


But they do have the tools to be a legitimate No. 1 seed in the state playoffs.

LCHS boasts versatility and can beat the opposition a number of different ways — whether it be in a halfcourt or fullcourt game; using inside power or outside shooting; in a man-to-man defense or out of a zone; by utilzing their starters, or with their depth.

They have a certifiable Big 3 in point guard Joe Garza, power forward Mando Marshall and small forward Kai Williams.

Center Trevor Noel could start for any District 3-5A team, and post player Kamryn Dixon — a valuable piece coming off Las Cruces High’s bench — could as well.

There could be five to six teams that could challenge for the state championship in 2012.

No. 1 LCHS, No. 2 Albuquerque High, No. 3 La Cueva, No. 4 Cibola and No. 5 Eldorado all look to be in the mix.

Assuming LCHS gets past No. 16 Rio Rancho this Saturday, than they most likely will have to face No. 8 Clovis in the quarterfinals at The Pit — not an easy matchup there — and then could likely see Eldorado in the semifinals. If they continue to advance, then it will likely be a showdown with either La Cueva or Albuquerque High. This is not a sure-fire state championship here, folks.

Still, the Bulldawgs have the talent to be a legit No. 1 seed in the tourney.


Here are the matchups entering this weekend’s opening round, for girls and boys basketball:

2012 State Basketball Championship Matchups
Class A
Round 1

No. 16 Melrose at No. 1 Cliff, 3 p.m.
No. 15 Mescalero Apache at No. 2 Fort Sumner, 5 p.m.
No. 14 Des Moines at No. 3 Logan, 6 p.m.
No. 13 Escalante at No. 3 Springer, 6 p.m.
No. 12 McCurdy at No. 5 Dora, 6 p.m.
No. 11 Menaul at No. 6 Capitan, 4 p.m.
No. 10 Ramah at No. 7 To’hajiilee, 5 p.m.
No. 9 Hagerman at No. 8 Gallup Catholic
Class 2A
Round 1

No. 16 Navajo Pine at No. 1 Laguna Acoma, 4 p.m.
No. 15 Tohatchi at No. 2 Mesilla Valley Christian, 5 p.m.
No. 14 Dulce at No. 3 Mora, 6 p.m.
No. 13 Rehoboth Christian at No. 4 Tularosa, 5 p.m.
No. 12 Mesa Vista at No. 5 Pecos, 6 p.m.
No. 11 Magdalena at No. 6 Santa Fe Prep, 3 p.m.
No. 10 Dexter at No. 7 Clayton, 5 p.m.
No. 9 Texico at No. 8 Bosque Prep, 5 p.m.
Class 3A
Round 1

No. 16 Raton at No. 1 Hope Christian, 5 p.m.
No. 15 Thoreau at No. 2 St. Michael’s, 6 p.m.
No. 14 Portales at No. 3 Shiprock, 7 p.m.
No. 13 Ruidoso at No. 4 Sandia Prep, 5 p.m.
No. 12 Hot Springs at No. 5 Taos, 6 p.m.
No. 11 Socorro at No. 6 Robertson, 6 p.m.
No. 10 Wingate at No. 7 Silver, 3 p.m.
No. 9 Lovington at No. 8 Pojoaque, 6 p.m.
Class 4A
Round 1

No. 16 Los Alamos at No. 1 Goddard, 4 p.m.
No. 15 Piedra Vista at No. 2 Roswell, 3 p.m.
No. 14 Deming at No. 3 Capital, 5 p.m.
No. 13 Valencia at No. 4 St. Pius X, 7 p.m.
No. 12 Farmington at No. 5 Gallup, 7 p.m.
No. 11 Atrisco Heritage at No. 6 Grants, 6 p.m.
No. 10 Los Lunas at No. 7 Santa Teresa, 7 p.m.
No. 9 Kirtland Central at No. 8 Bernalillo, 7 p.m.
Class 5A
Round 1

No. 16 Rio Rancho at No. 1 Las Cruces, 7 p.m.
No. 15 Oñate at No. 2 Albuquerque High, 7 p.m.
No. 14 Highland at No. 3 La Cueva, 7 p.m.
No. 13 Manzano at No. 4 Cibola, 7 p.m.
No. 12 Mayfield at No. 5 Eldorado, 5:30 p.m.
No. 11 Sandia at No. 6 Hobbs, 7 p.m.
No. 10 Valley at No. 7 Volcano Vista, 7 p.m.
No. 9 West Mesa at No. 8 Clovis, 7 p.m.

Class A
Round 1

No. 16 Floyd at No. 1 Melrose, 7 p.m.
No. 15 McCurdy at No. 2 Tatum, 6 p.m.
No. 14 Alamo Navajo at No. 3 Cliff, 5:30 p.m.
No. 13 To’hajiilee at no. 4 Des Moines, 4 p.m.
No. 12 Capitan at No. 5 Dora, 6 p.m.
No. 11 Ramah at no. 6 Fort Sumner, 6 p.m.
No. 10 Coronado at No. 7 Logan, 7 p.m.
No. 9 Springer at No. 8 Mescalero Apache, 4:30 p.m.
Class 2A
Round 1

No. 16 Pecos at No. 1 Texico, 5 p.m.
No. 15 Jemez Valley at No. 2 Mora, 6 p.m.
No. 14 Tularosa at No. 3 Laguna-Acuma, 5 p.m.
No. 13 Dexter at No. 4 Navajo Prep, 7 p.m.
No. 12 Cloudcroft at No. 5 Magdalena, 6 p.m.
No. 11 Santa Rosa at No. 6 Navajo Pine, 5:30 p.m.
No. 10 Lordsburg at No. 7 Clayton, 5 p.m.
No. 9 Dulce at No. 8 Peñasco, 6:30 p.m.
Class 3A
Round 1

No. 16 Raton at No. 1 Hope Christian, 7 p.m.
No. 15 West Las Vegas at No. 2 Santa Fe Indian, 7 p.m.
No. 14 Pojoaque at No. 3 Portales, 6:30 p.m.
No. 13 Thoreau at No. 4 St. Michael’s, 7 p.m.
No. 12 Lovington at No. 5 Shiprock, 7 p.m.
No. 11 Ruidoso at No. 6 Hatch Valley, 6 p.m.
No. 10 Hot Spring at No. 7 Robertson, 6 p.m.
No. 9 Taos at No. 8 Wingate, 6 p.m.
Class 4A
Round 1

No. 16 Los Alamos at No. 1 Grants, 6 p.m.
No. 15 Deming at No. 2 Roswell, 7 p.m.
No. 14 Bernalillo at No. 3 Piedra Vista, 7 p.m.
No. 13 Del Norte at No. 4 Kirtland Central, 7 p.m.
No. 12 Miyamura at No. 5 Española Valley, 7 p.m.
No. 11 Farmington at No. 6 Gallup, 7 p.m.
No. 10 St. Pius X at No. 7 Valencia, 7 p.m.
No. 9 Santa Fe at No. 8 Artesia, 6 p.m.
Class 5A
Round 1

No. 16 Highland at No. 1 Eldorado, 5:30 p.m.
No. 15 Rio Grande at No. 2 Clovis, 7 p.m.
No. 14 Valley at No. 3 Volcano Vista, 5 p.m.
No. 13 Rio Rancho at No. 4 Mayfield, 5 p.m.
No. 12 Oñate at No. 5 Hobbs, 7 p.m.
No. 11 Cibola at No. 6 La Cueva, 7 p.m.
No. 10 Carlsbad at No. 7 Sandia, 6 p.m.
No. 9 Cleveland at No. 8 Las Cruces, 7 p.m.

Monday, February 27, 2012

With March Madness closing in, Aggies are hot once again

Every year, it happens.

Well, last year it didn't, but every year besides that.

That is, the New Mexico State Aggie men's basketball team comes on towards the end of February, and/or the beginning of March, right into WAC Tournament play.

Head coach Marvin Menzies, throughout his five-year history with the program, has made it known he wants his team playing its best ball down the stretch of the conference season.

And, while such a rallying cry can be frustrating for some fans of the team early in the year — particularly when the Aggies underperform against a rival — Menzies and NMSU deserve credit for yet another late-season charge.

The reality is that it's not a bad alternative to have your team hot right now than the other way around when it peaks too early — not saying that early-season wins against Southern Miss and UTEP, heck even Arizona, wouldn't have benefited the team in the present when talking about at-large bids into the NCAA Tournament.

Now, the Aggies have to win the WAC Tourney to qualify for such postseason accomplishments, although they are currently playing the best basketball in the conference.

No. 1-seeded Nevada has leveled off and Hawaii looks, well, horrible right now.

Utah State is having a down year, although is still a team I wouldn't want to play in a single-elimination postseason game.

Idaho is respectable, yet beatable.

Speaking of beatable, that would be Fresno State, Louisiana Tech and San Jose State.

Yes, the Aggies — winners of five straight and eight of nine games — are the hot team in all this.

We know what the turning point was — when personnel shifted, and freshman Daniel Mullings was inserted into the starting lineup at shooting guard.

When roles were defined — Hernst Laroche came on at point guard and Tyrone Watson, Wendell McKines and Hamidu Rahman have all seemed to pick up their play during the season's second half.

When the team plays defense at a high clip, which creates transition opportunities for them on the attack. Any team that has Mullings and McKines on the floor has the pieces defensively, along with Watson's lunch-pail mentality and Bandja Sy's length.

Again, perhaps a loss at Nevada this Thursday wouldn't necessarily be a bad thing for the Aggies.

For starters, it could act as a reality check, and allow them to start a new win streak with tourney time right around the corner.

As written in this space before, the Aggies play well in the role of underdog, which they would be if they met the Wolf Pack for a third time with an 0-2 head-to-head record on the season under their belt. This time for a league championship, with an appropriate amount of fear and respect for the task at hand, and the opponent in the gym, such a mentality could bode well for NMSU.

And in a three-game in three-night tournament format, the big, strong and physical Aggies would look to match up well against a Wolf Pack team with little depth to speak of outside their starting lineup.

Yes, it's just about March Madness time again.

And, yes, the Aggies are hot — again.

Follow me on Twitter @TeddyFeinberg

Friday, February 24, 2012

Aggie hoops locked in, rolling

The New Mexico State Aggies are white-hot at this point of the year.

Again, chemistry seems to be at an all-time high for this team.

Such a thing is tough to judge in a win over Northern New Mexico.

In a 115-73 win over Hawaii, it's obvious that they are really locked in — a win was expected of UH, but not in that kind of fashion.

Daniel Mullings with a triple double and it wasn't skimpy on the points — 28 points, 12 rebounds, 10 assists and five steals.

Mullings shot a high percentage from the floor, going 11 of 15.

His block off the backboard that started a fastbreak, alley-oop slam dunk to Wendell McKines? Ridiculous.

One would hope a player like Mullings would help put more fans in the seats — another disappointing crowd at the Pan Am on Thursday.

I really think the Aggies have a very good shot at beating Nevada in the WAC Tournament — just a feeling.

Again, if NMSU plays the Wolf Pack in the third game of the three-day tournament — a scenario that would happen if both teams advance to the championship game — it would seem like a good matchup for the Aggies. Both teams will be fatigued, but Nevada might rely on their legs more than a big, strong and physical NMSU team that is going to look to pound the ball inside regardless.

A few things on this…..

First off, are the Aggies peaking too early?

They still have a home game against San Jose State and road games at Nevada and Fresno State before the WAC Tourney.

I really think it could benefit the Aggies to lose to Nevada in Reno before the end of the regular season.

For starters, I think if Nevada and NMSU played 10 times, the Wolf Pack would win more than half of those games. And if they beat NMSU twice in conference play, than the percentages start shifting the Aggies way. That, and it's just hard beating a team of comparable talent three times in one season.

I also think the Aggies play better as an underdog, when there is some doubt in the minds of others about their chances.

Thinking back to their last two WAC Tournament titles, they did play the role of underdog. Think they are suited for it, not necessarily with a target on their back.

Then again, even if the Aggies beat the Wolf Pack in Reno to close the regular season — and even the series at 1-1 — it would set up for a very interesting WAC championship game.

Follow me on Twitter @TeddyFeinberg

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Rosenbach hired at Montana

Former Aggie offensive coordinator Timm Rosenbach was hired as the OC at the University of Montana.

For a story, click here.

A good marketing ploy for Aggies would be a winning football season

How can the New Mexico State Aggies make themselves more marketable in conference realignment?

Well, having a winning football season this year would help.

And, yes, this is something the Aggies are capable of doing — at least getting six wins and to a .500 record.

We've written about it before, conference's are looking for TV markets and football success. And I also believe they're looking for an overall financial commitment to athletics.

A good deal of the conference realignment activity is out of NMSU's hands, although, in the present, a winning football season in 2012 would help their cause.

Follow me on Twitter @TeddyFeinberg

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Aggie basketball playing strong down stretch of season

As the college basketball season hits its stretch drive, the New Mexico State Aggies are looking good.

For starters, the Aggies are shooting the ball better — NMSU has made 14 of 24 3-point attempts in their last two meaningful games against Utah State and Drake.

The Aggies are going to try and pound teams inside — in the paint, between the blocks — regardless, but good outside shooting balances their offense and opens things up on the interior ever-so-slightly.

Can they sustain a reasonable shooting performance from long-range? That's one question. Hernst Laroche is the team's most consistent 3-point shooter, followed by Wendell McKines. Bandja Sy remains a wild card — he's a streak shooter who's hitting at a 31 percent clip from 3-point territory this season.

But NMSU's overall performance is deeper than simply shooting the ball at a better rate from deep.

This team's improved play can be traced back to the turn of the New Year, and the departure of guard Christian Kabongo.

Yes, Kabongo was a player with some talent, but his absence and the team's uptick ever since cannot be overlooked.

Simply from a chemistry standpoint, things are better — NMSU is playing more as a team — and it starts in the Aggies backcourt.

Point guard Hernst Laroche has proven just how valuable he is, playing strong the past two months.

He needs to be on the court — either with the ball in his hands to get it to an appropriate teammate, or as a 3-point threat on the perimeter.

You know, Laroche has rarely been a point guard that takes your breath away, but he's always been a steady performer for the Aggies. If he ever went down for an extended period, the team would likely go down as well.

That, and guard Daniel Mullings' minutes have skyrocketed.

The freshman is a true difference maker on defense — the entire team's performance on that end of the floor has been solid and Mullings has to be a big reason why. He's going to make up for mistakes and create turnovers with his quickness, which can ignite the Aggie attack on the other end.

We've said it before — if Mullings develops a jump shot, than he becomes a difference maker on offense as well. For now, however, that looks like a project for this offseason, and a conversation for another time.

Alas, the question now becomes, can the Aggies go to the NCAA Tournament? Any such talk must go directly to the WAC Tournament, which it would seem the Aggies still need to win in order to make the Big Dance.

First off, yes Nevada remains WAC's best team. That does not mean the Aggies cannot beat them on the third night of a three-day tournament. Not saying the Aggies are going to have an easy road to journey in the WAC Tourney — they're not — but a finals appearance still remains a strong possibility, and a few things just might work in their favor if they were to meet Nevada on the competition's final evening.

First off, both teams will be battling fatigue, although the Wolf Pack have four beastly players, and not much after that. They also rely on the 3-point shot — remember when they went 7 of 9 from downtown during the first half of the two teams' first meeting in Las Cruces? Meanwhile, the Aggies, again, are going to try and pound teams down low first and foremost. And no matter the opponent in the WAC Tourney, NMSU is a big, physical and strong team, characteristics that should be a good fit for a winner-take-all championship game in a three-game in three-days format.

The reality with the Aggies is that on any given night, anything can happen — just two weeks ago they went scoreless in the final 5 1/2 minutes in a road loss at Idaho.

And, at the same time, they are capable of beating any team on any given night as well. That is, if they're on top of their game — shooting the ball from deep at a reasonable rate and defending well, particularly at the 3-point line.

With all that being said, the Aggies can win the WAC Tournament. They just have to continue their hot play.

Follow me on Twitter @TeddyFeinberg

Friday, February 17, 2012

Sun Belt wouldn't be a bad parking spot for Ags

Can the New Mexico State Aggies land in the Sun Belt Conference when the most recent wave of national realignment is over?

It wouldn't be a bad position for the school.

NMSU needs a conference if/when the WAC folds in football, and the two options right now are the Mountain West Conference/Conference USA merger and the Sun Belt.

And the reality is this: while the merger would be a great fit geographically for NMSU — it would put them in the same league as UNM, UTEP, Colorado State, perhaps Utah State — some of those programs would be hard for the Aggies to compete with economically. Some of them, they just don't.

The Sun Belt is more in line with where the Aggies are at the moment — similar to the new WAC, which looks to soon be the defunct WAC. And from a football standpoint, that's what the Aggies need — a conference they can build a program in. The Sun Belt isn't a bad football league — it sent three teams to bowl games last year — and I believe one the Aggies can compete in. Really, NMSU needs a couple consecutive winning seasons in football, and then maybe they can start shopping. Right now, they just aren't very marketable from a realignment standpoint.

Again, this could be the Aggies best hope at this point if they want conference affiliation — and an FBS football program — assuming the WAC is further raided.

The Sun Belt wouldn't be a bad parking spot for the Aggies. The question is, will Karl Benson have a space open for them if/when they need it?

Follow me on Twitter @TeddyFeinberg

As WAC's future becomes clouded, one wonders about the Aggies future

With former WAC commissioner Karl Benson leaving for the Sun Belt, it brings about questions regarding the New Mexico State Aggies and conference affiliation.

Benson going to the Sun Belt has long been speculated, and he said during a Thursday teleconference that he was looking to expand the league from 10 football-playing schools to 12.

Benson said he was happy with the conference's “geographic footprint,” which stretches from Florida to Texas. He said the central timezone was the “heart” of the league's geographic locations.

He also added that the conference would be willing to add FCS schools to the equation.

This leaves open the question, will NMSU land on its feet with all the program-shuffling taking place in conference realignment?

Not the Aggies olympic sports. These should be fine. Namely, it's football, and if it can stay out of harms way amidst the national realignment scene where the rich just seem to get richer.

First off, the WAC CANNOT afford any more football departures and it seems inevitable that at least a school or two could leave once again. Maybe it's Utah State or San Jose State in the Mountain West/Conference USA merger. Perhaps it's Louisiana Tech to the merger or the Sun Belt, or maybe Texas State and/or Texas San Antonio. Any such departures could very well dissolve the WAC as a football-playing league.

Could NMSU be a part of the MWC/C-USA merger? Perhaps. But it also seems that the Aggies have a lot going against them in the fight. A lack of a TV market and quality football program at the moment. Many have wondered about the Aggies overall financial commitment to athletics — namely football — and there is also the belief their regional rivals — UTEP and UNM, who are both part of the new merger — haven't lobbied for NMSU's inclusion. If true, none of these things can help the Aggies cause.

So perhaps it is off to the Sun Belt. But that also doesn't sound like a guarantee at this point. Again, Benson talked about being committed to Texas and not going further, while he's also willing to entertain FCS programs. Perhaps the Sun Belt is also raided in realignment and will be looking for football-playing members to help fill the void. At this point, it could be the Aggies best hope.

NMSU is faced with four real options right now.

• Find a conference, which I'm sure they are trying to do at the moment.

• Become a football independent, which Athletics Director McKinley Boston said the program couldn't afford financially.

• Drop to the FCS. Big Sky anyone?

• Drop football all together. You couldn't ask for a bigger black eye.

Boston said the Aggies are doing their due diligence in the face of conference realignment.

In this time, however, they can't be the ones left holding the bag.

Follow me on Twitter @TeddyFeinberg

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Teddy and Brook Show (2/16)

This edition gets a little wacky...

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Aggies, and conference realignment

Are the New Mexico State Aggies candidates to join the Mountain West/Conference USA merger?

I'm sure they are, along with every other school with a Division I football program west of the Mississippi.

But here's what conference realignment presents, and the reality facing NMSU. These leagues adding teams are looking for two things: TV markets and marketable football programs. And, at the moment, the Aggies really have neither.

There are other WAC schools that are sure to be in the running as well. Louisiana Tech, Utah State and San Jose State either have better football teams at the moment — as in this past year with both La. Tech and USU — or are located in bigger markets (San Jose State). Utah State is in Logan, Utah, although their regional rivals Utah and BYU are not in the newly-formed merger — Utah's in the Pac 12, BYU is an independent. One could even make the argument that new WAC members Texas State and Texas San Antonio are appealing choices.

The one thing the Aggies have going for them is geography — being close to UTEP and the University of New Mexico makes for easy travel in the conference and good rivalry games. But perhaps this works against them as well — NMSU hasn't been in the same league with either of their regional rivals since being members of the Border Conference, and many in the region say politics plays a factor in such divisions. Read this recent email response from former New Mexico State University President Mike Martin, now the chancellor at LSU:

“Why aren’t NMSU, UNM and UTEP in the same conference? There is no rational explanation. This has to do with ‘institutional egos’ and the illusive pursue of TV revenue. Several schools have fallaciously assumed they can move to a conference that will somehow lead to the generation of sufficient revenues to more than cover the additional cost of being in the new conference — whether the Mountain West or Conference USA or whatever. In reality beyond the four and half major football conferences (in the FBS) there is not and will not be enough money from TV and related revenue to make any real difference.”

The Mountain West and Conference USA merged 16 teams and are looking to get to 18 to 24. If the Aggies are added, it will likely be as the 23rd or 24th team, not the 17th or 18th.

And there's a good chance the WAC will get raided of at least a couple programs — the conference's future would seem to be in serious jeopardy. That, and commissioner Karl Benson remains a serious candidate to take over the same position in the Sun Belt — CBS Sports' Dennis Dodd reported on Tuesday that Benson would be named the league's new commissioner on Thursday.

If the Aggies don't find their way into the expanded merger, they better have a plan in place for if/when the WAC disintegrates further.

Connecting the dots, a return to the Sun Belt — where the Aggies were members from 2001-05 — is not out of the question.

Follow me on Twitter @TeddyFeinberg

Saturday, February 11, 2012

A big win for the Aggie men at Utah State

It was a big win on Saturday for New Mexico State at Utah State in men’s basketball.

First off, it was a split on what was a brutal road trip. I wrote in a recent blog post that a split of the road swing at Idaho and then Utah State would be considered a win.

From a psychological standpoint, it was important. NMSU has now swept Utah State this year and, while the UtAgs are down in 2012, they’re still a team that’s given New Mexico State trouble over the years, particularly in Logan.

And it puts the Aggies closer to a No. 2 seed in the WAC Tournament. Such a seeding would allow NMSU a possible shot at Nevada in the conference championship game.

Is Nevada the best team in the WAC? At this point, yes. But that doesn’t mean NMSU can’t beat them on the third night of a league tournament.

Frankly, it’s the best-case scenario the Aggies can hope for at this point in terms of advancing to the NCAA Tournament.

• NMSU hit some early 3-pointers in the game and this is a big factor, as early makes help open up the defense.

The Aggies don’t need to hit a ton of threes. They need to be timely, however, and those early ones qualified as such.

• Bandja Sy (pictured above) played a good game off the bench, scoring 13 points including three 3-pointers in the first half. NMSU also got 3-pointers in the opening half from Hernst Laroche and Remi Barry.

• Despite the tough travel schedule, NMSU didn’t look or play fatigued.

• The Aggies survived a 15-2 run to win the game on the road. They did so by countering with an 11-0 run to end the first half.

Follow me on Twitter @TeddyFeinberg

Jesse Williams hired at Ohio

Former New Mexico State defensive line coach Jesse Williams was hired at Ohio University.

Williams coached with the Aggies the past three years.

NMSU, which hosted the Bobcats last year in the season opener, travels to Ohio for a road game this season on Sept. 8.

Follow me on Twitter @TeddyFeinberg

Thursday, February 9, 2012

For Aggie basketball, a brutal road trip

College basketball road trips are always tough.

The Aggies face such challenges during conference schedule — whether it’s the San Jose State/Hawaii venture or the travel to Louisiana Tech.

And this weekend’s trip to Idaho and Utah State is brutal.

As in four hotels, in four nights, in three states, in two different time zones.

Last night the Aggies stayed in Moscow, Idaho, where they will tip off against the Vandals tonight at 8 p.m. pacific time — the women play before at 5:30.

After the game, NMSU buses back to Spokane, Wash., where they they will get some shut eye — perhaps a few hours. Figure NMSU’s game vs. Idaho ends between 10 and 10:30, then postgame activity and a two-hour bus ride back to Spokane.

An early-morning flight to Salt Lake City awaits — around 6:30 a.m. — and, upon arrival in Utah, the team will bus to Logan. They have practice scheduled for that evening.

And, while gameday is usually a time for them to sleep in, that won’t be the case here. NMSU has a 1 p.m. game Saturday against Utah State, one being televised on ESPN2.

In the past Idaho was travel partners with Boise State, which made such a venture easier. Now, it’s Idaho and Utah State, two schools not exactly located around the corner. Hopefully a charter flight was considered for this one — both Moscow and Logan have small airports nearby — and perhaps would have been the right move in this case.

When considering such travel factors, a split of this two game road trip will be considered a win.

Follow me on Twitter @TeddyFeinberg

Mike Dunbar to get job at Northern Illinois

Former Aggie offensive coordinator Mike Dunbar, who “retired” after one year with the NMSU football program two years ago, seems to be landing now at Northern Illinois. Click here.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Aggie basketball road trip — a mystery

It's a tough one to judge, because both of teams NMSU will face in men's basketball this week — Idaho and Utah State — are tough to judge.

The Vandals are coming off a big win at Nevada — certainly the Wolf Pack had a letdown performance in that game, although Idaho isn't a bad team either. They battled the Aggies earlier this season, only to lose 80-68 at the Pan American Center. This game is far from a gimme.

And then to Utah State, where USU might be down this season, but they still have Stew Morrill on their sidelines. That and Utah State should shoot the ball better than they did the first time these two teams meet — USU went 3 of 16 from 3-point territory in that first meeting, an 80-60 win for NMSU. I expect Utah State to be ready for this one and are always tough at home. With that being said, I think if the Aggies play the way they did in the first meeting, they certainly can win.

Again, I could see any type of scenario — NMSU going 2-0, 1-1, or 0-2 on this trip. With that being said, call it even and expect a split of the two games.

Follow me on Twitter @TeddyFeinberg

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Aggies vs. Louisiana Tech: what stood out

Once again, the Aggies did what they have to do to win.

That is, dominate five feet and in to the basket, their bread and butter.

When the Aggies win, they're controlling this area of the game — layups, putbacks, getting steals and going the other way.

They outscored Louisiana Tech 46-22 in the paint, 26-8 in the second half.

“That was the emphasis of the whole game,” freshman guard Daniel Mullings said of taking the ball inside. “In the second half we locked in.”

If the Aggies made one shot in the second half over the defense, I can't remember it.

In the official stat book, of the Aggies 16 made shots in the final 20 minutes of play, 13 came from inside the paint.

“We're typically going to be an inside, power-packed team,” NMSU head coach Marvin Menzies said.

It was quite the freshman matchup on Friday between NMSU's Mullings and Louisiana Tech's Raheem Appleby.

Appleby had a GREAT game, scoring 30 points on the evening.

Mullings went on an 8-0 run by himself during a critical fourth-quarter run that saw NMSU take the lead for good.

Once again, his defense is very good — he's very quick and can makeup for being out of position on the defensive end because of that quickness. He had a block and three steals on Saturday night and finished with 15 points, 14 of which came in the second half.

He went with the Aggies theme — of his eight consecutive points scored, all were at or around the hoop.

“Of course,” Mullings said when asked if he took notice of Saturday's freshman matchup. “I knew that coming in. I read the scouting report.”

If Mullings develops a jump shot, look out. He could really be something special.

The Aggies got to the line — this IS what they do.

Coming into the game the Aggies had attempted 743 free throws, which is No. 1 in the NATION. Long Island University is second with 635.

NMSU also led the nation coming into the evening with 498 made.

If they made them on Saturday night, they would have won going away. Hamidu Rahman — who did finish with 20 points — went 6 of 15 from the stripe and the team hit just 12 of 25.

If they made more than 7 of 18 against Fresno State last week, that game wouldn't have been close either. And against UTEP in El Paso — they hit their free throws there, they win.

“That's something I've got to work on. That's one of my weaknesses,” Rahman said. “But we got the W (on Saturday), so it's all right.”

“It's going to be an on-going battle with a couple guys,” Menzies said when asked about the free throws. “I'll take my chances there. If Ham goes 50 percent from the line, it's the same thing as going 50 percent from the field. At the end of the day, he gets fouled, he makes half his free throws. He got six points at the line tonight….the point is, it seems worse than it actually is. When the bigs are the ones getting the shots at the free-throw line, Chili does a very good job at the free throw line — he goes 4 for 4 — when you look at it, they go 10 for 19, which is just a tad over 50 percent….But we have to have a better level of confidence when we step to that line knowing that we can knock them down. We just have to keep shooting them.”

The game was up and down in the first half and it was a good game. Both teams looked focused, and the crowd was into it.

Louisiana Tech went 4 of 14 from 3-point territory in the first half, 8 of 26 for the game.

Every player who entered for the Aggies — eight players total — scored. Rahman had 20 while Wendell McKines and Mullings each had 15. Hernst Laroche and Chili Nephawe each had eight, while Bandja Sy and Tyrone Watson had seven apiece. Remi Barry hit a 3-pointer.

Watson had seven points, seven assists and five rebounds.

Follow me on Twitter @TeddyFeinberg

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Teddy and Brook show (2/2)

We talk Aggie recruiting, hoops and Super Bowl....

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Aggies 2012 recruiting class: a reaction

First off, the direction New Mexico State is looking to go in is clear.

The general sentiment is that the Aggies' needed to add bodies on the lines of scrimmage and they did that.

Eleven of the 24 new scholarship players are either offensive or defensive lineman.

On offense, the added personnel — O-lineman, two new tight ends and a running back (the team could bring in another runner in the coming weeks) — indicates that the Aggies are going to rely on the run more often in 2012.

Here's a quote from DeWayne Walker when asked about that:

“Having more running backs, probably more by committee, it will allow us to establish the run a bit more. Which will help protect our defense, and our starting quarterback.”

• Speaking of quarterbacks, the team brought in Andrew McDonald and I wouldn't be surprised if he competes for playing time in 2012.

McDonald comes from Santa Ana College.

• We've been saying it for weeks — the Aggie defense is going to look a lot different in 2012.

A new coordinator in David Elson.

New defensive linemen up front.

The addition of two linebackers in TraShaun Nixon (Ventura College) and Robert Wagner (Colony High School, Calif.) — Wagner is the brother of former Utah State standout Bobby Wagner. He did not follow in his brother's footsteps.

And a brand new starting defensive backfield. Walker said incoming defensive backs Cameron Fuller (cornerback, Contra Costa College) and Dele Junaid (safety, Eastern Arizona College), “will come in and compete right away from starting jobs.”

• There is a new punter on the team in Australian-born Cayle Chapman-Brown, who attended Snow College last year.

Walker said the following about the kicker position: “We're going to try and get creative at that position. We're going to look and see if we can find another kicker as well.”

• There were no New Mexico athletes in this year's signing class. The program tried to get quarterback Cole Gautche, although he followed former Aggie offensive line coach Jason Lenzmeier to the University of New Mexico instead.

• Walker said defensive tackle Augafa Vaaulu could be in trouble again academically.

“It does not look good,” the head coach said.

That's not good. What was he doing when he wasn't playing football last year?

Hopefully the Aggies don't have any more academic casualties that hurt them in 2012.

• The Aggies also announced the hiring of Romeo Bandison as their new defensive line coach.

Bandison had previously worked under Dan Hawkins at Boise State and then Colorado.

• A full list of NMSU's 2012 signees:

2012 NM State Football Signing Class
TraShaun Nixon, OLB, 6-1, 225, Oxnard, Calif. (Ventura College/Hueneme HS)
Cameron Fuller, DB, 5-11, 160, Berkeley, Calif. (Contra Costa College/Berkeley HS)
Nicholas Oliva, DE, 6-6, 252, Saugas, Calif. (College of the Canyons/Valencia HS)
Andrew McDonald, QB, 6-2, 215, Newport Beach, Calif. (Santa Ana College/Newport Harbor HS)
Alfred Sharp, OT, 6-5, 285, Cleveland Heights, Ohio (Iowa Western CC/Cleveland Heights HS)
Kalvin Cruz, DL, 6-2, 275, Littleton, Colo. (Ventura College/Columbine HS)
Kevin Laudermill, DT, 6-3, 300, Los Angeles, Calif. (West Los Angeles/Manual Arts Senior HS)
Perris Scoggins, TE, 6-4, 238, Fontana, Calif. (Mt. San Jacinto College/Summit HS)
Akeelie Mustafa, RB, 5-10, 183, Compton, Calif. (Santa Ana College/Cypress HS)
Dele Junaid, DB, 6-3, 195, Fresno, Texas (Eastern Arizona/Hightower HS) 
King Davis III, QB, 6-1, 175, Mesquite, Texas (North Mesquite HS)
Zach Jones, TE, 6-4, 245, Highlands Ranch, Colo. (Thunder Ridge HS)
Thomas Shepard, DE, 6-4, 225, Denver, Colo. (Denver South HS)
Peter Foreman, OL, 6-4, 310, Houston, Texas (St. Thomas HS)
Cayle Chapman-Brown, P, 6-5, 230, Sydney, Australia (Marist College Kogarah/Snow College)
Dada Richards, OL, 6-3, 319, Oakland, Calif. (Diablo Valley College/Pittsburg HS)
Dominique Love, DB, 6-1, 180, San Diego, Calif. (Bishop’s HS)
Isaiah Folasa, OL, 6-3, 335, Corona, Calif. (Santiago HS)
Inuka Rhaheed, OL, 6-2, 305, Ft. Pierre, Fla. (Westwood HS) 
Robert Wagner, LB, 6-2, 225, Onatrio, Calif. (Colony High School)

2012 Gray Shirt Signees
Abram Holland, DT, 6-2, 260, Rio Rancho, N.M. (V. Sue Cleveland HS)
Gary Issacson, WR, 6-0, 188, San Diego, Calif. (West Hills HS)

Awarded Scholarships after 2011 season
Mark Brown, DT, 6-0 292, West Palm Beach, Fla. (Palm Beach Gardens HS)
Mike Kaiser, LS, 6-1, 220, Carlsbad, Calif. (La Costa Canyon HS)

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