Friday, January 18, 2013

Looking back at Aggie basketball’s win over Utah State

I think it’s safe to say Thursday night’s New Mexico State 64-51 win over Utah State University was arguably — or better yet, probably — the best performance of the season for the Aggies.

It was really about their defense, which was outstanding. The Aggies got easier shots throughout the night than the UtAgs and that fact showed in the two teams' respective shooting percentages: NMSU hit 57 percent of its shots, while USU shot at a 39-percent clip. The Aggies have been a good defensive team the past two years and this season they rank fourth in the WAC in defensive scoring (63.6 points per game) and second in field-goal percentage defense (40 percent). It’s been the most consistent element of this Aggie team during the 2012-13 campaign.

The point is, if the Aggies continue playing with that type of defensive mentality the rest of the year, they’ll win their fair-share of road games and have a chance every night in this conference. And, lets not mistake the fact that it's not an impressive basketball conference. There are a handful of decent teams, but NMSU has an opportunity to make a major run here. They’ve won five-straight games and host San Jose State on Saturday night. Denver comes to town next Wednesday (certainly this doesn’t figure to be an easy game for the Aggies).

Then it’s to Texas State and Texas-San Antonio (two teams NMSU handled at the Pan American Center two weeks ago), a home contest against Idaho, another home affair against Seattle, and then a road game at San Jose State. There figures to be some wins here in the Aggies future.

The one thing we can say: The team has been winning games and it’s coincided with the continued progression of 7-foot-5 center Sim Bhullar. Defensively, he was a force on Thursday (six blocks) as nothing came easy for Utah State. While he finished with five points, he still was a factor in forcing 15 fouls on the UtAgs. Yes, he’s been really coming along, and if he keeps it going at this rate, the freshman’s future is a bright one.


It’s also worth pointing out the recent improved play of point guard K.C. Ross-Miller.

Ross-Miller scored 16 points at Idaho and followed that up by scoring 10 (4 of 6 shooting) against USU, knocking down some big shots in the process.

Lets face it: The Aggies haven’t gotten very good point guard play this year. But this also goes back to the fact the team had a solid, four-year player in Hernst Laroche at the position and many could have become accustomed — perhaps even spoiled — by his steady play.

Ross-Miller is still a young player — a sophomore — and is probably on track in terms of his progression (he played 11 games during the 2010-11 season as a freshman at New Orleans). And, yes, he has played better of late.

Follow me on Twitter @TeddyFeinberg


Anonymous said...

All good points Teddy. Yes the USU game was impressive. Actually what I enjoyed seeing were the fans. Now that reminded me of the 90's. Folks, there is NO reason why we can't maintain and improve on that fan support. Something several of us noticed was the lack of direction for the fans (cheering, etc). The Pan Am use to be known as a very rough place to play. I think the athletic dept. needs to start up a student cheering group of sorts. This organized group could learn what chants and other behavior works at the big basketball schools. Taunting, signs, hand movements, etc. These students would then lead the student sections in these movements. Obviously the rest of the fans will learn along the way. The cheerleaders don't do that. I have said it before that the athletic dept. needs to reach out to the student body to get more involved. We need to build on this. Hopefully this wasn't a one time crowd. Get out there a support your team Aggie fans!!!


Anonymous said...

umm no way will i go till menzie is gone. dont get all excited even if he wins the wac he will be seated 15 or 16 seed and lose like always 1 and done thanks but i will just stays home.

Anonymous said...

Anon 4:01
Please stay home, it will make the game a lot more enjoyable for those of us that go to the games as Aggie fans (win or lose).

Anonymous said...

good losers should hang out together at the pan am center.