Saturday, March 30, 2013

A look at possible non-football conferences for Aggie athletics

(Wichita State's Final Four run has highlighted the Missouri Valley Conference's 2012-13 season/Associated Press photo)

While the Aggies entered the Sun Belt this week as a football-only member in the 2014 season, they remain in the Western Athletic Conference for all other sports affiliations. With that, we take a look at possible leagues the Aggies could join, if they chose to explore the possibilities:

Missouri Valley Conference
This could be the Aggies’ top choice at the moment, as old-school NMSU hoop heads have fond memories of the MVC. League rivals such as Indiana State, Wichita State, Creighton, Southern Illinois and West Texas State brought in standout players such as Larry Bird, Antoine Carr, Cliff Levingston, Greg Dreiling and Xavier McDaniel. Highly-competitive play followed. In the present, while Creighton will be leaving the conference (to join the former Big East) The Valley remains a solid mid-major basketball conference (look no further than Wichita State, who's currently making a deep run in this year's NCAA Tournament). The issue for fellow league members would be geography: The conference is clustered in the midwest, in towns such as Carbondale, Ill., Normal, Ill., Springfield, Mo. and Terre Haute, Ind. While the Aggies could be willing to foot the bill traveling to such destinations, convincing opposing teams to fly non-football sports into El Paso would be the top challenge.

Big West Conference
Similar to the Missouri Valley, this is a league the Aggies have history with (they were longtime members of the Big West during the 1980s and 90s) and understandable sentiment. Still, it’s an agreement that seems unlikely due to travel restrictions. Outside of the University of Hawaii, the Big West consists of California-based programs located primarily in the southern part of the state. Schools such as Long Beach State, UC Irvine, UC Santa Barbara, Cal State Fullerton, Cal State Northridge and UC Riverside don't have to travel far to play league games. When the Big West added Boise State briefly last year (the Broncos never actually played within the league), BSU was asked to pay travel subsidies for visiting conference counterparts coming to town. Some things to consider when making the Aggies case.

West Coast Conference
This is a league comprised of mainly non-football members, as well as private, faith-based schools up and down the west coast. The WCC currently sits at 10 members, and adding one more wouldn't be optimal — for scheduling purposes, either stay at 10 or add two more and move to 12. Fellow WAC school, Seattle, would fit in well here. Another program, Denver, who will depart the WAC for the Summit League, could also make some sense.

Mountain West Conference
While there is appeal from a geographic standpoint for the Aggies to be included in the MWC, it just isn't happening right now. Certainly not with the Aggie football program trying to get itself off the ground, and not likely as a non-football sport affiliate. This only happens if/when NMSU picks its play up on the football field, which should be the school’s top priority moving forward.

Conference USA
This league has taken a major hit from a competitive standpoint and has essentially become what the Sun Belt used to be — C-USA will add North Texas, Middle Tennessee, Florida Atlantic and Florida International. Western Kentucky doesn't seem far behind either. In that respect, it could be a darkhorse conference for the Aggies, although some things work against them: For one, would the conference be interested in adding NMSU as a non-football member? For another, it's long believed by Aggie faithful that UTEP would be opposed to entering the same conference as their regional rival. With that, ironically, if the Miners ever defected from Conference USA, it would take away a bargaining chip NMSU has: Being convenient travel partners with their I-10 rivals. Some road blocks and hurdles that have yet to be cleared.

Summit League
Not the most appealing option. The Summit League is essentially the Western Athletic Conference's counterpart: It's added Denver from the WAC, but in turn lost Missouri-Kansas City, in what could have amounted to a trade between respective leagues. Schools such as Fort Wayne, IUPUI, Western Illinois, South Dakota State and Oakland (Mich.) don't provide the brand necessary for the Aggies to make a jump. From a stability standpoint, it's wouldn’t be considered an upgrade either.

Big Sky Conference/Southland Conference
Don't even go here. While it could work to a degree from a competitive standpoint (Big Sky) or fit geographically (Southland) these two conferences play in the Football Championship Subdivision. As long as they carry that brand, the Aggies should avoid membership, if for no other reason than it's one step closer to FCS football.

Follow me on Twitter @TeddyFeinberg

If Aggie football gets off ground, NMSU athletics can find it's conference stability

While the New Mexico State Aggies did the essential — finding their football program a 2014 Sun Belt Conference home — they now face a new question: Is the Western Athletic Conference a viable one to keep their Olympic sports and, if not, what's the best route for their non-football programs to take?

For starters, the Aggies are in a tough spot geographically, and stuck in a mid-major league that five years ago was wonderful, and now isn't.

But there's hurdles to clear when searching for a new conference home: Getting schools from the Missouri Valley Conference to travel to Las Cruces for non-football sporting events — while it would be the optimal plan at this point for Aggie athletics — could be a tough sell.

Such a statement could also be made when talking Big West Conference membership.

The Mountain West or Conference USA? We've rehashed those issues before, with one being a longshot (Mountain West) and the other as a possible darkhorse, yet no offer as of yet (C-USA).
The Sun Belt seems logical, although league commissioner Karl Benson talks often of his league's geographic borders. The point is, SBC school presidents — particularly those on the east coast — have little interest in flying their volleyball and women's basketball teams to Las Cruces at the moment.

Benson spoke indirectly on that issue during his Wednesday conference call introducing the league's newest members. In short, he spoke of Appalachian State and Georgia Southern, two full-sport additions into the Sun Belt's eastern division, far more than NMSU’s and Idaho's inclusion as football-only affiliates in the west. He discussed travel accommodations made for his eastern programs when traveling to such destinations in football, adding the league's geographic integrity wasn't compromised with the Aggies and Vandals as football-only members.

Perhaps Western Kentucky's expected move from the Sun Belt to Conference USA will change such sentiment. But in the here and now, Benson indicated the Aggies needed the Sun Belt more than the Sun Belt needed the Aggies. Don't count on that feeling shifting dramatically, at least in the immediate future.

All this means NMSU’s logical non-football home at this point could very well be the WAC by default. And while the league could be described as horrendous, it's also a conference that's maintained it's NCAA automatic qualifying bids in respective sporting fields. In other words, it’s a league that can serve a purpose, even if it’s for the short term.

Maybe it will get better in time, even if such a possibility seems a longshot.

Or maybe the Aggies can do what's best for them anyway: Pick up their level of play on the football field.

We've seen throughout conference realignment that as a football program goes, so goes its athletics department. And if the Aggies can compete for conference championships in the Sun Belt, it, ironically, can help find a stable home for their non-football sports as well.

Such progress would make the Aggies more marketable, and can help make friends in important places. It could make an all-sport transition into the Sun Belt, for example, easier simply because NMSU already has it's foot in the door.

Remember, the Aggies non-football sports aren’t bad — far from it, actually. But on the gridiron, the program still has to earn it’s respect.

The sooner that happens, the better. It will make NMSU a more attractive alternative as a whole.

Follow me on Twitter @TeddyFeinberg

Friday, March 29, 2013

PODCAST: Aggie football to the Sun Belt, Aggie hoops season recap and Marvin Menzies' future

Check out this week's podcast with Sun-News Sports Editor Teddy Feinberg and Editor Sam Wasson on New Mexico State Aggie sports. This week the duo talks Aggie football to the Sun Belt, Aggie basketball recap and NMSU head basketball coach Marvin Menzies' visit to Texas Tech. Click here to listen.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

VIDEO: Teddy and Brook Show (3/28)

Teddy and Brook Show with no Brook. I break down Aggies to the Sun Belt for football, non-football sports in the WAC, Aggie hoops and Marvin Menzies, and college and high school baseball:

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Aggies to officially announce move to Sun Belt on Thursday

New Mexico State University will hold a press conference Thursday at 5 p.m. to officially announce their move as a football-only affiliate into the Sun Belt Conference.

The Sun Belt is expected to announce Appalachian State and Georgia Southern as full-league members, as well as adding Idaho and NMSU as football-only members. Such a move will allow the Sun Belt 12 football schools — and a league championship game at season's end. In turn, the Aggies will have a football home in 2014, as the program's prepared to play an independent schedule this upcoming fall.

Continue following the Cruces Sports Blog for news, updates and analysis as NMSU's Sun Belt membership continues to unfold.

Follow me on Twitter @TeddyFeinberg

Monday, March 25, 2013

Aggies, Sun Belt expected to lock arms in football

(The following story appeared on the Sun-News website Monday evening and will be in Tuesday's print edition of the newspaper)

New Mexico State University will likely have a football-playing home in 2014, expected to be football-only members of the Sun Belt Conference.

The school is expecting a membership offer from the Sun Belt within the next 24 hours and is in the process of going through approval from the NMSU president's office and board of regents according to multiple sources, who were not identified because they were not authorized to speak publicly on the matter.

The Sun Belt is expected to name Appalachian State and Georgia Southern as its newest members on Wednesday, which will bring the conference to 10 members.

By adding New Mexico State and Idaho as football-only affiliates, it will allow the Sun Belt a two-division football format that will provide a league championship game at season's end.

The Aggies have ties to the league — they were Sun Belt members from 2001-04 before joining the Western Athletic Conference for all sports.

In turn, they have a relationship with Sun Belt Commissioner Karl Benson, who was long-time commissioner of the WAC before taking the same position with the SBC last summer.

Such a move can be considered a step in the right direction, if for no other reason than the Aggies needing a Division I conference for their football program.

While they compiled an intriguing 2013 football schedule as an independent program, such a model doesn't seem sustainable officials say. Having the Sun Belt as a conference home will provide a level of stability from a scheduling standpoint, as well as a league NMSU can compete in while trying to get its football program off the ground.

For now, the Aggies remain a Western Athletic Conference member in all non-football sports. While the league has taken a hit from a competitive standpoint, it's also added enough members to retain automatic qualifying bids into respective NCAA Tournament fields.

Follow me on Twitter @TeddyFeinberg

Looking back at a previous post on Sun Belt expansion

For those who are regular visitors to this blog, you'll probably recall posts regarding Sun Belt expansion and where NMSU could fit in with those plans (there's been a handful). Here's one from February that could very well state the Aggies case in the present day: Click here to read.

For those who want a quick refresher, it simply states a football-only invite might be the most logical course of action for NMSU and the SBC moving forward.

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Quotes from a recent Doug Martin interview

Earlier this month, a story appeared in the Sun-News regarding Aggie head football coach Doug Martin, who will also coordinate special teams at NMSU. In case you missed it, click here for the full article.

There were other tidbits from my sit-down interview with Martin that did not make our print or online edition. Martin was officially named head coach at NMSU in early February, and he’s made a good first impression on Aggie fans, followers and community members over the past weeks.

Below are some other noteworthy comments he made during the interview:

Sun-News: The school’s done more in terms of (hiring) assistant coaches: New offensive coordinator, bulking up strength and conditioning, two linebackers coaches. Did you also look at it (coaching special teams) and say, ‘there’s only so much we can do here in terms of assistant coaching salaries, this is one area we don’t have to fill?’
Martin: “That really had nothing to do with it. A big part of it was getting Gregg Brandon to come here as offensive coordinator. I feel really comfortable that I don’t have to be as involved in the offense, as a coordinator per se. It freed me up to do a lot more things. That was a big deal.
“I think that’s a big deal for us in the community too. I think the head coach here needs to do a lot of things off the field also. To get people in this community involved, people on this campus involved. It’s hard to do that when you’re the offensive coordinator, and the head coach. But you can do that in the role I’m in right now.”

Sun-News: The days of the head coach watching four hours of film per day are over.
Martin: “Unless you’re at some place that has just unbelievable resources. Alabama can do stuff like that. They’ve got unlimited resources and tradition and those types of things. But it’s hard to do at most places.”

Sun-News: The two coordinators and the head coach (at NMSU) all have head coaching experience. That’s unique here.
Martin: “I’d say that’s probably unique for most places to be honest. It’s a great advantage for us. (Offensive coordinator) Gregg Brandon has some experiences that are real valuable for us, so does (defensive coordinator) Dave Elson, I do. Us three together can really be very specific in what we want to get done on both sides of the ball. We all have experiences in recruiting that are valuable for us here. It’s helped us mold a plan and philosophy here about how we want to approach things.”

Follow me on Twitter @TeddyFeinberg

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Aggies postseason road comes to an abrupt end with loss to Saint Louis

(The Aggie bench looks on during Thursday's NCAA Tournament defeat to the Billikens/Associated Press photo)

How does one describe New Mexico State's 64-44 loss to Saint Louis in the NCAA Tournament Thursday? Well, incredibly disappointing would be one way.

The Aggies didn't show up, and were outplayed and outmatched on the day. Granted, No. 4-seeded Saint Louis is a good team. But the Aggies were also exposed for what they were: A mediocre one from a bad Western Athletic Conference.

Check that, because the Aggie defense wasn't terrible. Saint Louis, after all, was held to 64 points on the day. And it could have been worse.

But it was the NMSU offense that just looked inadequate. The team had nine first-half turnovers and just 16 points total at intermission. All season the Aggies' halfcourt offense has been poor schematically — one man dribbling, another setting a screen and three others standing around. An offense without a true, quality point guard, and based off dribbling, not movement away from the ball and ball movement itself. And, while such a system may have worked against the Seattle's and Texas-Arlington's of the world, it didn't work Thursday.

The issue against Saint Louis was NMSU needed quality possessions and, in turn, as many good shot attempts as possible. But with nine turnovers in the first half, it takes away any chance a team has on either front.

The Aggies trailed 29-16 at halftime, but got within single digits, 37-28, early in the second half. Saint Louis called timeout, and what was likely said? Well, NMSU got back into the contest by forcing turnovers, and Saint Louis must have also known if they protect the basketball on its end, the Aggies wouldn't be able to sustain their scoring success. After a Remi Barry 3-pointer shortly thereafter, to cut the deficit to six, a 22-8 Saint Louis run followed over the next seven minutes, as the Billikens took a 59-39 lead.

Going to the tournament is a good accomplishment, and the Aggies should go back again next season, with the WAC getting increasingly worse by the year. It can't hurt in exposure, or recruiting, or from an experience standpoint. Again, at least for one week, it provided an emotional lift locally. But it was also apparent on Thursday, the Aggies weren't ready for such a stage.

This is the next step for the program — winning once they get there. NMSU's best postseason performance under head coach Marvin Menzies came when they nearly upset Michigan State in 2010 — a Michigan State team that eventually wound up in the Final Four that season. In many ways, even in a loss, that was one of the program's finest, and most surprising games in recent memory. But last year they were handled by Indiana, and this year the Billikens beat them thoroughly.

Can the Aggies take it to the next level? Again, one would think they'll be back in 2014. At the very least, playing adequately would be a good place to start.

Follow me on Twitter @TeddyFeinberg

Aggies beaten by Saint Louis in NCAA Tournament

The New Mexico State men's basketball team lost in the opening round of the NCAA Tournament, 64-44 to Saint Louis.

For a game analysis, log onto the Cruces Sports Blog later this evening. For a full game recap, click here.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

With NCAA appearances three times in four years, Aggie basketball finds success

(Marvin Menzies has led New Mexico State to three NCAA Tournament appearances during the past four seasons/Associated Press photo)

Three NCAA Tournament trips in four years. It's tough to argue with those results.

It's typically an adventure for the Aggies: From inconsistencies during the season, to a poor record against their rivals, and at times some run-ins away from the court, but head coach Marvin Menzies has also found his program's success at New Mexico State.

It's not always conventional and sometimes counter-intuitive to basketball logic: Leaving your shooter on the bench against New Mexico in the closing moments; playing your suspended forward 38 minutes his first game back in uniform at Denver; having a time-share at point guard, even when one player has out-performed the other. But it's also resulted in good team chemistry and, yes, another Western Athletic Conference championship and NCAA Tournament berth. It proves there's more than one way to skin a cat - or in this case run a program - and get positive results.

It starts with the Aggies players. When Menzies came to the school in 2007, he was known as a recruiter first and foremost, and he and his coaching staff have been resourceful and creative in their craft.

The Aggie roster is three-fourths players from overseas or Canada, with plenty of athletic and physical ability. On this year's team, such a description fits, with shooting guard Daniel Mullings, senior forwards Bandja Sy and Tyrone Watson, 7-foot-5 center Sim Bhullar and power forward Renaldo Dixon, to name a few. And while their offensive performances can have ups and downs, they're exceptional athletes who've turned the Aggies into a top-notch defensive team.

Such a dynamic has managed to overpower the Western Athletic Conference in recent years. While the Aggies typically suffer a head-scratching loss or two during WAC play, they're always in the standings' top-third by season's end, and come WAC Tournament time they've proven too tough to deal with.

Their league counterparts simply aren't accustomed to handling such physical stature and athleticism, and that makeup puts NMSU in prime position to win a three-day, winner-take-all tournament. The Aggies have been to four WAC championship games during Menzies' six-year tenure, winning three. Not once during that time have they been eliminated during the quarterfinals round of WAC play.

And when they do make the NCAA Tournament, we're reminded how important such an accomplishment is for Las Cruces as a whole.

With all the talk of high school football and the tremendous run of success those programs have had over the years, Aggie basketball remains the water-cooler sport in town, and something everyone can rally behind. Reaching the NCAAs is uplifting, with more Aggie hats and T-shirts seen this week in town than any other point during the year. In short, it instills pride in the city, and is an extreme positive for the Aggie program and our local community.

At a time when Aggie athletics is trying to find footing during conference realignment, NMSU's men's basketball has held its end of the bargain. We've said it before: Outside of football, the Aggies have something to sell in their Olympic sports, and it's men's basketball that's leading the charge.

It's about giving credit to Menzies for running his program, but also enjoying the moment. Perhaps a possible upset comes today against Saint Louis - it's the Aggies best matchup in recent years during their opening-rounds of the tourney. And, if it doesn't come this year, maybe the year after. They're becoming an experienced program at this. The track record bears out, that the Aggies will be here again.

Follow me on Twitter @TeddyFeinberg

What to watch for: Aggies vs. Billikens

What the Aggies need to spur an upset win over Saint Louis:

• Shoot well: The Aggies can’t afford a prolonged offensive drought — a five-to-10 minute span without a field goal could cost them the contest. Timely 3-point shooting and made free throws would also help in their efforts as a No. 13 seed.

• Protect the ball: A simple look at the stat sheet shows Saint Louis forcing 7.5 turnovers per game and the Aggies giving the ball away 14.4 times per contest. No need to fuel the Billikens offensive fire by turning the ball over. That, and the Aggies need all the quality possessions they can get offensively.

• A smart game: For all intents and purposes, Saint Louis is a well-coached team that will bring some force defensively. The Aggies, who seem to have an edge both physically and athletically, will need to match that with patience and poise. It goes without being said, as they enter tip off as nearly 10-point underdogs.

• The key players: Obviously everyone will have to play well for the Aggies. But some key questions off the top: Will Saint Louis have an answer for 7-foot-5 center Sim Bhullar? Will Bandja Sy score the ball and play shut-down defense? Will guard Daniel Mullings shoot well from the perimeter?

Follow me on Twitter @TeddyFeinberg

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Matchup at a glance: Aggies vs. Billikens

(The Aggies react when their name's called on the NCAA Selection Show. No. 13 NMSU will face No. 4 Saint Louis in the opening round of the 2013 NCAA Tournament this Thursday)

• Need to know: The New Mexico State Aggies will face the Saint Louis Billikens on Thursday at 12:10 p.m., in the opening round of the 2013 NCAA Tournament. Sixty-eight teams make up the NCAA Tournament field, with the No. 13-seeded Aggies and No. 4-seeded Saint Louis set to face off at the HP Pavilion in San Jose, Calif. The winner of Thursday’s game will play either No. 5 Oklahoma State or No. 12 Oregon on Saturday. NCAA Tournament tickets go on sale today at 10 a.m. at the Pan American ticket office, and can also be purchased by calling 575-646-1420.

• Scouting Saint Louis: The Bilikens are in the midst of a great season and have been rolling of late, holding a 27-6 overall record and 13-3 mark in the Atlantic 10. Saint Louis was hit with the death of legendary coach Rick Majerus prior to the season, and have had an inspired campaign in his honor under interim Jim Crews. The team has a handful of impressive wins on their schedule — over top-25 programs New Mexico (60-46 final score), twice over Butler (75-58, 65-61), and twice over Virginia Commonwealth (76-62 and 62-56 in Atlantic 10 title game). The Bilikens are a sound, well-coached team, ranking No. 1 in the Atlantic 10 in scoring defense (giving up just 58.1 points per game). The Bilikens have two players standing at 6-foot-11, with one of them (sophomore John Manning) averaging just six minutes per contest. The remainder of their roster is listed at 6-foot-8 or shorter.

• Do the Aggies have a chance?: Well of course. Again, Saint Louis has had a very good year, but this is a better matchup for the Aggies than, say, their Indiana opponent from last year. The Aggies have a more versatile team from a season ago, and are a tough defensive group. That, and freshman center Sim Bhullar is becoming an increasingly difficult player to gameplan for. For starters, he’s 7-foot-5. With that in mind, teams are ill-equipped preparing for him, and his WAC Tournament averages (12.3 points, 10.7 rebounds and three blocks per game) suggest he’s getting better all the time. A reasonable first-round matchup for the men from Las Cruces.

Championship Saturday: Aggies win WAC, Bulldawgs win state championship

It was a busy day — make that week — for Las Cruces sports, namely it's local basketball programs.

The New Mexico State Aggies won their third WAC Tournament in four years, knocking off Texas-Arlington 64-55, and will be headed back to the NCAA Tournament. Who they face will be determined on Sunday, when the athletics department hosts an NCAA Selection Show watch party. All are invited to attend at The Game Sports Bar and Grill.

In the high school ranks, the Las Cruces Bulldawgs played a superb game to beat Clovis 61-49 in their Class 5A State Championship affair. For the Bulldawgs, it was their first state title in 37 years — since 1976 to be exact.

Unfortunately, their weren't three titles in one day, as the Mayfield girls basketball team fell short to a talented Clovis team in their championship contest.

Below is a video of Las Cruces High storming The Pit in Albuquerque following their championship win, which was finished off by an exclamation point from former Aggies, and current LCHS coach, William Benjamin. Yes, it was a good time for the victors on this Saturday:

Thursday, March 14, 2013

VIDEO: Teddy and Brook Show (3/14)

Sun-News sports duo talks March Madness for Aggies and local high school basketball programs in state competition:

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Aggie men’s basketball hopes history repeats itself once again

Going into this week’s Western Athletic Conference Men’s Basketball Tournament, the New Mexico State Aggies are one of three teams that can legitimately win the whole thing: Those three being NMSU, Louisiana Tech and Denver. And the Aggies could very well be top favorites of the whole bunch.

Of course NMSU just has a physical advantage over most clubs. And while it doesn’t necessarily show up on the offensive end of the court, it most certainly does defensively. Why with players such as Terrel de Rouen, Daniel Mullings, Tyrone Watson, Bandja Sy, Renaldo Dixon and Sim Bhullar (when he can play goalie around the basket) the Aggies are just tough to contend with on that end of the floor.

There’s also NMSU’s history: A team that’s played well in the WAC Tournament under head coach Marvin Menzies.

They’ve won two of the past three league competitions. Menzies' first year with the program, the Aggies advanced to the tournament finals, while his second season saw a young Aggie team take a good Utah State squad down to the wire.

Yes, such experience should count for something, as the Aggies are comfortable playing this time of year and perhaps even relish it. They were the picked pre-season No. 1 in the league, and perhaps it was in anticipation of this. In a sense, they’re built for a three-day tournament in March.

Perhaps the best chance a team has at beating the Aggies is for the Aggies to actually beat themselves — that is, NMSU plays a poor game, while the opposition gets hot at the right time. But if the opposite happens — that being, NMSU plays up to its capabilities for three consecutive days — one would think the Aggies have the top chance at taking home the trophy. Their recent history certainly suggests just that.

Follow me on Twitter @TeddyFeinberg

Prep hoops: Bulldawgs, SonBlazers advance; Lady Trojans take court today

(The Bulldawgs bench celebrates their 64-58 quarterfinals win over La Cueva/Photo by Jim Thompson of the Albuquerque Journal)

The Las Cruces Bulldawgs beat La Cueva 64-58 on Wednesday night, advancing to the semifinals of the Class 5A State Boys Basketball Championships. It was a big win for the ’Dawgs: The past two years they were eliminated in quarterfinals contests in The Pit, last year as a No. 1 seed. Wednesday, they conquered those demons, while moving their record against La Cueva to 3-0 over the past three seasons. Now, they'll try to take down another nemesis — former LCHS head coach Mike Smith, who now coaches at Hobbs. The Bulldawgs and Eagles will play at 8:15 p.m. Thursday night in a state semifinals contest.

At Mesilla Valley Christian, head coach Terry Adler continues to work a masterful job, as the SonBlazers moved to the Class 2A semifinals with a 56-48 win over No. 2-seeded Pecos. MVCS, seeded No. 7, will now play No. 3 Dexter on Thursday at 4:45 p.m. at the Santa Ana Star Center in Rio Rancho.

As for the girls side of the bracket, No. 2 Mayfield will face No. 6 Volcano Vista on Thursday, also in Rio Rancho. Volcano Vista is the defending Class 5A state champions, although the Trojans hold the upper hand in this one, and could very well see No. 1-ranked Clovis this weekend in a highly-intriguing state title game.

For a full list of the boys state quarterfinals scores and semifinals matchups, click here.

For a full list of the girls state quarterfinals scores and semifinals matchups, click here.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Through a series of online links, a look at the local sports scene

A look at Aggie and high school sports in the news, with local postseason basketball in full swing:

With the New Mexico State Aggie men’s basketball team ready for the 2012-13 WAC Tournament, Sun-News beat writer Jason Groves predicts who will play in the conference championship game. And, at least one of his selections may surprise you.

Jason also looks at the Aggies, and the WAC as a whole, at a glance in a pre-tournament analysis. For WAC Tournament scores and brackets, keep up to date at the Western Athletic Conference website.

As for high school basketball, the Las Cruces Bulldawgs are confident as they prepare to face a big task this Wednesday: Trying to take down La Cueva in The Pit. On the girls side of the bracket, Mayfield High School continues to roll on following their big win over Eldorado in the state quarterfinals.

For a complete list of high school girls playoff scores from the state quarterfinals round, click here.

Sunday, March 10, 2013

State Basketball Championships: Quarterfinals matchups

A look at quarterfinals games for the New Mexico State Basketball Championships:

* All boys quarterfinals games will be played this Wednesday
Class 5A
At The Pit in Albuquerque
No. 1 Eldorado vs. No. 9 Cibola, 5 p.m.
No. 2 Sandia vs. No. 7 Hobbs, 9:45 a.m.
No. 3 La Cueva vs. No. 6 Las Cruces, 4:45 p.m.
No. 4 Clovis vs. No. 12 Manzano, 1:15 p.m.
Class 4A
At The Pit in Albuquerque
No. 1 Roswell vs. No. 9 Española Valley, 11:30 a.m.
No. 2 St. Pius X vs. No. 7 Santa Teresa, 8 a.m.
No. 3 Los Lunas vs. No. 6 Capital, 6:30 p.m.
No. 4 Bernalillo vs. No. 5 Albuquerque Academy, 3 p.m.
Class 3A
At Santa Ana Star Center in Rio Rancho
No. 1 Hope Christian vs. No. 9 Lovington, 1:15 p.m.
No. 2 St. Michael's vs. No. 7 Silver, 4:45 p.m.
No. 3 Sandia Prep vs. No. 6 Pojoaque, 9:45 a.m.
No. 4 Shiprock vs. No. 5 Portales, 8:15 p.m.
Class 2A
At Santa Ana Star Center in Rio Rancho
No. 1 Laguna Acoma vs. No. 8 Santa Rosa, 6:30 p.m.
No. 2 Pecos vs. No. 7 Mesilla Valley Christian, 3 p.m.
No. 3 Dexter vs. No. 6 Bosque, 8 a.m.
No. 4 Tularosa vs. No. 5 Texico, 11:30 a.m.
Class 1A
At Bernalillo High School
No. 1 Cliff vs. No. 8 Logan, 4:45 p.m.
No. 2 Hagerman vs. No. 10 Capitan, 6:30 p.m.
No. 3 To'hajiilee vs. No. 11 McCurdy, 8:15 p.m.
No. 4 Dora vs. No. 12 Questa, 3 p.m.

* All girls quarterfinals games will be played this Tuesday:
Class 5A
At Santa Ana Star Center in Rio Rancho
No. 1 Clovis vs. No. 9 Las Cruces, 8:15 p.m.
No. 2 Mayfield vs. No. 7 Eldorado, 1:15 p.m.
No. 3 Cibola vs. No. 6 Volcano Vista, 4:45 p.m.
No. 4 Hobbs vs. No. 5 La Cueva. 9:15 a.m.
Class 4A
At The Pit in Albuquerque
No. 1 Los Lunas vs. No. 9 Los Alamos, 1:15 p.m.
No. 2 Roswell vs. No. 7 Gallup, 8:15 p.m.
No. 3 Santa Fe vs. No. 6 Valencia, 4:45 p.m.
No. 4 St. Pius X vs. No. 5 Española, 9:45 a.m.
Class 3A
At The Pit in Albuquerque
No. 1 Hope Christian vs. No. 9 Socorro, 8 p.m.
No. 2 Santa Fe Indian vs. No. 7 Pojoaque, 6:30 p.m.
No. 3 Portales vs. No. 6 Lovington, 3 p.m.
No. 4 Shiprock vs. No. 5 Taos, 11:30 a.m.
Class 2A
At Santa Ana Star Center in Rio Rancho
No. 1 Laguna Acoma vs. No. 9 Hatch, 6:30 p.m.
No. 2 Texico vs. No. 10 Navajo Prep, 3 p.m.
No. 3 Navajo Pine vs. No. 6 Zuni, 11:30 a.m.
No. 4 Mora vs. No. 12 Clayton, 8 a.m.
Class 1A
At Bernalillo High School
No. 1 Tatum vs. No. 8 Dora, 3 p.m.
No. 2 Cliff vs. No. 7 Jemez Valley, 8:15 p.m.
No. 3 Magdalena vs. No. 6 Logan, 6:30 p.m.
No. 5 Melrose vs. No. 4 Floyd, 4:45 p.m.

State Basketball Championships: First-round scores

Results from this past weekend's opening-round games in the New Mexico State Basketball Championships:

* Higher seeds host first-round games

Class 5A
No. 1 Eldorado 79, No. 16 Rio Rancho 67
No. 2 Sandia 61, No. 15 Alamogordo 42
No. 3 La Cueva 68, No. 14 Atrisco Heritage 59
No. 4 Clovis 75, No. 13 West Mesa 56
No. 12 Manzano 68, No. 5 Valley 65
No. 6 Las Cruces 85, No. 11 Carlsbad 65
No. 7 Hobbs 75, No. 10 Volcano Vista 49
No. 8 Cibola 46, No. 9 Albuquerque 45
Class 4A
No. 1 Roswell 74, No. 16 Piedra Vista 55
No. 2 St. Pius 67, No. 15 Goddard 48
No. 3 Los Lunas 76, No. 14 Santa Fe 68
No. 4 Bernalillo 82, No. 13 Artesia 78
No. 5 Academy 53, No. 12 Farmington 43
No. 6 Capital 50, No. 11 Moriarty 39
No. 7 Santa Teresa 57, No. 10 Gallup 53 (OT)
No. 9 Espanola 53, No. 8 Deming 50
Class 3A
No. 1 Hope Christian 93, No. 16 Raton 31
No. 2 St. Michael's 90, No. 15 Wingate 70
No. 3 Sandia Prep 67, No. 14 Socorro 50
No. 4 Shiprock 65, No. 13 Ruidoso 46
No. 5 Portales 62, No. 12 West Las Vegas 51
No. 6 Pojoaque 70, No. 11 Bloomfield 33
No. 7 Silver 73, No. 10 Robertson 33
No. 8 Taos 45, No. 9 Lovington 41
Class 2A
No. 1 Laguna Acoma 60, No. 16 Dulce 40
No. 2 Pecos 90, No. 15 NMMI 70
No. 3 Dexter 67, No. 14 Ramah 51
No. 4 Tularosa 67, No. 13 Clayton 48
No. 5 Texico 50, No. 12 Tohatchi 33
No. 6 Bosque 45, No. 11 Tucumcari 43
No. 7 Mesilla Valley Christian 46, No. 10 Santa Fe Prep 22
No. 8 Santa Rosa 69, No. 9 Mora 67
Class 1A
No. 1 Cliff 70, No. 16 Pine Hill 28
No. 2 Hagerman 79, No. 15 Desert Academy 45
No. 3 To'Hajiiee 70, No. 14 Tatum 40
No. 4 Dora 65, No. 13 Menaul 18
No. 12 Questa 54, No. 5 Ft. Sumner 49
No. 11 McCurdy 55, No. 6 Magdalena 49
No. 10 Capitan 77, No. 7 Escalante 68
No. 8 Logan 72, No. 9 Springer 51

Class 5A
No. 1 Clovis 55, No. 16 Alamogordo 11
No. 2 Mayfield 56, No. 15 Cleveland 33
No. 3 Cilbola 47, No. 14 Oñate 34
No. 4 Hobbs 60, No. 13 Gadsden 40
No. 5 La Cueva 50, No. 12 Carlsbad 28
No. 6 Volcano Vista 52, No. 11 Sandia 46
No. 7 Eldorado 63, No. 10 Rio Rancho 48
No. 9 Las Cruces 49, No. 8 Valley 35
Class 4A
No. 1 Los Lunas 65, No. 16 Goddard 43
No. 2 Roswell 60, No. 15 Piedra Vista 37
No. 3 Santa Fe 62, No. 14 Kirtland Centra 38
No. 4 St. Pius 61, No. 13 Miyamura 58
No. 5 Española Valley 51, No. 12 Grants 50
No. 6 Valencia 51, No. 11 Albuquerque Academy 19
No. 7 Gallup 71, No. 10 Artesia 55
No. 9 Los Alamos 62, No. 8 Deming 45
Class 3A
No. 1 Hope Christian 78, No. 16 Wingate 40
No. 2 Santa Fe Indian 67, No. 15 Ruidoso 44
No. 3 Portales 37, No. 14 St. Michael's 34
No. 4 Shiprock 67, No. 13 West Las Vegas 45
No. 5 Taos 53, No. 12 Sandia Prep 43
No. 6 Lovington 46, No. 11 Raton 32
No. 7 Pojoaque Valley 56, No. 10 Thoreau 48
No. 9 Socorro 59, No. 8 Robertson 46
Class 2A
No. 1 Laguna Acoma 77, No. 16 West Mesa 15
No. 2 Texico 60, No. 15 Ramah 15
No. 3 Navajo Pine 51, No. 14 Santa Fe Prep 44
No. 4 Mora 47, No. 13 Rehoboth Christian 37
No. 12 Clayton 50, No. 5 Tularosa 48
No. 6 Zuni 92, No. 11 Cuba 55
No. 10 Navajo Prep 51, No. 7 Dexter 44
No. 9 Hatch Valley 50, No. 8 Estancia 46
Class 1A
No. 1 Tatum 77, No. 16 Shiprock Northwest 35
No. 2 Cliff 53, No. 15 Coronado 15
No. 3 Magdalena 45, No. 14 Animas 38
No. 4 Floyd 64, No. 13 Mescalero Apache 50
No. 5 Melrose 57, No. 12 Springer 27
No. 6 Logan 73, No. 11 McCurdy 42
No. 7 Jemez Valley 44, No. 10 Fort Sumner 43
No. 8 Dora 63, No. 9 Cloudcroft 49

Friday, March 8, 2013

A look back: Aggie basketball responds with big win over Louisiana Tech

(Daniel Mullings bounced back offensively with 23 points, leading the Aggies over the Bulldogs/Photo by Robin Zielinski)

Lets just say it right off the bat: The New Mexico State Aggies played a very good game Thursday and got a very good win to show for it, a 78-60 victory over Louisiana Tech.

In an analysis, the Aggies got the victory for the following reasons:

• The team’s defense was simply awesome: The Aggies have forced the issue throughout the season on the defensive end of the floor, and routinely take the opposition out of its offensive game. Louisiana Tech, like many NMSU opponents this year, had trouble with the Aggies length, athleticism and size on the court. NMSU chased the Bulldogs off the 3-point line, and 7-foot-5 center Sim Bhullar was there to clog up the middle, five-feet-and-in to the basket. Louisiana Tech had no answer for the Aggies frontcourt, as many teams haven’t this year. NMSU is a defensive-oriented team — they have been the past two seasons — and it showed once again Thursday.

• Daniel Mullings: The Aggie shooting guard was player of the game, with 23 points, eight rebounds, three assists and four steals. His top-rate athleticism was on display throughout the evening. Defensively, Mullings has always been solid, although he struggled on the offensive end of the court the three contests prior to Thursday. His performance against the Bulldogs could have very well been the No. 1 key to victory. He played like an All-Conference caliber performer.

• Figuring out the Bulldogs press: The Aggies had trouble with Louisiana Tech’s full-court press defense to start Thursday’s contest, and it led directly to the Bulldogs' 21-10 lead early on. But NMSU forced the issue and stopped turning the ball over — point guard Terrel de Rouen, who came off the bench after being sick a good portion of the week, helped in this respect. Their defense stepped up and Louisiana Tech stopped making shots — and, therefore, was unable to press off a made basket. A 23-3 Aggie run followed, and a 10-point NMSU deficit turned into a 10-point lead. Said head coach Marvin Menzies on how the Aggies adjusted: “We were dribbling into what we call coffin corner .... We kept dribbling in there .... put under pressure (by) long, athletic, quick guys that would take advantage of two good athletes against one. We got our reversals and started to attack up court. Passing and starting to advance it to the baseline more.”

• Give credit where credit is due: Tyrone Watson played a good game for the Aggies. He had 10 points and five rebounds in the first half, as NMSU dug out of its hole and took a 43-34 lead at intermission. He then played on a hurt ankle (a Louisiana Tech player rolled over it, and it didn’t look good initially) during the second half to finish with his second career double-double (12 points, 11 rebounds). Watson was utilized well, and played better within his role: A facilitator on offense, a ball handler against the press and he didn’t take many jump shots — most of his nine shot attempts came from close to the basket, and he made six of them. He was key, and a big reason the Aggies won in runaway fashion.

• Still would have liked to see more minutes for Kevin Aronis (he played 11) and Renaldo Dixon (who played 10). But a win’s a win, and the team responded well in a big game. Two weeks ago it was UTEP, last night it was Louisiana Tech. Historically, the Aggies have stepped up in big games late in the season under head coach Marvin Menzies. To the team's credit, it happened again Thursday.


Anything can happen with NMSU going into next week’s WAC Tournament.

Obviously the Aggies are totally capable of winning the whole thing. They’re also capable of not doing such, meaning I wouldn’t be surprised with any outcome.

Still, let the track record show: WAC Tournament titles for the program two of the past three years, which means a similar triumph this season would equal three NCAA Tournament trips in four years for the Aggies. It's usually an adventure getting there, although such results are also tough to argue with.

Follow me on Twitter @TeddyFeinberg

VIDEOS: Aggies beat Louisiana Tech on Pan Am floor

Head coach Marvin Menzies, Aggie players talk about their 78-60 win over the Bulldogs. NMSU's victory snapped Louisiana Tech's 18-game win streak, and 16-0 record in the WAC.

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Aggies could use rotation adjustment

Can the New Mexico State Aggie men's basketball team beat Louisiana Tech on Thursday at the Pan American Center? Of course they can. This is a winnable game, despite La. Tech's 16-0 WAC record and 18-game win streak.

But it's also loseable. Louisiana Tech is a very good team — they could very well be the best squad NMSU has faced this season — and the Aggies will need to play a very good game in order to win.

And although we've mentioned it before on the Cruces Sports Blog, we feel compelled to do so again: The Aggies need to change up their lineup rotation in order to beat the Bulldogs.

The return of Tyrone Watson came last weekend at Denver, where a simple look at the box score provided some puzzling issues: Watson, who missed a month of the season due to suspension and, in turn, a decent portion of NMSU's 12-game win streak, played a whopping 38 minutes in a starter's role.

Meanwhile, backup players Renaldo Dixon (played very well in place of Watson during the senior's absence), Kevin Aronis (who shot the Aggies to victory days before against UTEP) and Remi Barry (who showed some promise this year in an increased role) played a combined 17 minutes, with Dixon leading the way with seven minutes of court time.

We understand someone's time will be cut into with Watson returning. Lets say immediately it should not be Dixon (it's highly debatable that the junior should have lost his starting job to begin with). Both are good defensive players, but Dixon could very well be the team's top shot blocker, and should not be reduced as a bit player now with an added body in the fold.

Aronis also should see an increase in minutes — his time has fluctuated throughout the season, but he should have a more steady role while at least taking the court for stretches of a game. When he's been on the floor he's looked good.

One key for NMSU beating La. Tech: The team's bench will have to play well, because the Bulldogs use their's effectively. Lets hope some roles are changed, and some key players are used wisely Thursday.

Follow me on Twitter @TeddyFeinberg

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

New Mexico State Basketball Championships: First-round games

A look at opening-round contests in this year's boys and girls state basketball playoff brackets:

For complete boys tournament brackets, click here.

For complete girls tournament brackets, click here.

First round
* Higher seeds host first-round games
* All first-round boys games will be played this Saturday
Class 5A
No. 1 Eldorado vs. No. 16 Rio Rancho, 5 p.m.
No. 2 Sandia vs. No. 15 Alamogordo, 7 p.m.
No. 3 La Cueva vs. No. 14 Atrisco Heritage, 7 p.m.
No. 4 Clovis vs. No. 13 West Mesa, 7 p.m.
No. 5 Valley vs. No. 12 Manzano, 7 p.m.
No. 6 Las Cruces vs. No. 11 Carlsbad, 7 p.m.
No. 7 Hobbs vs. No. 10 Volcano Vista, 7 p.m.
No. 8 Cibola vs. No. 9 Albuquerque, 7 p.m.
Class 4A
No. 1 Roswell vs. No. 16 Piedra Vista, 1 p.m.
No. 2 St. Pius vs. No. 15 Goddard, 3 p.m.
No. 3 Los Lunas vs. No. 14 Santa Fe, 7 p.m.
No. 4 Bernalillo vs. No. 13 Artesia, 6 p.m.
No. 5 Academy vs. No. 12 Farmington, 6 p.m.
No. 6 Capital vs. No. 11 Moriarty, 6 p.m.
No. 7 Santa Teresa vs. No. 10 Gallup, 5 p.m.
No. 8 Deming vs. No. 9 Espanola, 3 p.m.
Class 3A
No. 1 Hope Christian vs. No. 16 Raton, 5 p.m.
No. 2 St. Michael’s vs. No. 15 Wingate, 6 p.m.
No. 3 Sandia Prep vs. No. 14 Socorro, 5 p.m.
No. 4 Shiprock vs. No. 13 Ruidoso, 5 p.m.
No. 5 Portales vs. No. 12 West Las Vegas, 7 p.m.
No. 6 Pojoaque vs. No. 11 Bloomfield, 5 p.m.
No. 7 Silver vs. No. 10 Robertson, 5 p.m.
No. 8 Taos vs. No. 9 Lovington, 6 p.m.
Class 2A
No. 1 Laguna Acoma vs. No. 16 Dulce, 5 p.m.
No. 2 Pecos vs. No. 15 NMMI, 5 p.m.
No. 3 Dexter vs. No. 14 Ramah, 5 p.m.
No. 4 Tularosa vs. No. 13 Clayton, 1 p.m.
No. 5 Texico vs. No. 12 Tohatchi, 6 p.m.
No. 6 Bosque vs. No. 11 Tucumcari, 6 p.m.
No. 7 Mesilla Valley Christian vs. No. 10 Santa Fe Prep, 6 p.m.
No. 8 Santa Rosa vs. No. 9 Mora, 6 p.m.
Class 1A
No. 1 Cliff vs. No. 16 Pine Hill, 3 p.m.
No. 2 Hagerman vs. No. 15 Desert Academy, 5 p.m.
No. 3 To’Hajiiee vs. No. 14 Tatum, 5 p.m.
No. 4 Dora vs. No. 13 Menaul, 5 p.m.
No. 5 Ft. Sumner vs. No. 12 Questa, 4 p.m.
No. 6 Magdalena vs. No. 11 McCurdy, 6 p.m.
No. 7 Escalante vs. No. 10 Capitan, 5 p.m.
No. 8 Logan vs. No. 9 Springer, 7 p.m.

First round
* Higher seeds host first-round games
* All first-round girls games will be played this Friday
Class 5A
No. 1 Clovis vs. No. 16 Alamogordo, 7 p.m.
No. 2 Mayfield vs. No. 15 Cleveland, 6 p.m.
No. 3 Cilbola vs. No. 14 Oñate, 7 p.m.
No. 4 Hobbs vs. No. 13 Gadsden, 7 p.m.
No. 5 La Cueva vs. No. 12 Carlsbad, 6 p.m.
No. 6 Volcano Vista vs. No. 11 Sandia, 5:30 p.m.
No. 7 Eldorado vs. No. 10 Rio Rancho, 7 p.m.
No. 8 Valley vs. No. 9 Las Cruces, 7 p.m.
Class 4A
No. 1 Los Lunas vs. No. 16 Goddard, 7 p.m.
No. 2 Roswell vs. No. 15 Piedra Vista, 7 p.m.
No. 3 Santa Fe vs. No. 14 Kirtland Central, 6 p.m.
No. 4 St. Pius vs. No. 13 Miyamura, 7 p.m.
No. 5 Española Valley vs. No. 12 Grants, 7 p.m.
No. 6 Valencia vs. No. 11 Albuquerque Academy, 7 p.m.
No. 7 Gallup vs. No. 10 Artesia, 6 p.m.
No. 8 Deming vs. No. 9 Los Alamos, 7 p.m.
Class 3A
No. 1 Hope Christian vs. No. 16 Wingate, 7 p.m.
No. 2 Santa Fe Indian vs. No. 15 Ruidoso, 6 p.m.
No. 3 Portales vs. No. 14 St. Michael’s, 7 p.m.
No. 4 Shiprock vs. No. 13 West Las Vegas, 7 p.m.
No. 5 Taos vs. No. 12 Sandia Prep, 6 p.m.
No. 6 Lovington vs. No. 11 Raton, 7 p.m.
No. 7 Pojoaque Valley vs. No. 10 Thoreau, 6 p.m.
No. 8 Robertson vs. No. 9 Socorro, 7 p.m.
Class 2A
No. 1 Laguna Acoma vs. No. 16 West Mesa, 6 p.m.
No. 2 Texico vs. No. 15 Ramah, 6 p.m.
No. 4 Mora vs. No. 13 Rehoboth Christian, 5:30 p.m.
No. 5 Tularosa vs. No. 12 Clayton, 6 p.m.
No. 6 Zuni vs. No. 11 Cuba, 6 p.m.
No. 7 Dexter vs. No. 10 Navajo Prep, 6 p.m.
No. 8 Estancia vs. No. 9 Hatch Valley, 6 p.m.
Class 1A
No. 1 Tatum vs. No. 16 Shiprock Northwest, 6:30 p.m.
No. 2 Cliff vs. No. 15 Coronado, 6 p.m.
No. 3 Magdalena vs. No. 14 Animas, 5 p.m.
No. 4 Floyd vs. No. 13 Mescalero Apache, 6 p.m.
No. 5 Melrose vs. No. 12 Springer, 6 p.m.
No. 6 Logan vs. No. 11 McCurdy, 7 p.m.
No. 7 Jemez Valley vs. No. 10 Fort Sumner, 6 p.m.
No. 8 Dora vs. No. 9 Cloudcroft, 6 p.m.

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Proposed district realignments a disservice to local high school sports programs

(In the proposed Class 6A, the days of Las Cruces High and Oñate meeting in district football would be over/Photo by Shari V. Hill)

The New Mexico Activities Association released a proposal this past week that would expand New Mexico high school athletics from five to six classifications, and would in turn put four Las Cruces city schools — Las Cruces High, Mayfield, Oñate and Centennial — in two separate districts. To see a list of the proposed realignments, click here.

In any event, such a proposition was not well received by local coaches and administrators, and one can understand why.

Separating Las Cruces city schools into two leagues within the same classification makes little sense. In a town with four big-school affiliations all together, they should be competing against one another and form rivalries during meaningful district games. Travel would be cheap, local loyalties would run high, and with that, one has the makings of quality high school athletics in place.

But that wouldn't be the case the way things could potentially be constructed. District 6-6A would place Mayfield and Las Cruces High in a common league, that would also have Gadsden and Deming a part of it. Meanwhile, District 3-6A would consist of a three-team district (far from an ideal number) of Oñate, Centennial and Alamogordo. Not good.

Three-team leagues are just not the way to go, from a watered-down competition level as well as difficulties posed in scheduling. So Centennial and Oñate would be in a three-team alignment with Alamogordo, while two other local city schools just miles away are in another league amongst the same classification? At first on paper it might look decent. But upon inspection, it's far from rational.

But lets also say this: It's difficult seeing such alignments remaining this way. Yes, the NMAA will move to the six-class format, but the district proposals are just that. Nothing's etched in stone, and certain teams will appeal. In the assumed 6A, count on one being Deming, while Santa Fe High wouldn't seem far behind after being moved up in classification and placed in a power league consisting of Cleveland, Rio Rancho, Volcano Vista and Cibola.

Perhaps some movement in southern New Mexico could take place, whether it be Deming moving down in classification or Alamogordo being placed in another three-team league in the proposed 6A (consisting of Clovis, Carlsbad and Hobbs). Not that such a scenario would be favorable to the people of Alamo, why with a hellacious travel schedule in league games once district season rolls around.

Could Gadsden be moved down a classification and play in a league with Santa Teresa and Chaparral? It's a numbers game, and enrollment is what's determining who goes to what level, but that could make some sense as well from competition and geographic standpoints.

But here's the most simple and logical solution, although one that also won't be implemented any time soon: Moving back down to four classifications total, where everyone would benefit — at least the schools involved along with the student athletes, which should be the top priority to begin with.

Four classifications would eliminate three-team districts, and perhaps even enhance the playing field. We spoke of District 4-5A — made up of Clovis, Carlsbad and Hobbs. Then, in Class 4A District 4, we have another three-team alignment of eastern New Mexico-based schools Roswell, Artesia and Goddard. A classic example where contraction would be better, as six schools could come together on the highest level, and compete with real regional interest involved.

This would also allow Alamogordo to stay within its current alignment with Mayfield, Oñate, Las Cruces and Gadsden. If Centennial was added to the mix, all the better. Deming would find a proper home amongst its preferred 4A classification, and we're not having this discussion all together.

Makes perfect sense, right? At least to the people of southern New Mexico, which is probably why it isn't happening.

Follow me on Twitter @TeddyFeinberg