The New Mexico State Aggies are in their second NCAA Tournament under Head Coach Marvin Menzies after winning the WAC Conference Tournament. Just like the first go around, the Aggies will be facing a Big Ten opponent in their opening game as they take on the Indiana Hoosiers.
The Aggies are hoping to come out on the winning end and get some revenge on the Big Ten.
New Mexico State Aggies Scouting Report
- Very Good Size in the Post
- Good Athletic Ability
- Good Experience
- Good Hustle
- Great Rebounding
- Can Draw Fouls
- Full-Court Man
The Aggies are one of the few mid-majors who can say they've been to the tournament before, challenged the team they faced, and still have over half of their starters from that team. Luckily for New Mexico State, they still have Wendell McKines, Hernst Laroche, and Hamidu Rahman. Some schools can be shell-shocked by the bright lights of the big stage, but New Mexico State has enough practical experience after challenging Michigan State in a 70-67 loss in the 2010 NCAA Tournament.
New Mexico State's strength on the floor is their inside game. They are big, strong, they box out well, and fight very hard for every missed shot. Being a big team, they actually manage to draw a fair number of fouls because of how physical they play inside. Inferior sized teams have a tough time when matched up against them, which can lead to the Aggies drawing fouls.
The Aggies also display solid athletic ability. They are without point guard Christian Kabongo after the first third of the season, but it was almost a blessing in disguise. Kabongo is a good athlete, but an inefficient player who took far too many shots — and missed far too many — and turned the ball over too much. Daniel Mullings, who has taken over the point, is an explosive athlete who — while he isn't a special passer — has turned it over less than Kabongo, shot less, and made a higher percentage of his takes.
Kabongo isn't a bad player, especially for a mid-major program, but having Mullings take over was best for this squad whose strength is inside, and not outside, shooting.
- Struggle in Shooting the Three
- Average Spacing
- Too Dependent on Inside
- 1-6 against RPI Top 100
- Don't Rotate Well
- Below Average Free Throw Shooting
This squad isn't built like many mid-majors who make the tournament, and I believe that's why they will not make a run.
New Mexico State is a fairly poor jump shot team. They struggle from beyond the arc and don't space out well on offense. They seem to be far too dependent on the inside game for my liking, and while they have some solid kids, I really think the main reason for their success is that they just out-muscle weaker WAC teams.
Hamidu Rahman is a seven footer and the starting center for the Aggies, but he only plays 20 minutes per game. From what I've seen, I find Rahman to be an uncoordinated athlete with heavy feet. When the center he will have to face in his first game is Cody Zeller — the complete opposite of this — it could be very rough.
Does New Mexico State have a chance against Indiana?
Other than the Aggies' early season win over the New Mexico Lobos, they've struggled against the RPI Top 100, including losing a rematch against the Lobos and dropping both meetings to the WAC regular season champions, the Nevada Wolfpack.
The Aggies have heart, but that doesn't make-up for how average this team is overall.
Chances of Winning First Game: 15 percent
Due to Verdell Jones' injury, I'm giving the Aggies a small chance. I still feel that this might be a little high because of how well Indiana played against Wisconsin without Jones. However, the Aggies are built to play inside, something that is a strength for Indiana. The Hoosiers also shoot the ball better and have the clear talent edge.
Chance of Reaching Final Four: .05 percent
I just can't see a team that struggles to shoot this much, and is a thirteen seed, finding a way into the final four.
They, at least, have Wendell McKines, so that gives them better than a zero percent chance.
Chances of Winning It All: .01 Percent
If New Mexico State ends up in the National Championship game, I will probably be as shocked as anybody else in the nation.
It was a great season for the Aggies in winning the WAC Conference Tournament, but it should all be over soon.