NM State versus Baylor Basketball Preview

New Mexico State enters the Ferrell Center off of arguably its best season recent memory, but have not been impressive on the road this season. What do the Bears need to do to continue the Aggies' road-losing streak?

Quick Facts about New Mexico State

Location: Las Cruces, NM

Conference: WAC

Mascot: Aggies (back-to-back Aggies!)

Head Coach: Marvin Menzies (Overall Record152-89 in 8th Season)

2013-14 Record:26-10 (12-4 Conference)

2014-15 Record: 4-6 (0-6 away)

Last Game: 86-83 loss to Oral Roberts

Last NCAA Tournament Appearance: 2014 (NCAA Second Round)

Notable Players Lost: Sim Bhullar, 7’5’’ center

Game Preview

December 17, 2014 (8:00 PM CT, Channel: ESPNU)

Baylor Basketball returns from a much-needed break to take on their second portion of Aggies, but not the hated kind from down the road this time. New Mexico State enters the Ferrell Center off of the best season under tenured coach Marvin Menzies, but has been extremely underwhelming this year.

The one thing Baylor fans need to know about this team is, despite the record, the NMSU Aggies can absolutely put up points. Only once this season has the team scored less than 70 points, and it has also already scored more 80 four times this season. This comes as a direct result of how balanced Menzies’ team is. Four starters average between 11 and 13 points for New Mexico State, but the balance truly comes in how effective the bench is. The Aggies’ bench runs six-deep and accounts for over 28% of all points scored for Menzies’ squad.

That said, this team fails to impress as far as passing and running effective half court sets go. Averaging only 11.4 assists per game, the team as a whole has 0.76 assist-turnover ratio, a deplorable number that will most likely continue to drop against Scott Drew’s impressively effective zone defense.

Player-wise, the Aggies took a big hit when they lost Sim Bhullar, the popular 7’5’’ center who was signed to the Sacramento Kings at the end of last season. Remi Barry, a 6’8’’ senior forward from Paris, France, has taken over the bulk of the scoring for the bigs in Bhullar’s absence, putting up 13.6 ppg with an incredibly efficient 54.9% FG. Interestingly, the Aggies’ leading rebounder is their starting senior guard, Daniel Mullings.

Offensively for the Bears, I am not convinced the Aggies can stop the hot shooting streak of the Bears’ perimeter players. The Aggies are allowing 68.7 points per game, just under our average on the season, but with the long break and confidence from the heated matchup with Texas A&M, expect Drew and staff to have this offense rolling into this game. The Aggies do press a lot on defense, though, so this will be a good test of our guys under that type of pressure.

The status of Kenny Chery, meanwhile, remains up in the air. Baylor fans should not be surprised if the staff decides to sit him for this game, so as not to risk aggravating his foot injury. Attention, however, should be focused on the bigs. Rico Gather and Jonathan Motley responded mightily to the critics of their offensive game and put up a combined 35 points against TAMU. The two match up nicely against the bigs of New Mexico State, and while I do not expect there to be a drop off on the boards at all (thanks especially to Gathers), it would be great for both the two players and the fans to see efficient post play.

Last item of note, the New Mexico State Aggies are 0-6 away from their home court, the team does not travel well.

Players to Watch:

New Mexico State: Remi Barry and Daniel Mullings

Baylor: Rico Gathers and Jonathan Motely

Final Prediction: SFA – 64 Baylor – 76

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