Looking at the New Mexico State Aggie opponents thus far and onward, and what it means for the Aggies.
First a summary of New Mexico State:
Good Wins: Nicholls State (RPI:62; likely not that good)
Great Wins - Top50 v. RPI or KenPom teams
Good Wins - Top100 v. RPI or KenPom teams
Bad Losses - Bottom 100 loss v. RPI or KenPom teams
Horrible Losses - Bottom 50 loss v. RPI or KenPom teams
Opportunities Lost - less than 10 pt loss v. Top 100 RPI or KenPom team
Opportunities - upcoming games against Top 100 RPI or KenPom teams
Arizona Christian (10-4, 100-52 W) -- an NAIA team that has fared well thus far, but means nothing for the Aggies ratings.
Colorado State (8-5, 64-61 L) -- RPI: 184, KenPom: 150 -- Good Wins: NMSU, Colorado; Opportunities Lost: Stanford; Opportunities: San Diego St.(2), Boise St.(2), Wyoming(2), Nevada. This was a close loss on the road - no knock on the Aggies. They will likely be rated higher than they currently are at season's end.
Samford (8-4, 58-48 W) -- RPI: 104, KenPom: 177 -- Horrible Losses: Nicholls St.; Opportunities Lost: Nicholls St., Florida St.; Opportunities: Chattanooga(2), East Tennessee St.(2). This win is standing solid over a good team.
New Mexico (7-5, 72-59 L, 84-71 W) -- RPI: 160, KenPom: 128 -- Good Wins: NMSU; Opportunities Lost: Dayton, Illinois St., Opportunities: San Diego St.(2), Nevada(2), Boise St.(2), Wyoming(2). This road loss was a tough one to a rival. But looking at it in context shows that this Lobo team is solid, but not great. And they haven't had any bad losses. They have lots of opportunities to prove themselves a better team, which will help the Aggies. And the Aggies did get the home victory, which does help heal wounds, and ratings.
Bethune-Cookman (3-10, 89-73 W) -- RPI: 325; KenPom: 342 -- Horrible Losses: Nicholls St.; Bad Losses: San Diego, Jacksonville, South Florida; Opportunities Lost: Nicholls St.; Opportunities: None. This is likely to worst team NMSU played this year, or will play this year. The win makes it better, but the relatively close margin hurts on the the Aggies' KenPom rating.
Nicholls State (6-6, 86-74 W) -- RPI: 62; KenPom: 309 -- Bad Loss: San Diego. Opportunities: Sam Houston St. This team is rated highly on the RPI, yet KenPom ratings are horrible. What gives? Well this team has played quite a number of good teams (Central Florida, NMSU, Florida St., Texas Tech) and has generally lost big to these teams (save the NMSU game). It also has losses to mid-range teams that are by big margins .. this is what KenPom tracks .. margin of victory and who you play .. it is very likely Nicholls State will lose games to lesser teams in conference and will plummet in RPI once this happens.
San Diego (7-5, 56-51 W) -- RPI: 162; KenPom: 264 -- Good Wins: Nicholls St.; Opportunities Lost: NMSU; Opportunities: Saint Mary's(2), BYU(2), Gonzaga(2). This victory was a good road win against a solid team. This team has plenty of opportunities to show it's better than the KenPom rating shows.
Air Force (7-6, 78-70 W) -- RPI: 231; KenPom: 190 -- Opportunities Lost: Akron, NMSU, Colorado; Opportunities: Wyoming(2), Nevada(2), San Diego St.(2), Boise St.(2). A win over another Mountain West school at home is a good one. While Air Force has plenty of opportunities, they are not likely to get many wins to help NMSU.
Long Beach State (4-10, 93-85 W) -- RPI: 135; KenPom: 166 -- Bad Losses: Binghamton; Opportunities Lost: @Washington, @Florida Gulf Coast, @NMSU, @Texas; Opportunities: None. This team has played a brutal non-conference schedule which has helped its RPI and KenPom. They will likely do well in the Big West and help the Aggies cause.
UTEP (2-9, 79-68 W) -- RPI: 345; KenPom: 302 -- Horrible Losses: SE Louisiana, Northern Arizona, Maryland-Eastern Shore; Bad Losses: Northwestern State; Opportunities: NMSU, Middle Tennessee, Old Dominion. This team is very bad this year. Which is unfortunate for the Aggies since we play them twice. The win on the road was good. And a home game this week against them should be a cakewalk.
Arizona State (7-6, 81-70 W) -- RPI: 132; KenPom: 102 -- Good wins: San Diego St.; Opportunities: Stanford(2), California(2), Colorado, Utah, Arizona(2), UCLA(2), USC(2), Washington(2), Oregon. This victory over a Power Five team on the road was a terrific win. However Arizona State isn't the cream of the crop the Pac12, at least not on paper. They will certainly have plenty of opportunity to prove themselves. But, win or lose, a victory over this team helps the Aggies from here on out.
UC Irvine (6-9, 85-79 W) -- RPI: 152; KenPom: 180 -- Bad Losses: Milwaukee; Opportunities Lost: East Tennessee St., Nevada, NMSU, Akron; Opportunities: None. While this overtime victory was a good one at home, there isn't much to be gained from here on out with this team, unless it really pours on victories in the Big West - which is possible.
Eastern New Mexico (5-7, Division II) -- the only Division I game for the Greyhounds is against NMSU ... this game carries no meaning for the rankings -- and should be an easy victory for the Aggies.
Missouri-Kansas City (7-7) -- RPI: 193; KenPom: 239 -- Bad Losses: South Dakota St.; Opportunities Lost: Creighton, Neb-Omaha; Opportunities: NMSU(2). This is a decent WAC team, but should not pose a threat to NMSU in either game.
Chicago State (4-10) -- RPI: 262; KenPom: 331 -- Horrible Losses: Saint Louis; Bad Losses: Illinois-Chicago, Bradley; Opportunities Lost: Northwestern; Opportunities: Valparaiso, NMSU(2). A WAC team in the bottom rungs, two easy victories are expected for the Aggies.
Grand Canyon (8-5) -- RPI: 180; KenPom: 162 -- Good Wins: San Diego St.; Horrible Losses: SIU-Edwardsville; Opportunities Lost: Penn St., Louisville; Opportunities: NMSU(2). This is a dangerous WAC team that will threaten NMSU on their own floor. They are very good when good, and can lose to a bad team too. Expect a win and a loss for the Aggies in the two games.
CSU-Bakersfield (8-5) -- RPI: 177; KenPom: 106 -- Bad Losses: North Dakota; Opportunities Lost: SMU; Opportunities: NMSU(2). This is a good team, but is relatively unproven. Three of their wins have come against non Division I teams. While I expect a close road game for the Aggies, this should be two wins.
Seattle (7-6) -- RPI: 290; KenPom: 290 -- Bad Losses: Eastern Washington(2); Opportunities Lost: Eastern Washington(2); Opportunities: NMSU(2). A bottom-of-the-WAC team, this will be easy victories for NMSU.
Utah Valley (6-6) -- RPI: 201; KenPom: 230 -- Good Wins: BYU; Horrible Losses: Texas-San Antonio; Opportunities Lost: Utah; Opportunities: NMSU(2). This team has a good win and horrible loss. But shouldn't be a problem for the Aggies to get a couple of wins.
Northern New Mexico (2-15, NAIA) -- a way-too-easy victory over the Eagles in Albuquerque .. and it will not matter a bit.
UT-Rio Grande Valley (6-8) -- RPI: 289; KenPom: 314 -- Horrible Losses: SE Missouri St.; Opportunities: NMSU(2). These two games should be easy victories.
As can be seen, I expect the Aggies to finish WAC play 13-1 and finish the season with a 27-3 record. The Aggies' RPI and KenPom ratings will be very high and likely result in an at-large bid if they lose in the conference tournament. But any losses in league other than what is expected will certainly mean the at-large possibilities vanish.