Monday, December 31, 2007

WAC predictions ... but for 2025

We are up for the challenge. However, some like to make predictions in late December about the coming new year and we will stick our necks out and go a few steps further -- such as what we see for the year 2025 in the WAC:

*** 37-year old Herb Pope is still awaiting word regarding his eligibility from the NCAA. New Mexico State Coach Reggie Theus Jr. said, "It should be just another day or two and we'll know something for sure. I'm confident Mr. Pope will play this season." To keep in shape, Pope has been playing for the Vatican City European team.

*** WAC Commissar Karl Benson on his recent 'nyet' to UCLA's request to join the WAC: "The fit just didn't seem right at this point. But North Texas State still has a standing invitation to join hands with us."

*** Utah State Coach Stew Morrill on the recent blurry photo in the Salt Lake City Tribune supposedly of him momentarily dancing a jig after a comeback last-second win against BYU in Logan: "It was just a doggone cramp but consider that our record is horrible, Northern Utah Valley State University won't play us because 'we're not a big enough draw,' my team reeks, I couldn't coach five Lebrons to a win right now, the players aren't performing up to their capabilities and we just might lose every game the rest of the season. Other than all that, things are peachy."

*** Sections of Moscow, Idaho were razed to the ground when Vandal fans and supporters got out of control and mayhem ensued after the Idaho State basketball team won two in a row. -- (yeah, yeah, we know it's a cheap shot)

*** The California State University regents announced that enough funding had been raised to resurrect Fresno State University. The school had been shuttered after payouts from various athletic department lawsuits had emptied the university till. Also, rumor has it that Dr. Phil has been hired as an advisor for all the men's sports and Oprah Winfrey for the same role on the women's side. On another note, FSU's mascot has been switched from the Bulldog to the Poodle in order to foster a kinder, gentler athletic department.

*** In a sad note, Jayvee Carroll, the son of Utah State's all-time scorer, failed to make the varsity squad at Logan High.

*** The San Jose State University football stadium has undergone a name change. New major donor Kirk Douglas requested it now be called Spartacus Stadium and the Athletic Department relented.

*** Legal scholars voiced concern in Idaho when the U.S. government filed a Title IX suit against Boise State University for gender discrimination. It seems that Boise State must now be known as Girlse State half the year.

Well, if you made it through all the above ... you defintely deserve to enjoy a happy New Year!

Sunday, December 30, 2007

It has been a good WAC weekend

As for contests involving WAC teams this weekend, we are very glad to report that it was a good series of outcomes overall.

The Aggies notched a very good home win, done in convincing style, against a tough Oral Roberts squad:

Not even close
Shawn Harrison
Logan Herald Journal
December 30, 2007

After three down-to-the-wire finishes against Oral Roberts over the past two seasons, Utah State took care of business early Saturday night.

The Aggie men’s basketball team made sure this one was decided way before the second half even began. USU jumped on the Golden Eagles right out of the gate and cruised to a 76-55 win in front of 7,959 fans at the Dee Glen Smith Spectrum.

“Oral Roberts had played some good teams and played some good basketball this year, so we feel really fortunate,” Aggie head coach Stew Morrill said. “It was a good win...”
Go here for the remainder.


Boise State notches the best win of the night, beating nationally ranked BYU and solidifying the thinking that the Broncos and Utah State are the teams to beat coming into conference play. But also don't forget Nevada with its threesome of Marcelus Kemp, JaVale McGee and Armon Johnson.

Broncos pull upset
Boise State edges BYU for first win over ranked opponent at home since 1998-99 season
Nick Jezierney
Idaho Statesman

Quietly, the Boise State men's basketball team had been putting together a good season that lacked only one thing - a signature victory.

The Broncos now can cross that off their to-do list.

BSU defeated No. 20 BYU 73-70 on Saturday night in front of a season-high 8,779 fans at Taco Bell Arena, earning the program's fourth win in school history against a ranked team and the first at home since beating No. 15 Washington during the 1998-99 season.

BSU (9-3) posted the best nonconference record of any WAC team and is the only one to beat a ranked foe. The Broncos open WAC play Wednesday at home against San Jose State.

"This win is huge for this program," BSU senior Matt Nelson said. "We had the (packed crowd) and we put on a good show for them. We beat a good team. That's what we wanted to do - we wanted to show these guys, the city, what we've been doing this year because we're putting together a pretty good season."

It was BSU's second game against a ranked team this season. The Broncos blew a 13-point lead and lost to unbeaten Washington State, which is ranked fourth. BSU's last win over a ranked team came in its WAC Tournament run in 2005, when the eighth-seeded Broncos beat No. 24 Nevada in Reno...

Go here for the remiander.


Heck, even Louisiana Tech got into the act.

Tech men take down McNeese State
News-Star news services

RUSTON — Louisiana Tech got double-digit scoring from four different players and held on to a double-digit halftime lead en route to a 73-63 victory over McNeese State on Saturday afternoon at the Thomas Assembly Center.
"This was a good win for us tonight," Tech head coach Kerry Rupp said. "It's good to end the preseason on a high note and move in the right direction. We want to give a good effort and enthusiasm and compete the entire time."

Tech (3-9) shot 48.8 percent for the game, including a 7-of-12 outing from 3-point range (58.3 percent). It was the 10th win for the Bulldogs in their last 11 meetings with the Cowboys (6-6).

The Cowboys were dominant on the boards with a 40-25 edge, but the Bulldogs won the turnover battle as they only had eight in the contest. Tech also took care of business at the free throw stripe, knocking down 24 of 33 attempts, season highs in both categories...

Go here for the remainder.


Fresno played Stanford tough:

'Dogs short out vs. Cardinal
Fresno State sees shooting, defense on half of 7-foot twin tandem fail in defeat
Gary Estwick
The Fresno Bee

STANFORD -- Fresno State accomplished half of its game plan, limiting Robin Lopez to six points and three turnovers. His playing time was limited because of foul trouble.

The second phase proved to be a more difficult task.

Brook Lopez, the other 7-foot twin from Memorial High, enjoyed a better outing against his hometown college, scoring a game-high 19 points with 12 rebounds.

And on a Saturday afternoon in which Fresno State failed to take advantage of one of its few offensive equalizers -- the 3-pointer -- the Bulldogs lost a chance to beat a Pac-10 school for the first time in three seasons, losing 55-48 at Maples Pavilion.

"We had good looks," Fresno State coach Steve Cleveland said. "We just didn't make them."

A crowd of 7,329 watched Fresno State, undersized at nearly every position, control the opening 8 minutes of the nonconference game then lose its chance at an upset. The Bulldogs converted 20% of their 3-pointers, which dominated their shot selection in the final minutes...

Go here for the remainder.

Brayden Bell departs

Boy, we give Brayden Bell the stink eye of sorts (just kidding) and then he decides to depart Utah State for what will probably be a D-2 school due to not wanting to sit out yet another season.

Bell quits Utah State
Shawn Harrison
Logan Herald Journal
December 30, 2007

When the Aggie men’s basketball team took the court Saturday night, there was one less player with the Aggies.

That’s because sophomore Brayden Bell decided to call it a career — at least at Utah State. The 6-foot-9 center from Brighton informed Aggie head coach Stew Morrill after the Christmas break.

“Brayden informed us during the break that he had decided not to return,” Morrill said. “I’m not going to comment on all the particular circumstances regarding Brayden’s decision. It’s probably safe to say most of the time in these situations, playing time is the factor. That’s all I’m going to say.”

After redshirting last season with the Aggies, he had seen action in seven games this year. When he did see playing time, he averaged 6.3 minutes, 1.7 points and 1.6 rebounds a game. He was shooting 27.8 percent from the field and 66.7 percent at the free-throw line...

Go here for the remainder.

Saturday, December 29, 2007

'Free Herb Pope' takes on a new meaning


Some New Mexico State basketball fans have taken to wearing t-shirts to Aggie home games that have the message "Free Herb Pope" on the front -- a challenge, plea, whatever, directed towards the NCAA which is still deliberating Pope's eligibility.

Such a message now has multiple meanings.

Basketball standout arrested in Moon
Saturday, December 29, 2007
Colin Dunlap
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Former Aliquippa basketball star Herb Pope Jr.was charged with multiple offenses yesterday by Moon police.

Mr. Pope, 18, was charged with reckless endangerment, driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, underage drinking and a traffic offense.

At 2:27 a.m. Friday, Mr. Pope was found unresponsive in a car stopped in a northbound traffic lane of Business Route 60 near International Drive, according to court documents. When offers approached, they said the engine of the locked car was running and Mr. Pope was alone and in the driver's seat.

Go here for the remainder.

Boise State faces a big test with BYU coming to town

Is Boise State for real this season? A very good test will be tonight when nationally ranked BYU comes to Idaho. A home win and the broncos generate solid respect. A loss and both fans and the media will remain unconvinced that this is the year for Greg Graham and Company.

Fiery Nelson wants to lead Bronco men to Big Dance
Nick Jezierny
Idaho Statesman

There are many ways to describe Boise State basketball player Matt Nelson.
The 6-foot-9 senior forward from Issaquah, Wash., is productive, averaging 14.8 points and 8.2 rebounds a game.

He is emotional, which is easy to see when you watch the preseason second-team All-WAC selection on the court.

The transfer from Eastern Washington is a good teammate - just ask any of the other Broncos, especially the three who share an off-campus house with him.

But when you ask anyone to describe Nelson, the one word that dominates the conversation is competitive.

"He always wants to win - it doesn't matter if it's board games at home or open gyms," teammate and housemate Kurt Cunningham said. "He's just competitive and hates to lose. I think that's what drives him and is why he plays with a chip on his shoulder."

Nelson is expected to play a key role Saturday when the Broncos (8-3) take on 20th-ranked BYU (10-2) at Taco Bell Arena. Tipoff is 7 p.m...

Go here for the remainder.

Hawaii roster down to 10, defensive play needs upgrading

More and more, it appears Hawaii just doesn't have the horses to be a factor in the WAC this season. Both youth and inexperience are also factors. Teams are just shooting too well for the Rainbow Warriors to overcome.

Basketball 'Bows seek to bolster defense
Dayton Morinaga
Honolulu Advertiser
December 29, 2007

The University of Hawai'i men's basketball team wants to start defending its home court successfully again by playing better defense.

The Rainbow Warriors are 3-8, and have lost four consecutive home games, due in large part to defensive lapses.

"We're having way too many breakdowns defensively," Hawai'i head coach Bob Nash said. "We're allowing too many open drives to the basket."

The 'Bows hope to have it corrected by tomorrow, when they host Centenary at 5:05 p.m. at the Stan Sheriff Center.

The defensive deficiencies have been especially frustrating for the returnees from last season's team.

Last season, the 'Bows limited opponents to a .398 field goal percentage. It was the first time that a Hawai'i team held opponents below 40 percent for a season.

This season, opponents have a .458 field goal percentage...

Go here for the remainder.

Besides Jaycee Carroll & Tai Wesley, credit point Kris Clark

Jaycee Carroll (and rightfully so) gets the major kudos whenever Utag State basketball is the subject of a conversation. Recently, freshman Tai Wesley was the subject of a newspaper feature. Noe, it's Kris Clark's turn, he being a critical cog in ensuring the USU squad performs to its potential:

Pass-first Clark assists Ags' effort
Jay Hinton
Deseret Morning News
December 29, 2007

LOGAN — Utah State guard Kris Clark worked on his shooting all summer to improve his offensive game.
For a time, Utah State coach Stew Morrill used the 6-foot-2-inch senior at the small forward position in an effort to remedy the Aggies' early woes at that position.

Morrill called the experiment "poor," not because Clark could score the ball but because they missed his ability to distribute the basketball.

"We want him to be a pass-first guy, and he is," Morrill said. "That has been a real positive for our team this last while (as Kris is) settling in on his role."

Solidly entrenched at the point guard position, Clark's points aren't spectacular but his assists are.

He's averaging 4.5 points per game while shooting 37.7 percent from the field and 28.6 percent from the 3-point line. He has a team-high 85 assists with only 27 turnovers. Three other players on the team have more.

"He's settled in at playing the point for our team and shooting sparingly," Morrill said. "Most of his shots come on the break when he's got the opportunity there or where someone kicks out to him when he's wide open later in the shot clock."

In his last seven games, Clark had 41 assists and just eight turnovers. In two of the games he didn't turn the ball over, and never did he have more than two in the other games...

Go here for the remainder.

Friday, December 28, 2007

Condolences to Stephen Verwers

Hawaii's starting center Stephen Verwers has broken his leg and looks to be done for this season -- his final one.

Verwers was in the midst of his most productive year to date.

Here's the link.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Brayden Bell MIA

Since we whispered the praises of Utah State in our previous post, here's one that isn't so positive.

Again, we want to stress that WE missed on this one. In a sense, it has nothing to do with Bell -- he didn't announce to the world how good and productive he was going to be right away. No, that's what we did, it was both our expectation and prediction. That's one difference we wish to stress -- his inability to perform well makes US look the fool and we readily admit the egg is all over OUR face. But on too many sites and message boards (especially the latter), this entire post would have been a rip job on Bell, chock full of derogatory drivel and self-righteous bleatings in a not-so-veiled attempt to hide the fact the author or authors got it wrong.

Brayden Bell

We flat out missed on this one -- at least for this season.

Now we feel no need to perform any Bell-bashing and such is not the intent of this post. However, we fully expected Bell to be productively sharing time with newcomer Gary Wilkinson as the Utah State center tandem, or even alongside one another but only Wilkinson has come through so far.

For those of you unfamiliar with Brayden Bell, at 6-9 250 he went from the Utah prep ranks to Ohio State. Playing little -- as expected for most freshmen entering the ranks of the BIg 10 -- he saw action in just seven games, averaging 1.4 points and 2.3 rebounds per game. With Greg Oden looming on the horizon, Bell knew his immediate situation would not become better so he returned home.

After redshirting last year but still practicing and learning both Stew Morrill's system and expectations, here are Bell's numbers to date:

*** he has played in but seven of the Aggies 14 games to date and been on the court for just 44 minutes total.

In fact, Bell's lack of production led to Coach Morrill's decision to play freshman Modou Niang, 6-9 240, a raw talent who had been expected to redshirt this season.

Granted, Bell is a sophomore in athletic eligibility and certainly has the time ahead of him to make strides. It's not like his college basketball career is over.

But Morrill also obtained some additional insurance during the November signing period in center Bryce Webster. From the Utah State news release on Webster:

"...Webster, a 6-9, 240-pound center, is currently a sophomore at Irvine Valley Community College in Irvine, Calif., and is averaging 11.9 points, 5.1 rebounds and 1.9 blocks per game while shooting 60.3 percent from the field. As a college freshman, Webster started seven games and played in 28 at the University of Minnesota and averaged 1.7 points and 1.2 rebounds.

As a prep senior at St. Thomas Academy in Minneapolis, Webster earned first-team all-state honors as both a junior and senior and was named the Minneapolis Star Tribune Metro Player of the year in 2006 as he averaged 21.6 points, 11.5 rebounds and 3.5 blocks per game en route to being ranked the 18th-best center in the country by, and the 83rd-best player in the country by

"Bryce is a humble and hard-working individual who wants to get better," said Irvine Valley head coach Jerry Hernandez. "He is a big, strong and active player who is mobile and a very good defender..."

Webster is a work in progress himself but also one who could very well put another obstacle in front of Bell and his efforts to get some playing time. or maybe the presence of Webster will provide further incentive for Bell.

Utah State set to make a move?

The Utah State Aggies struggled out of the gate this season but have put together a nice run of late. Is it a sign of Stew Morrill's squad being ready to tackle the rigors of the WAC or possibly a fleeting illusion?

The schedule has helped the Aggies, both in being at home and with the roster of opponents but it does seem that Morrill's tinkering with the starting lineup is paying dividends.

Utah State improving after sluggish start
Shawn Harrison
Logan Herald Journal
December 27, 2007

Back in mid-November when the Aggie men’s basketball team was 2-3, there was some concern.

Make that more than concern. Fans were starting to worry.

How could Utah State, which was tabbed by many preseason polls to win the Western Athletic Conference, be under .500? The Aggies had even received votes in The Associated Press Top 25 preseason poll.

Now they had a losing record for the first time at this juncture of a season since 1995.

My thoughts turned to several conversations I’ve had with USU head coach Stew Morrill over the past few years. Morrill had never gotten off to a 2-3 start during his previous nine seasons at the Aggie helm, but the ever-cautious coach had warned about a year when there may be a dip.

But how could this be happening right now. This team was supposed to be so good.

“It started slower than I thought it would be with all the preseason hype,” Aggie guard Jaycee Carroll said. “People thought there was something wrong with us when we were losing and right around .500.”

There are a few factors that we should have all seen, but that seems to have been addressed. The Aggies are back winning again — four in a row and six of their last seven. Obviously, being at home and the level of competition has played a part.

I’ve noticed, however, that this young team is starting to gain confidence. Winning will do that. USU (9-5) also needs to keep the momentum going as the WAC season is fast approaching.

“We’re getting better,” Morrill said. “That’s what I told them after the (Gossner Classic championship) game. We’re making progress...”

Go here for the remainder of the article.

Jason Groves J.D.

If it continues on for much longer than Las Cruces Sun-News reporter Jason Groves may just be able to pass the state bar in New Mexico. That's how well versed one could get after following the Herb Pope case.

NMSU weighing risk regarding Pope
Jason Groves
Las Cruces Sun-News

Following a 70-65 loss at Louisville on Saturday, New Mexico State University men's basketball players, coaches and staff continued to filter back to Las Cruces after head coach Marvin Menzies gave the team time off.

The Aggies did not practice on Wednesday, but when they do return to the practice court later this week, freshman forward Herb Pope is expected to be on the practice court.

On Friday, State District Judge Jerald Valentine signed a restraining order restraining the NCAA from declaring Pope ineligible and ordering New Mexico State University to give him his Pell Grant.

NMSU Athletics Director McKinley Boston said Pope could still make his debut with the Aggies on Monday against Alcorn State, but he is cautious due to potential sanctions against the university...
Go here for the remainder.

Monday, December 24, 2007

A WAC version of 'The Night Before Christmas'

Special thanks to Clement Clarke Moore for the inspiration...

Twas the night before Christmas when all through the WAC
not a team was a-playin' not even the furriest of gym rats
the coaches' stockings were hung by their chimneys with care
in the hopes that a WAC championship would soon be theirs

'On Jaycee Carroll' shouted Utah State's Stew Morrill
While Fresno's Steve Cleveland yodeled 'Go Kevin Bell'
'Now Marcelus Kemp' uttered Nevada's mentor Mark Fox
While Bob Nash grabbed and guessed what was in his gift box
George Pfeiffer collected as many gifts as he could carry
Greg Graham offered blessings for having forward Reggie Larry
Kerry Rupp's simple warning was 'just wait til next year'
"I'm not Reggie' Marvin Menzies stated without fear
George Nessman had already received his very own Adrian Oliver
'Please ESPN, please ESPN' begged Karl Benson the Commissioner

The jolly red fat man stopped at the house of each WAC coach
Drank the milk and ate the cookies offered by each host
Ol' St. Nick shouted as he drove his sleigh out of sight,
"Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good-night."

Washington's Adrian Oliver to San Jose State

Stop the presses, this is big -- Adrian Oliver is transferring to SJSU.

Hey, are you sure it isn't December 25 today?

Well, we've double and triple-checked our 2007 calendar and Christmas is still a day away but Coach George Nessman and his staff, the San Jose State University basketball team and all SJSU hoop fans just got the very best of holiday presents.

Read on courtesy of A.W. Prince, the elite Bay Area basketball guru, who ALWAYS has the details.

A.W. Prince
December 22, 2007

Adrian Oliver was one of the most heavily recruited basketball prospects in the 2006 class, with offers from Kentucky, Cal, and Washington among the many suitors. After starring at Modesto (Calif.) Christian high school, which included two California Div. 5 Player of the Year honors plus one state championship, Oliver selected Washington. However, after a year in Seattle, Oliver is headed back to the Bay.

After looking at a number of transfer options, including the Pac-10 and the WCC, Oliver selected San Jose State. He’s close with a number of players on the Spartan roster, having teamed with nearly a quarter of his future teammates as part of Oakland Soldiers AAU team.

“It is a perfect situation for me,” Oliver said.

“The first thing I noticed about San Jose State and the entire program is the togetherness they have as a group. I was certainly looking for that – that was one of the top things that I wanted to find. Just watching the team practice, and then play, I want to step in to something like that.”

“The second thing is Coach (George) Nessman. I have full trust in him. I love the way he coaches, and I believe he can help me develop to my fullest...”

Go here for the complete article.

A Wolf Pack fan wish list

Tyler Bickerton provides his holiday wish list in regards to Nevada Wolf Pack men's basketball. A couple of items are actually surprising considering what a powerhouse Mark Fox and Company have been in the WAC for some time now -- those being a paucity of students in attendance and the somnolent atmosphere in the building.

Pack guest column: Holiday wishes for Nevada basketball
Tyler C. Bickerton
Reno Gazette Journal

...For the Students

I would like to see an increased number of students attending Nevada basketball games.

The student section has been an utter disappointment this year as it has been half empty and very lethargic for the majority of the home contests.

In years past, the energy created in the student section would vociferously impact the rest of the fans in Lawlor, creating a raucous environment for the visiting team. Hopefully, with finals behind the students, the attendance, noise and the home-court advantage will return to Reno.

For the Fans

The fans could use a much better game-day atmosphere. Am I the only one who despises the Zombie Nation song? It could be that this song just brings up bad memories of me sitting in Dodger Stadium wearing a Giants hat.

The Zombie Nation doesn't work when there are only 6,000 people in attendance. The only part of the pre-game ritual that I enjoy is the video on the scoreboard where coach Mark Fox is jumping up and down.

Thus far this season, the atmosphere for home games has the pulse of a senior citizen center. Commercials during timeouts? Give me a break -- how many of you have bought a Jeep as a result of the commercials? The announcer attempts to get the crowd excited, but he repeatedly fails until something about a free T-shirt is mentioned. And he has to knock off the obnoxious "shoooooooting two" thing he does before free throws...

Go here for the complete column.

Nevada ready to make a move?

Nevada may be poised to make a move as the WAC conference games approach. The Wolf Pack, Utah State and Boise State seem on the cusp.

Pack basketball: Minutes are up for grabs in backcourt
Steve Sneddon
Reno Gazette-Journal

It's a different kind of juggling act.

Spheroids aren't being juggled. Minutes for perimeter players are also up in the air for the Nevada basketball team. Lyndale Burleson made his season debut in the Wolf Pack's 55-52 win at Northern Iowa on Saturday afternoon, logging 26 minutes and finishing with eight points.

Where did coach Mark Fox find the 26 minutes on the perimeter for Burleson, who was ineligible for the first semester? Only top scorer Marcelus Kemp played as many minutes, 34, as he is averaging for the season.

Armon Johnson was averaging 34.4 minutes and played 23 on Saturday with Brandon Fields averaging 33.4 minutes and playing 31. Freshman Malik Cooke dropped from averaging 11.6 minutes to five and junior college transfer Ray Kraemer, who is averaging 7.2 minutes this season, didn't play against Northern Iowa. The difference in playing time for those four players adds up to 27 minutes...

Go here for the remainder.

Herb Pope to practice with team

Christmas came early to both Herb Pope and Coach Marvin Menzies, as well as the entire Aggie men's basketball team, as the freshman power forward is to begin practicing.

As usual Jason Groves is on top of it all:

Aggie notes: Pope to practice with team
Jason Groves
Las Cruces Sun-News

LAS CRUCES - After filing and being awarded a court ordered injunction on Friday, New Mexico State University freshman forward Herb Pope is slated to rejoin his Aggies teammates in practice this week.

"That's the plan," said NMSU men's basketball coach Marvin Menzies, who will return to Las Cruces to hold practice Dec. 26.

On Friday, State District Judge Jerald Valentine signed a restraining order restraining the NCAA from declaring Pope ineligible and ordering New Mexico State University to give him his Pell Grant, according to Pope's attorney, Stephen Hubert of Las Cruces...

Go here for the rest of the article.

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Let's regale the WAC from Saturday night

Hey, we have the opportunity to mix the good with the bad and are we going to run with it today.

Without further ado:

Fresno tops Pacific, which might not seem like much to crow about being the WAC over the Big West but based on the Bulldog season to date and the final score...

Bulldogs gather some steam
Bell scores 24 as men's hoops attack clicks in victory against Pacific
Gary Estwick
The Fresno Bee

Bell sprinted until he nearly collided with Johnson, forcing the defender to pick a direction. Johnson chose right, so Bell spun left. Bell absorbed a foul, finished with a layup and gazed into the Save Mart Center announced crowd of 9,728, witness to Fresno State's best offensive effort of the season.

Bell's efforts during a second-half run served as the foundation of Saturday's 75-58 nonconference win.

"That's my game," Bell said of his twisting, turning maneuver.

He finished with 24 points and five assists, proving that the 7-5 Bulldogs, who have struggled to meet preseason expectations, still have enough talent to make a run early next month in the Western Athletic Conference.

Bell, a senior, has carried Fresno State during the first two months of the season as it recovers from the dismissal of Rekalin Sims, Dwight O'Neil's broken right wrist and shooting woes by Hector Hernandez and Bryan Harvey. Bell runs the offense as point guard with shooting restrictions -- he can look for his shot as the shot clock winds down and in transition. Still, he entered the game as Fresno State's leading scorer.

He had plenty of help Saturday.

Eddie Miller scored 15 points, all on 3-pointers. Hernandez and Harvey added 10 apiece, helping the Bulldogs, using their new motion offense, score their highest point total since an 85-80 overtime win Dec. 5 against Division II Cal State-Monterey Bay.

"This is as good as we've played all season against a quality opponent," Fresno State coach Steve Cleveland said. "I do like the development of what we're trying to do with the ball..."

Go here for the rest.


Boise State eventually notches a solid road win...

Bronco men rally from 14 down for road win
Reggie Larry scores 22 points in front of friends and family to help Boise State win its fifth consecutive road game.
Idaho Statesman

The Boise State men's basketball team rallied from a double-digit deficit in the second half Saturday night and grabbed a 74-68 win at Albany in New York.
Senior Reggie Larry, playing in front of a busload of his friends and family, scored 22 points and pulled down 12 rebounds to help the Broncos win their fifth consecutive road game of the season.

BSU (8-3) trailed 51-37 with 16 minutes, 30 seconds left in the game, prompting coach Greg Graham to take a timeout. Albany had closed the first half on an 8-3 run and started the second on a 7-0 spurt.

"We just challenged them," Graham said on his postgame radio show. "There was plenty of time left. We didn't do anything special. We just sucked it up and did what we were supposed to do."

Larry, who is from Newark, N.J., scored six consecutive points to pull the Broncos within 62-61. Then, sophomore point guard Anthony Thomas took over, hitting a long 3-pointer to give BSU its first lead since 21-20 midway through the first half.

After Albany scored, Thomas hit three straight baskets that allowed BSU to overtake the Great Danes (5-6), who had been perfect at home this season and had won 20 of their previous 22 games at SEFCU Arena.

"That was a very, very good road win," Graham said. "Our guys believed and hung tough. I'm proud of them..."

Go here for the rest.


NMSU plays Louisville tough on the road...

Aggies fall at Louisville, now 5-9
Jason Groves
Las Cruces Sun-News

LOUISVILLE, Ky. - Sometimes when you don't plan for something, it works out.

New Mexico State University entered Saturday's non-conference game at Louisville shorthanded, but the Aggies didn't play like it.

Trailing by 14 and 12 in the second half against Louisville, the Aggies fought back to within three late in the second half before falling short, 70-65, on Saturday at Freedom Hall.

Playing without senior center Hatila Passos and junior guard Paris Carter, who were both suspended on Friday for violation of team rules, the Aggies only played eight, going with a small lineup for long stretches.

The Aggies fell to 5-9 overall and 0-7 away from the Pan American Center, but NMSU head coach Marvin Menzies said he has some positive things to take into the Christmas holiday.

"Sometimes when you get adversity like that, the flip side is you get guys playing a little tougher and harder - a little more aggressive," said Menzies, who returned to Freedom Hall after spending the last two years as an assistant coach under Louisville head coach Rick Pitino. "I'm just proud of the guys that showed up and played well. I don't have a crystal ball to know what would have happened if they (Passos and Carter) had been here."

The Aggies have struggled answering runs on the road thus far, but in the toughest of environments, NMSU never let down. "I thought they played a very good game," said Pitino, whose team moved to 7-3 on the season. "They played like a wounded tiger and did a very good job."

Leading 12 at halftime, the Cardinals built 12 and 14-point leads in the second half, but unlike other road games this season, the Aggies answered...

Go here for the rest.


Nevada takes the measure of Northern Iowa on the road...

Pack basketball: Nevada snares win over Northern Iowa
Steve Sneddon
December 23, 2007

CEDAR FALLS, Iowa — The Nevada basketball did a lot of bending, but didn’t break when it mattered most.

After leading by 14 points twice, the Wolf Pack had to withstand a furious Northern Iowa charge at the end to hold on for a 55-52 victory in front of 4,883 fans at McLeod Center on Saturday afternoon. Fog, show and ice helped make it a difficult trip for the Pack. A late 17-5 Panther run — before Marcelus Kemp hit two free throws with one second left for a three-point victory — was just one more thing to overcome.

“We’re growing up slowly,” Nevada coach Mark Fox said. “We still make a lot of young plays during the games that we haven’t seen in a few years. But they don’t get through their adolescence overnight. I thought under the circumstances, they responded. We need games like this even though they’re hard to watch for us.”

The Pack had looked solidly in control when Kemp hit a free throw to extend the lead to 13 points at 48-35 with six minutes and 50 seconds left in the game. Eric Coleman, a 6-foot-6 center who comes off the bench after being a starter his first three seasons, scored 10 of his 18 points in the final 5:17. Coleman scored on a reverse layup to cut the deficit to 53-52 with 1:04 remaining.

But after both teams called timeouts with 25 seconds left, the Panthers were unable to get the ball inside to Coleman again and Kemp blocked Travis Brown’s jumper. Northern Iowa coach Ben Jacobson tried to call a timeout three times in the final sequence, but couldn’t get the officials’ attention. After getting the ball back, Brown took another jumper before Kemp got the rebound and was fouled by Coleman with one second to go.

“Any road win will help us,” Kemp said. “I think any win is good for our confidence. We’ll take the win in stride and keep doing what we’ve been doing.”
The win was the fifth in a row for the Pack, which will take a 7-4 record into its game at No. 1-ranked North Carolina on Thursday night. Northern Iowa dropped to 8-3...

Go here for the rest.


Idaho gets a moral victory -- if such an entity exists -- in playing Arizona State very tough...

Idaho falls short at Arizona State, 76-65
Courtesy: Idaho Athletic Media Relations

TEMPE, Ariz. – The 3-pointers kept them in it, but fouls and unforced turnovers left them short as the Vandals fell 76-65 at Arizona State Saturday.

Idaho (3-8) hit 13 3-pointers in the contest, but was outscored by 11 points at the free throw line and committed nine unforced turnovers as Arizona State (9-2) won its fifth-straight game.

Overall, it was a positive step for Idaho as the team wrapped up its non-conference schedule against an opponent which is 7-0 at home this season, which includes a victory over No. 17 Xavier.

“We are not happy with our record, but our team is really starting to fight and compete,” Idaho coach George Pfeifer said. “If we would have been in this type of game in this type of environment a month ago we would have been blown away.”

Idaho was led by Mike Hall’s 18 points on 4-of-8 shooting from behind the arc. After scoring just 17 points through the first eight games, Hall has exploded for 31 points in the last two contests. He also was 4-of-4 at the free throw line and finished with two assists, steals, and rebounds.

Terrence Simmons scored nine points in his first start of the season and was 3-of-3 from beyond the 3-point arc in the first half. He also led the team with five rebounds. Mike Kale and Jordan Brooks also added nine points each.

As a team, Idaho shot a better percentage than its opponents as it hit 21-of-42 (.500) shots and finished 13-of-23 (.565) from beyond the arc. The Vandals shot better from the free throw line at 10-of-14 (.714), but their 24 fouls contributed to 27 free throw attempts for the Sun Devils. Arizona State hit 24 of those 27 attempts.

Jeff Pendergraph was the thorn in Idaho’s side as he scored a career-high 27 points on 7-of-9 shooting. He also hit 13-of-14 free throws and grabbed 10 rebounds.

“We got soft on the perimeter, which really put the pressure on the post players because they could move the basketball where they wanted it,” Pfeifer said. “We got some fouls called underneath and (Pendergraph) made almost as many free throws as we attempted.”

Idaho gained an early 5-2 lead before an 8-0 run from Arizona State put the Vandals behind 13-5 at the 12:40 mark. The Sun Devils stretched the lead to 11 points on two occasions, but the Vandals were able to hang around with their 3-point shooting. Nine of Idaho’s 11 field goals in the first half were from beyond the arc and the Vandals trailed just 34-32 at halftime.

The 3-point bonanza continued into the second half as Idaho recorded a span of 27-of-28 points from beyond the 3-point line and missed just one attempt during the stretch. The ninth 3-pointer pulled Idaho within 39-38 with 17:57 remaining in the contest, but Arizona State used an 8-0 to pull ahead 47-38. A 6-0 run pulled the Vandals to within two points, but the Sun Devils were able to keep them at bay. Hall hit his fourth 3-pointer with 2:47 remaining to bring Idaho to within 67-63, but Arizona State answered with a 3-pointer on the ensuing possession. Kale brought Idaho within five with a lay in with two minutes remaining, but Arizona State hit all six of its free throws in the final two minutes for the 11-point victory.

“We gave up some transition baskets which we knew were going to be really key tonight,” Pfeifer said. “This is a team that zones to death and we were able to come back and get some big stops with our own zone defense. We put in a bunch of zone offenses for this game and we were a little tentative to use them in the beginning of the game. As the game started to move along we began to do some good things with it.”


Hawaii continues to hurt...even at home

Georgia holds off 'Bows' rally, 67-59
Dayton Morinaga
Honolulu Advertiser
December 23, 2007

In a game of naughty and nice, the University of Hawai'i men's basketball team lost to Georgia, 67-59, in the 44th annual Outrigger Hotels Rainbow Classic yesterday.

The Rainbow Warriors fell behind in the first half without starting point guard Matt Gibson, who was suspended for disciplinary reasons. They then rallied with him in the second half to cut a 21-point deficit down to five in the closing minutes.

Ultimately, the 'Bows were left gift-less during a forgettable week.

Hawai'i went 0-3 in the eight-team tournament to drop to 3-7 overall. It was the seventh time in the 44-year history of the Classic that Hawai'i finished in last place, and the first time it happened since 1995.

A crowd of 1,722 at the Stan Sheriff Center watched yesterday's 11 a.m. game.

Georgia improved to 7-3 and finished in seventh place.

"We showed that we're resilient to the end, and that we're going to compete and we're going to fight," senior tri-captain Bobby Nash said. "That second half, it was a totally different ball club."

Head coach Bob Nash said Gibson was suspended for the first half because: "We have a certain standard in our locker room that we have to adhere to, and that standard was broken."

Hawai'i outscored the Bulldogs, 40-30, in the second half. Gibson played all 20 minutes of the second half and finished with a game-high 16 points...

Go here for the rest.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Your daily New Mexico State legal update

Here's your daily New Mexico State men's basketball legal brief, courtesy as usual of the Las Cruces Sun-News and Jason Groves. First this:

Jason Groves
Saturday, December 22, 2007
Two hours until gametime

I was informed that the injunction is still in place, but Pope will not play today, even if he made the trip to Louisville. The two sides will meet again in a scheduled hearing Jan. 14. I will update this post when I get to the arena.

Followed by a much lengthier article:

Pope's attorney says player is cleared; Hawkins to play vs Louisville
Jason Groves
Las Cruces Sun-News

Herb Pope's attorney Stephen Hubert of Las Cruces said that the player has been cleared to play basketball for the Aggies.

"(State District) Judge Jerald Valentine today signed a restraining order restraining the NCAA from declaring Mr. Pope ineligible and ordering New Mexico State University to give him his Pell Grant," Hubert said.

NMSU Athletics Director McKinley Boston confirmed the report.

"The judge did rule that Herb was eligible to be treated as a student athlete and we are now having conversations with the NCAA regarding the injunction as it relates to NCAA Bylaw 19," Boston said. "There is an injunction and the judge ruled he was eligible pending the outcome of the initial eligibility certification process."

Boston could not determine if Pope would be joining the Aggies in Louisville.

"It's great news, because No. 1, it means he can receive financial aide," Boston said.

Boston said the bylaw contains 19 penalties that can be imposed on NMSU if Pope does not win his lawsuit.

"That's the question that we are dealing with at the moment," Boston said.

Valentine scheduled another hearing on the matter for Jan. 14...

Go here for the complete article.

Reassurance for you Fresno fans

Actually, the title of this blog entry is misleading because it seems to be a black and white divide regarding Coach Steve Cleveland and his ability to right the highly smudged if not black-eyed men's basketball program at FSU.

Cleveland seems to have his stout defenders and his vociferous detractors, with neither side willing to give so much as an inch.

Our take is that Cleveland is the right person AND coach for the job -- someone who won't lie, cheat or steal -- or dial up recruiting targets as if he had stock in Verizon. He will restore the Bulldog program to a degree of stature -- maybe not like Tark did -- those last three words having dual meaning and certainly nothing like Ray (Can You Hear Me Now) Lopes.

Too many fans want an immediate turnaround but something like that is impossible what with the dirty baggage the Fresno State reputation is still carrying. Cleveland didn't create the loss of basketball scholarships plus any legal 'concerns' any of his players develop, fairly or unfairly, get judged in the context of the sordid Bulldog history. Translation: Rekalin Sims plays this year if not for the previous garbage that has gone in with previous coaching administrations.

Anyway, here some support for Cleveland:

Steve Cameron: Relax, future's fine for Fresno State Hoops
Merced Sun Star
December 22, 2007

FRESNO -- Care to ponder Fresno State's basketball prospects for the long term?

Or how about a medium view -- say, looking ahead a couple of months?

Either option would be a bit more cheery than analyzing the present. Like tonight's bout with Pacific at the Save Mart Center, for instance.

Steve Cleveland's bunch find themselves in a rare situation, underdogs at home against an opponent in roughly the same weight class.

"Pacific has beaten Nevada, one of the top teams in our league, and won at Santa Clara," Cleveland said when asked to assess the 8-3 Tigers. "They've got talent and they'll play some good stuff.

"We'll definitely have to take a step forward to win this game."

Frankly, this isn't quite where the Dogs expected to find themselves -- not after winning 22 games a year ago and earning an NIT berth during Cleveland's second year at the wheel.

The former BYU coach inherited a ridiculous mess at Fresno State -- institutional chaos, NCAA sanctions, loss of scholarships -- and yet he managed to get the Dogs onto an amazing upward curve.


And playing by the rules...

Go here for the complete article.

Hawaii still stumbling

Hawaii is still stumbling around and not yet able to play consistent basketball. It's a case of JC newcomers still getting acclimated, freshman in the learning process and seniors not able to carry the team until their teammates develop.

St. John's frustrates UH
Dayton Morinaga
Honolulu Advertiser
December 22, 2007

Even while playing a rare lunch-time game, the University of Hawai'i men's basketball team couldn't catch a break yesterday.

The Rainbow Warriors once again experienced a frustrating finish, this one in the form of a 68-62 loss to St. John's in a consolation game of the 44th annual Outrigger Hotels Rainbow Classic.

An afternoon crowd of 1,241 at the Stan Sheriff Center watched the 'Bows drop to 3-6, including 0-2 in the Classic.

Hawai'i will play Georgia in the seventh-place game today at 11 a.m. St. John's, which improved to 5-3, will play Tulane for the consolation championship.

"We don't want to be the only team that didn't get a win (in the tournament)," Hawai'i senior tri-captain Riley Luettgerodt said. "So that's motivation. We just need to get a win."

For the second consecutive game, the 'Bows fumbled away key possessions in the closing minutes.

Hawai'i trailed by as many as nine points in the second half, but cut it to 60-59 with 3:35 remaining. However, the 'Bows committed two turnovers and got out-scored 8-3 the rest of the way.

"It's a recurring thing," Hawai'i head coach Bob Nash said. "We turn the ball over at inopportune times. We can't afford to do that."

The 'Bows followed a similar script in a 61-59 loss to Louisiana-Lafayette in a first-round game Wednesday. That sent Hawai'i to the afternoon consolation bracket for the first time since 1995...

Go here for the rest.

Is it a trend...or not?

Of all the teams in the WAC, Utah State appears to be the one that has 'righted' itself the most and seems ready to re-claim its status or co-status as top dog in the Western Athletic Conference.

Still, the Aggies aren't blowing anyone away. Stew Morrill's squad faces Oral Roberts before heading into conference play against Hawaii, Nevada, New Mexico State and Boise State right off the bat. But only the Nevada game is on the road.

That part of the schedule should certainly give a solid indication of the state of the Aggies.

USU: Aggies win another Gossner Classic
Martin Renzhofer
The Salt Lake Tribune

LOGAN - During Friday night's post-game interview, Utah State's Jaycee Carroll momentarily forgot who the Aggies had played.

As if it really mattered; all teams are meat for Carroll, who, for the second consecutive night - and the first time in his high-scoring career - poured in more than 30 points, 33 to be exact as USU (9-5) defeated physical Northern Arizona, 78-62 in front of 8,109 in the Smith Spectrum.

"We talked about stopping him and forcing other guys to beat us," NAU coach Mike Adras said. "But there were a couple times when we just couldn't defend that guy. You know, he's pretty good."

So, it was no surprise that Carroll's 65 points in two days was good enough to win the Most Valuable Player award for the Gossner Classic.

"The more I play, the more I am convinced that when Jaycee plays like that we win," said USU center Gary Wilkinson, who added 14 points. "It's fun to play with someone who draws so much attention."

During the two-day tournament, Carroll was 23 of 31, including 9 of 13 from beyond the three-point line...
Go here for the rest.

Friday, December 21, 2007

more on D.J. Wright

On December 17, we posted about a Jimmy Watson-written Shreveport Times report indicating Louisiana Tech recruit D. J. Wright had been determined not eligible by the NCAA and wouldn't be in Ruston this season.

The article didn't indicate anything about Wright's future plans.

Here's the initial three paragraphs to help refresh your memory:

"D.J. Wright fails to qualify.

One of the most highly touted recruits announced by Louisiana Tech coach Kerry Rupp this summer will not be attending the school.

D.J. Wright did not qualify academically to enroll at Tech, according to a souce at the school. That means that Wright will have to go the JUCO route or sit out a year to become eligible.

Wright is a 6-foot-7 perimeter player from Sault St. Marie, Ontario, who originally committed to LSU. He averaged 22.5 points and 12.5 rebounds for his high school career at Toronto Academy Prep and was expected to team with LSU transfer Magnum Rolle to create opponent miss matches for Rupp's squad next fall..."

A few days later after we re-posted Watson's article, we received the following. In following up, we received the okay to post this but not the name of the person who sent it:

"Your feature about D J Wright is incorrect. I don't know who Jimmy Watson is but he lacks credibility as a journalist as he did not do any research for that article. He had no quotes from anybody that has knowledge of the situation. His quotes were from past articles, he has not spoken to any of DJ's future coaches, high school coaches, aau coaches, family or friends about the situation or even a current player at Louisiana Tech who is friends with D J, Olu Ashaolu. I know people who are close to the situation and DJ did not take his SAT test in time to qualify because of family and personal problems that I am not at liberty to get into. I think if Jimmy Watson did his research, he could have found that out. He is scheduled to take the test in the next couple of weeks in hopes of qualifying for the fall. His plans are now to redshirt this year and play as a freshman next year. He is in Canada working with some of the National Team (Team Canada) coaches on his game and his body. From talking to the coaches, he has grown to 6'8" with shoes, he has gained 16 pounds of muscle and now weighs 238 lbs and is quicker and more athletic. The coaches have fielded calls from Syracuse, Minnesota, Kansas, Texas A&M and others about his situation, but D J maintains that he can't wait to get to Louisiana Tech because of his relationship with Coach Nikita Johnson. Also because of the fact that his old AAU teammate, Olu Ashalou has kept in contact with him, keeping him updated with the team and the excitement about turning the program around next year.

I think you need to correct that article and tell Jimmy Watson to his job as a journalist."

The original article wasn't our feature -- it didn't originate with us --so we located Jummy Watson's email address and sent it to the person who emailed us with the above.

Hopefully, Watson or another member of the media covering LA TECH men's basketball will produce the definitive article on D.J. Wright's current status and future plans.

Pope headed to court? Hawkins is eligible

Why is it that New Mexico State seems to making the most news of all the WAC teams? Curiously, it 's more about off-the-court issues.

From the Las Cruces Sun News web site comes two more updates:

BREAKING: Pope's attorney says player is cleared
Sun News Report

Herb Pope's attorney Stephen Hubert said that the player has been cleared to play basketball for the Aggies. Hubert said that Judge Jerald Valentine signed a release for Pope's Pell Grant , releasing him to play for NMSU.

"Judge Jerald Valentine today signed a restraining order restraining the NCAA from declaring Mr. Pope ineligible and ordering New Mexico State University to give him his Pell Grant," Hubert said.

NMSU has not confirmed the report.

OUR TAKE: Okay, now why is this a Pell Grant concern and not an athletic scholarship one? Is it because Pope has gone the financial aid route -- Pell Grant --something available to any student who, based on family income, qualifies instead of waiting and sitting out until the NCAA makes a athletic scholarship eligibility determination? Are we missing something here? Any assistance from any financial aid gurus out there in the audience would be appreciated.


Justin Hawkins to play on Saturday at Louisville
Teddy Feinberg
Las Cruces Sun-News

New Mexico State University Athletics Director McKinley Boston confirmed Friday morning that Aggie forward Justin Hawkins will play in Saturday's game at Louisville.

Hawkins' status was initially in doubt because of academic issues following NMSU's fall semester. The player returned to Las Cruces following the team's Wednesday night loss to the University of New Mexico in Albuquerque. He will be rejoining the Aggies prior to their game against Louisville.

"Justin Hawkins will be playing tomorrow," Boston said. "His issues have been cleared on our end. He will be eligible to play for the remainder of the year."

Two other players, senior center Hatila Passos and junior guard Paris Carter, are facing similar situations as Hawkins. Both of them remain in a state of flux and appear unlikely to appear in Saturday's contest.

"(Passos and Carter) will remain in Las Cruces until their issues are resolved," Boston said.

OUR TAKE: May it's just the way it happened to play out and simply a coincidence but the best player on the team gets his situation cleared up first while a contributor and a seldom-used newcomer await determinations. Plus, why isn't Coach Marvin Menzies doing the announcing instead of the A.D.? Could it be because Menzies is in Louisville with the rest of the team?

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Herb Pope getting lawyered up?

The NCAA fully deserves this -- if it comes true -- with its care less, nonchalant attitude. But one question bears asking: who is paying for the lawyer needed to deal with the injunction court and paperwork process?

Herb Pope/Kenny Thomas
Teddy Feinberg
Las Cruces Sun-News
December 20, 2007

An unnamed source informed the Sun News on Thursday that there is a realistic chance that NMSU freshman forward Herb Pope will seek an injunction, which would allow him to practice and play for the Aggies this season pending the outcome of the initial certification process. The source also included Pope's fall semester was a successful one at NMSU in the classroom...

Go here for the rest of the blog entry.

Parsing the Aggies?

No, the name of this blog hasn't been changed but it sure seems more items get posted about New Mexico State men's basketball than any other WAC member.

Here comes a bunch more.

Jason Groves has been busy today with a couple of items-turned-into-articles. It always astounds us when seniors -- the supposed leaders on a team -- fall down in their respective commitments to academics. It's not like they have a couple more years to get back on the court.

Hawkins, Passos, Carter face eligibility issues
Jason Groves
Las Cruces Sun-News

LAS CRUCES - New Mexico State University men's basketball coach Marvin Menzies confirmed reports on Thursday morning that three players were not with the team as it traveled to Louisville for a game on Saturday.

Senior starters Justin Hawkins and Hatila Passos and junior Paris Carter returned to Las Cruces following the Aggies' 83-69 loss at the University of New Mexico on Wednesday night.

"They have to clear up some academic stuff before they can go out and play," Menzies said. "I am hoping they can get on a plane this afternoon. I found out after the game lastnight. Nothing is official. I am waiting to get some response from the academic people at our place."

NMSU Compliance Officer Braun Cartwright said NMSU is in the process of evaluating fall semester grades for student athletes. He said grades were made official on Thursday morning.

"We haven't made any final determinations," Cartwright said. "After each semester, we have to review that term's grades and GPA for the following semester."

This lengthier article followed:

COMMENTARY: New staff's honeymoon period ends
Jason Groves
Las Cruces Sun-News

LAS CRUCES - If there were any questions about when the honeymoon period for New Mexico State University men's basketball coach Marvin Menzies would end, those questions were answered in front of 17,243 Lobo fans on Wednesday night.

After an 83-69 loss to the University of New Mexico in Albuquerque, Menzies said that the blame fell on him for not having his players ready for the road, where the Aggies fell to 0-6 on the year and 5-8 overall.

The Aggies were down one at the half and took a brief lead on the first possession of the second half before being outscored 16-0 and outclassed the next seven minutes, not to mention the porous defense that allowed UNM sophomore Roman Martinez to go off for a career-high 24 points - 19 more than his average coming in. Martinez, who is a player noted for making hustle plays, found openings in the Aggies' zone and man defense.

The Aggies have also unraveled on a more important front - the classroom.

On Thursday, Menzies confirmed senior starters Justin Hawkins, the team's leading scorer and rebounder, and center Hatila Passos, along with junior transfer guard Paris Carter, were not with the team as it traveled to Louisville for another stiff road contest on Saturday afternoon. Menzies was hopeful that the three players would clear up their academic issues and join the team before Saturday's tipoff, but it's become irrelevant in a season where eligibility issues were among Menzies' largest concerns during the first semester. NMSU freshman forward Herb Pope was on hand in Albuquerque to support his teammates even as he waits to be declared eligible by the NCAA...

Go here for the remainder.

Hawaii falls at home

Hawaii had a game in its grasp, one that especially hurts because it was in the islands where the Rainbow Warriors have a solid winning percentage and against a beatable opponent. This is yet another contest that could have helped the WAC RPI rating and now is another of what seems likes a thousand conference 'cuts' so far this season. Will the bleeding ever stop?

Rainbows banished to daylight play in Classic
Dayton Morinaga
Honolulu Advertiser
December 20, 1007

A daytime party isn't quite like one at night.

The University of Hawai'i men's basketball team will find that out the hard way after a stunning 61-59 loss to Louisiana-Lafayette on the opening night of the 44th annual Outrigger Hotels Rainbow Classic last night

A crowd of 3,583 at the Stan Sheriff Center watched the Rainbow Warriors lose a first-round game in the Rainbow Classic for the first time since 1995.

Hawai'i, which dropped to 3-5, will play St. John's in a consolation game tomorrow at 11 a.m.

ULL, which improved to 3-6, advanced to tomorrow's semifinals, where it will play Ohio at 7:30 p.m.

"It's tough. This hurts," Hawai'i senior guard Riley Luettgerodt said. "The season's not over, obviously. But it feels like it."

The 'Bows led for most of the game, but surrendered the lead with 6:15 remaining.

Hawai'i also blew several opportunities in the closing minute.

"I'm terribly disappointed we didn't get the job done tonight," Hawai'i head coach Bob Nash said. "I thought we had enough preparation for this game. I'm not going to make any excuses. We just didn't get the job done tonight."

The Ragin' Cajuns won despite shooting just 30.5 percent from the field. The key, according to ULL head coach Robert Lee, was defense...

Go here for the rest.

Nevada wins and now gets Lyndale Burleson back

The Wolf Pack as expected beat Colorado State last night -- a team winless on the road -- and now has a senior point guard returning to the team.

Pack basketball: Kemp's second-half tear lifts Pack
Steve Sneddon
Reno Gazette-JOurnal

On a night the outmanned Colorado State Rams wouldn't go away, Marcelus Kemp finally put them away.

Kemp scored 22 of his 28 points in the second half to lead Nevada to a 74-66 victory in front of 7,070 fans at Lawlor Events Center on Wednesday night. He went 7-of-10 from the field in the second half after going 1-of-6 in the first half. Kemp mostly punished the Rams with mid-range jumpers, but he also nailed a 25-foot 3-pointer in the second half. He was 11-of-13 from the line as the Rams had trouble containing his drives.

"I thought Marcelus played as mature as he has played since he's been here," Nevada coach Mark Fox said of the sixth-year senior. "He was extremely patient and let the game come to him. He trusted his teammates and he trusted the system. He really made his team better being as mature as he was."

Brandon Fields scored 12 points for the Pack and JaVale McGee finished with 11 points and nine rebounds. Willis Gardner scored 19 points and Andre McFarland had 17 for Colorado State.

Go here for the rest.

Plus, Steve Sneddon also had this in a separate article:

"Junior Lyndale Burleson will rejoin the team on Saturday, when it plays at Northern Iowa. Burleson has been academically ineligible since the season started..."

Burleson's return should steady the Wolf Pack frontcourt and also relieve Marcelus Kemp of most ball-handling duties -- a step that will allow Kemp greater focus on point production thus making Nevada a more dangerous squad.

NMSU falls to New Mexico in The Pit

The outcome -- 83-69 -- actually wasn't an unexpected one but our friends at weren't too thrilled by what took place:

About the only way to describe yesterday's game is, ouch. We're not exactly where that performance came from but it was definitely one of the worst since the beginning of the season. To the Aggies' credit, they were only down by one at halftime, however, there were just too many cold shooting stretches last night to be able to win the game.

Go here for further fair and impartial analysis.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

WAC worst in the west?

We've addressed this topic as have others and today it was Steve Sneddon of the Reno Gazette-Journal stepping up to the scorer's table with his take:

Pack basketball: Is the WAC the worst conference in the West?
Steve Sneddon
Reno Gazette-Journal
December 18, 2007

For years, the Western Athletic Conference has prided itself on being one of the top-10 college basketball leagues in the nation and putting multiple teams in the NCAA Tournament.

But nothing could have prepared the WAC schools for what they've experienced this season. Things have gone from bad to worse for the WAC. Or in this case, the worst in the West.

According to the Ratings Percentage Index, the conference ranks 27th among 32 conferences.

The RPI measurement takes a team's winning percentage (25 percent), its opponents' winning percentage (50 percent) and the winning percentage of those opponents' opponents (25 percent) in account. It is used as a factor in selecting teams for the NCAA Tournament in March.

Now on college basketball's version of the wrong side of the tracks, the WAC is only ranked in front of the Southwestern Athletic, Big South, Atlantic Sun, Ohio Valley and independents.

Among the other Division I conferences in the West, the Pac-10 Conference is No. 3 and the West Coast is No. 10. The Mountain West is ranked No. 12, followed by No. 15 Big West and No. 20 Big Sky.

"I don't recall the conference ranking, individual rankings being at this level at this time of the year," said Karl Benson, who is in his 14th year as WAC Commissioner.

Nevada, which is 5-4 with a three-game winning streak going into a home game against Colorado State on Wednesday, has the best RPI of any WAC school at 91. The Wolf Pack is followed by Fresno State (No. 144), New Mexico State (No. 150), Boise State (No. 173), Utah State (No. 193), San Jose State (No. 192), Hawaii (No. 325), Idaho (No. 331) and Louisiana Tech (No. 333), among 341 Division I schools.

Benson is still convinced the WAC can improve its RPI, but time is running out as conference play approaches in January.

"It's important that we finish strong in the last two weeks leading up to conference play," Benson said. "It's important we get some wins and a team or two makes a statement before January.

"The RPI is a very volatile rating system. You can move significantly with one win or one loss."

Go here for the remainder of the article.

My Gawd: it's a soap, it's a reality, it's an athletics department

Just what is it -- television reality show spinoff of "Survivor"or soap opera -- that is masquerading as an athletics department on the Fresno State campus?

After a series of lost lawsuits and multi-million dollar judgments against the Fresno State Athletics department -- one just decided on a couple of weeks ago -- here comes another one.

Fresno State hit with another lawsuitEx-secretary says complaints about Lopes got her fired
Ken Robison and Bryant-Jon Anteola
The Fresno Bee

A former secretary in the Fresno State men's basketball office has filed a lawsuit against the university, alleging she lost her job after complaining about coach Ray Lopes, attorney Dan Siegel said Monday.

Iris Levesque was hired in 2000, Siegel said, as secretary in the men's basketball office under coach Jerry Tarkanian. Lopes took over as Bulldogs coach in 2002 and resigned in March 2005 in the wake of NCAA violations committed during his tenure.

Levesque's is the fourth discrimination lawsuit against Fresno State this year by a former female athletic department employee.

Siegel said the university claimed financial reasons when Levesque was laid off in January 2005, but that Levesque believes she was let go for other reasons.

"She complained of a hostile and discriminatory atmosphere in the basketball office with Lopes being there," Siegel said. "Lopes wanted attractive young women working in the office to help recruit players. Iris was not happy with that.

"She also was unhappy that Lopes invited young women into the basketball office to help in the recruitment of student-athletes. She complained about NCAA violations, extra benefits Lopes and supporters were providing [to athletes]."

Go here for the remainder of the article.

San Jose State's Pistol Pete

The analogy isn't really accurate other than the floppy hair but here's an informative article on San Jose State redshirt freshman Justin Graham. WAC fans have yet to have the opportunity to see him but that will come in January.

No 'Pistol' Yet, But Kid Can Play
San Jose State basketball player Justin Graham
Ron Agostini
Modesto Bee
December 18, 2007

CUPERTINO -- Not to get carried away, but Justin Graham already has been compared to Pete Maravich.

Graham, the redshirt freshman point guard for San Jose State, understands the lunacy here. He's barely begun his collegiate career, yet his name is mentioned in the same breath with one of the most crowd-pleasing players in hoops history, an icon who averaged an NCAA-record 44.2 points per game for three seasons (1968-70) at LSU.

Which was why Graham was surprised when a fan approached him during the Spartans' season-opening tournament in Murfreesboro, Tenn.

"Before our second game, he came up to me and said he was really impressed and that I reminded him of Pete Maravich," Graham said. "He then asked me if I knew who Pete Maravich was, and I said, 'Of course I know Pistol Pete!' "

Never mind that Graham was born in 1988, the year Maravich died. Fact is, Graham's floppy hair and flair for the audacious already has been noticed at a university anxious to revive its down-and-out basketball program.

The Spartans have kicked off that quest with, of all people, a 19-year-old graduate of Ripon High.

"We took over a program in need of a makeover, one might say an extreme makeover. We targeted Justin," San Jose State coach George Nessman said. "He is going to be a big-time player. He's not there yet, but he is dynamic."

Graham made an immediate impression in his collegiate debut Nov. 15 against Middle Tennessee State, the home team. With the Spartans behind by a point with seconds to go, he launched a perfect pass to back-cutting DaShawn Wright for the winning layup.

The next night -- after Graham heard the Maravich praise -- San Jose State and Appalachian State were tied with the game down to the final possession. Nessman told his team to clear the court and let the mop top do his business. Graham complied by slashing down the key and scoring the winner.

Two games. Two winning plays. Nice start.

Click here for the remainder of the article.

LA TECH wins a game ... but then

No, we are not being snarky here. Actually, just the opposite. Since we have previously posted our doubts about the Ruston-ites winning another game this season, it is only proper and fitting to blog about our error:

BILOXI, Miss.— J.C. Clark scored 21 points to lead Louisiana Tech to a 78-69 win over Alcorn State tonight in the Gulf Coast Classic.

The win ended a six game losing streak for Louisiana Tech (2-7).

Clark scored 14 of his points in the second half as the Bulldogs built on a 33-31 halftime lead. Clark’s three-point shot with 9:35 to play put Tech up 64-55 and gave the Bulldogs the first double digit lead of the game.

James Loe added 15 for the Bulldogs, Kyle Gibson put 14 on the board and Drew Washington tacked on 12.

But then this news also popped up which is disappointing to Bulldog fans. We had been wondering about his status. One element that is missing from the story is what Wright's plans are now:

Jimmy Watson
Shreveport Times
December 17, 2007

D.J. Wright fails to qualify.

One of the most highly touted recruits announced by Louisiana Tech coach Kerry Rupp this summer will not be attending the school.

D.J. Wright did not qualify academically to enroll at Tech, according to a souce at the school. That means that Wright will have to go the JUCO route or sit out a year to become eligible.

Wright is a 6-foot-7 perimeter player from Sault St. Marie, Ontario, who originally committed to LSU. He averaged 22.5 points and 12.5 rebounds for his high school career at Toronto Academy Prep and was expected to team with LSU transfer Magnum Rolle to create opponent miss matches for Rupp's squad next fall...

Now Kerry Rupp and Tech will still have plenty of reinforcements on hand in 2008-2009 but losing someone who would have been a four year player and a very good one still hurts.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

The Byzantine behavior of the NCAA

It just struck us.

Bizarre is the apt word for it.

It's a play off the old saying "whoever has the gold makes the rules." But this time there's an addendum: attach "...and decides/announces whenever they see fit."

Why it didn't resonate when we first read the news is inexplicable.

It goes back to the Jason Groves/Las Cruces Suns-News article posted earlier this week titled "Jahmar Young cleared by NCAA"

In the article, Groves writes:

"...They had to make a decision today, so [NMSU Compliance Officer Braun Cartwright] Braun basically said that we need to find out something today or at least let the kid practice," NMSU head coach Marvin Menzies said. "It's still kind of surreal. I can't believe it..."

And then this:

"...Their policy was seven days and we now moved to the eighth day and I asked for if they could not make a final decision, could we get some special provisions," Cartwright said. "He should be able to practice over the break. He should be able to receive his financial aid and he should be able to travel with the team even though he could not compete. I think they realized a decision had to be made immediately because we are in day eight. I just got off the phone 30 minutes ago saying that he is officially cleared..."

So, the NCAA apparently had not made a decision -- this despite the self-mandated time frame for doing so having concluded.

Also, the NCAA was not going to contact New Mexico State with news that the decision not to make a decision had been made -- again, despite the NCAA having designed a seven-day period in which to provide a ruling.

Call it arrogance, call it hubris, call it indifferent thoughtlessness.

We call it inappropriate and wrong.

When NCAA President Myles Brand spoke to the National Press Club in 2001 on "Academics First: Reforming Intercollegiate Athletics," which focused on how the disconnect between intercollegiate athletics and education "jeopardizes the essential mission of our universities," he at least addressed a need, even if the answer -- Academic Progress Rates or APR -- is unwieldly and fails to provide an actual sense of reality.

But Brand has apparently forsaken any belief that his own organization is in need of revamping -- or at least needing more employees who will follow policy and care about their mission.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

A Mormon freshman

Anyone familiar with college hoops has the awareness that male members of the LDS faith, including those who play basketball, generally complete a two-year evangelical mission in their late teens. But we never heard this applied in the manner of describing an 'older' LDS newcomer to D-1 as "a Mormon freshman." That is, until now.

USU: Aggies get boost from not-so-young freshmen
Martin Renzhofer
The Salt Lake Tribune

Stew Morrill made a bit of Utah State history by starting two freshmen Dec. 8 during the Aggies' nonconference victory at Cal State Bakersfield. While putting two freshmen in the opening lineup may not be earth-shaking to many, consider that it was the first time for Morrill during his 10-year run at USU.

But Tai Wesley and Tyler Newbold, both in their 20s, aren't the typical freshmen, except maybe in Utah. Both returned to Utah State after serving two-year missions for the LDS Church.

"They're Mormon freshmen," Morrill said following the Aggies' 88-66 win. "They're older and have had more life experiences. They have a higher maturity level."

That is why they weren't shaken by their first start.

"It was a little different," Newbold said afterward.

The last time Utah State started two freshmen in the same year was during the 1993-94 season when Jarobi Kemp started 20 games and Tony Schumacher started one game for then-head coach Larry Eustachy.

Go here for the complete article.

Set my Herb Pope free

Jim Hilley of the Las Cruces Bulletin has kindly directed us to a place where we were able to view the "Free Herb Pope" t-shirts.

Step One: Go to the Las Cruces Bulletin website here

Step Two: On the middle right, is a link reading "Click here to read the enire Bulletin and its archives"

Step Three: On the upper left part of the page is the date of the current issue -- click on the drop down box, click on the December 7 issue, Page D7 in particular

Step Four: To the right of the drop down date box is another drop down box listing of the pages for that issue -- click on D7

Step Five: When the D7 page comes up, click on the photo of the four students wearing white t-shirts

Thank you Jim, we appreciate your time and effort in letting us know.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Kyle Whelliston on the whys and wherefores of the WAC struggle

ESPN had an article today detailing some background on the cause of the conference decline of the WAC to date this season.

WAC teams schedule up, off to a slow start
Kyle Whelliston
Special to
December 14, 2007

Utah State head coach Stew Morrill is busy these days. So busy breaking in eight new players and navigating through a tough nonconference schedule, he doesn't have time to check up on his WAC league mates, their records or even the conference's RPI.

"I don't even know where our RPI is as a conference," Morrill said on Tuesday. "Where are we right now?"

You really don't want to know, coach. The Western Athletic Conference currently stands at No. 26, just ahead of the MEAC, right behind the America East.

"Really," Morrill said, followed by a lengthy pause. "I … I … that's amazing. We've been No. 9 or No. 10 pretty consistently. I think our league's a lot better than that."

Not at the moment. Only three of the WAC's nine member schools (Boise State, Fresno State and Utah State) own a winning record, and the league as a whole has stumbled to a 35-43 nonconference mark so far. A league that's been a consistent two-bid performer -- one that has sent two teams to the NCAA Tournament the past 24 years (except 2003) -- is in remarkably unfamiliar territory these days. No other conference currently in the 20s of the RPI has earned an at-large bid to the Big Dance this century.

Each WAC team is an island unto itself this time of year (conference play doesn't start until Jan. 2), so the sudden and amazing decline can't be pinned on any one leaguewide factor. But it seems that a tide of remarkably bad fortune has submerged the league's signature programs.

Go here for the complete article.

Herb Pope back home in Pennsylvania

Don't you just hate the above type of headline? While accurate, it basically says nothing while simultaneously suggesting something.

Of course, the following article does just about the same thing because it is devoid of any words directly out of Herb Pope's mouth regarding his future intentions.

Boston believes Pope will play at New Mexico State
Teddy Feinberg
Las Cruces/Sun-News Sports Editor

Herb Pope is back in Aliquippa, Pa., but New Mexico State Athletics Director McKinley Boston said he believes the standout forward will return to Las Cruces next semester.

Boston said that Pope went back home to attend the trial for the suspected attacker who shot Pope last spring at a party in Aliquippa. Twenty-year-old Marcus Longmire pleaded guilty to the attempted homicide of Pope and was sentenced to six to 16 years in prison.

Pope has sat out all season for the Aggies, for what has been called an investigation of his high school grades by the NCAA. His absence has caused a stir that has grown with each passing game, mainly pertaining to the question if Pope is, in fact, going to suit up for the Aggies at all, in 2007 and beyond. Boston said that he was confident that the forward will eventually be in an NMSU uniform...
Go here for the complete article.

The sun rose in the north this morning...

Yes, the sun rose in the north this morning, I can dunk a basketball without my specially built ladder and Jahmar Young is now eligible to play at New Mexico State University.

Now two of those statements are false but it would be hard convincing Aggie fans of such up until a short while ago.

NMSU's Jahmar Young cleared to play
Las Cruces Sun News
12/14/2007 03:07:29 PM MST

New Mexico State freshmen guard Jahmar Young has been cleared by the NCAA Clearinghouse to play basketball for the New Mexico State Aggies.

Go here for the remainder of the article.

Fresno's Rekalin Sims dropped from team

The hammer came down on Fresno State senior basketballer Rekalin Sims yesterday even though legal charges had been dropped against him. His preceding academic suspension certainly wasn't a positive working in his favor. Neither were some of recent and not so recent Fresno State basketball and football student-athlete legal entanglements. Fairly or unfairly, situations are sometimes viewed in larger contexts, not getting judged based solely on their own circumstances.

What's interesting is that three separate people have written to us at our other WAC web site (where we have also posted about Sims' situation) offering that Sims is actually a good kid but has made some poor decisions regarding who he associates -- causing the Martin and Jessica Simpson song "The Company You Keep" to begin playing in our heads this morning.

There are no winners in this matter. Fresno State men's basketball could certainly have used Sims in bolstering its weak frontcourt and Sims needed a solid performance this season to generate interest in continuing as a professional here or abroad. Let's hope he stays in school and earns his degree, thereby creating at least that life foundation for himself.

One final matter of note is the remarkable difference in how Fresno State handled this matter compared to that of New Mexico State when student-athlete Tyrone Nelson was arrested and charged regarding the robbery of a pizza deliverer.

From WIKIPEDIA: "On August 24, 2006, Nelson was arrested at Mesilla Valley Mall in Las Cruces after rhaving been identified by a pizza delivery man employed at a restaurant inside the mall. The employee alleged that Nelson had robbed him earlier that month. Nelson was charged with two felonies ­ robbery and conspiracy to commit robbery ­ and held on $15,000 bond at Dona Ana County Jail. Though he was released when his brother arranged to pay bail money, Nelson was given a three-day suspension by his team. Says NMSC Aggies' coach Reggie Theus: "The situation is not consistent with Tyrone's character, but we will get to the bottom of what happened."

To avoid possible jail time, Nelson eventually pleaded no contest just before his trial was to begin. He was initially suspended by NMSU, then reinstated to the team after a school committee found no evidence of his guilt -- this despite the Las Cruces District Attorney moving forward with the charges.

Sims dismissed from men's basketball
Release authorized by Boeh after conduct review
Daniel Lyght
The Fresno Bee

Rekalin Sims was dismissed from the Fresno State men's basketball team for violating athletic department policy, Fresno State announced Thursday evening in a statement.

The dismissal, according to the statement, was authorized by athletic director Thomas Boeh "after a complete review by the student-athlete Code of Conduct Committee." The statement did not specify which policy had been violated.

Last week, two felony charges against Sims were dismissed by Fresno County Superior Court Judge James Oppliger because of lack of sufficient evidence.

Sims and two other men were arrested Nov. 11 and charged Nov. 15 with second-degree robbery and conspiracy to commit robbery. Sims, who will remain on scholarship through the academic year, was suspended indefinitely Nov. 15.

The university's statement said the dismissal is final with no opportunity for appeal.

Go here for the complete article.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Idaho Statesman columnist details how Boise is doing it

Brian Murphy had a column in today's Idaho Statesman offering specifics regarding the reasons for Boise State's early basketball success. The names Matt Nelson and Reggie Larry are well known Broncos in WAC basketball circles but a certain TT hass also become an integral factor in Boise's winning recrod to date this season.

Murphy: A consistent three the key for Broncos
Idaho Statesman

The game plan for stopping Boise State's men's basketball team is not complicated. It's Basketball 101. Harass forward Reggie Larry and center Matt Nelson with extra defenders thus crowding the lane and making it difficult for the inside duo to operate.

Every opponent knows what to do. The Broncos know it's coming.

And that's where Tyler Tiedeman comes in.

The Broncos' 6-foot-7 sweet-shooting forward is the antidote to the double-team. His 3-pointers are the price foes must pay for all their attention on Larry and Nelson.

It's Basketball 101 - at least since the 3-point line was installed. The Houston Rockets won back-to-back NBA titles by following the simple formula: Surround your talented big men with good 3-point shooters.

Precisely what the Broncos, 6-3 entering Thursday's game at Utah Valley, have attempted to do for Larry and Nelson, the team's leading scorers.

"It's a double-sided sword. Pick your poison," Tiedeman said. "If you're going to double them, somebody is going to be open for 3. But if you don't double them, they're going to score every time."

Larry (18.7 points per game) and Nelson (16.0 ppg) are getting their points consistently. Each has scoredin double figures in the Broncos' nine games.

And that's where Tiedeman comes in. He's third on the team in scoring at 12.1 points.

"Look at any team on any level. That third guy is the key," Boise State coach Greg Graham said. "Take the Spurs. It's not (Tony) Parker and (Tim) Duncan. It's Parker, Duncan and (Manu) Ginobili. ... That third guy makes a big difference."

Go here for the remainder.

Here's something in the Bayou State media about LA TECH

The following contains a great quote from Kerry Rupp regarding his squad this season:

After 1-6 start, Tech men hope for turnaround
T. Scott Boatright
News Star

RUSTON First-year coach Kerry Rupp is determined to see his Bulldogs through their tough start, which has seen Louisiana Tech start off 1-6 following last Tuesday night's 61-49 home loss to Arkansas-Pine Bluff.

Tech faces a quick turnaround as the Bulldogs get a another chance to bounce back onto a winning track tonight as they play a 7 p.m. game against Centenary at the CenturyTel Center in Bossier City.

The Bulldogs have dropped five straight and the major problem is obvious — Tech has averaged only 40 points over the last two games and 49.5 on the season. But there's no quick fix — behind Tech's anemic offensive woes is a thin bench and lack of size.
There's plenty of scoring potential for the Bulldogs — at the end of the bench, wearing street clothes.

Tech's roster is 11-deep, with one of those players being a redshirt freshman and another averaging only two minutes per game.

Point guard Jamel White, a transfer from Nebraska, could help bolster that scoring and Tech has two potential major inside forces in LSU-transfer Magnum Rolle and Oklahoma State-transer Kenny Cooper. But those players have to sit out a year after transfering, and freshman Olu Ashaloo is being redshirted to allow for further development and to give Tech what looks to be a bright future — beginning next season.

But for now Tech has to deal with this season, where the Bulldogs have no real inside presence. Tech's biggest man is 6-8, 220-pound freshman Brandon Mims and there's no true banger, so the Bulldogs are battling mismatches and Rupp knows there's only one way to win with that kind of offense.

"It's the way it is and we have to deal with it," Rupp said. "What we have to do is play smart basketball. HERE IS THE GREAT QUOTE -- We when go big we're undersized and when we go small we're minature -- so we have to play smart and find ways to score while also playing the good defense."

Go here for the rest.

More New Mexico State non-news -- well, not exactly

Initially, we were going to run the first part of the headline by itself but then realized such would be inaccurate because had we added a little something about one of our WAC web site faves. Finally, we noticed a further development with New Mexico State men's basketball...

Here is Teddy Feinberg in his Pieces of A Man blog today:

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Apparently Jahmar Young's case has been moved up the ladder within the NCAA, which helps explain why a potential decision has been moved from last Friday to some other non-specified time.

On Wednesday, I was told that Young's file was considered by a committee last Friday, but has since moved on to an advanced level committee.

I'm working on a story where I tried to address some of the questions that I have seen on this board and others. It just attempts to clear up some of the initial eligibility hurdles that Pope and Young faced.

That's the non-news, if you will. But we are looking forward to Feinberg's full-length article.

What we then decided to do is highlight a NMSU sports blog -- Bleed Crimson --that is a must visit on a daily basis for all things New Mexico State athletics. Do bookmark it.

Re-visiting a few sites tnight, we noticed that someone has dropped from the Aggie team, a Theus of all people!!!!!

Londale Theus quits New Mexico State Aggies
Teddy Feinberg/Jason Groves
Las Cruces Sun-News

New Mexico State guard Londale Theus has quit the Aggie basketball team, head coach Marvin Menzies said Thursday.

Go here for the full article.