Written By: Bill Harty
Since there’s been no 800GP story on a WAC game since Sam Wasson and I both covered the NMSU-Idaho game nearly two weeks ago, the conference race has begun to take shape. Tonight’s opponents in Las Cruces are the clear favorites: Nevada came in unbeaten with a 5-0 record including key road wins at both Utah State and Idaho; last week the Wolf Pack won two games at home, defeating future Summit League member Nebraska-Omaha and conference foe Fresno State. New Mexico State is 4-1 with two road wins of its own, but those came against Louisiana Tech and San Jose State, two of the bottom three teams in the standings. The Aggies last week took them to San Jose for an easy victory, and to Hawai'i, where they trailed by 19 points in the second half, only to have their monster comeback (30 points in the final eight minutes) come up short by four.
Trailing these two in the standings are Hawai'i and Idaho at 3-2 each, Utah State and Louisiana Tech at 2-3, Fresno State at 1-4, and San Jose State at 0-5. One key game last weekend had Idaho hold the home court against Utah State in both teams’ only conference game, giving the USU Aggies their third conference defeat; the Aggies also lost at future conference foe Seattle. The Louisiana Tech Bulldogs surprise weekend sweep including a win at Hawai’i, aided by the Thursday illnesses of two Hawai’i starters. Fresno State’s Bulldogs (there seems to be a shortage of team nicknames in the WAC, we seem to keep reusing them) also won a non-Division I game against Cal State-San Marcos last week. On Monday of this week, San Jose’s Spartans got a much needed victory over Cal State-Bakersfield. After this weekend’s full slate of games, the conference season will be half complete, as each team will have played seven of the fourteen WAC contests.
New Mexico State and Nevada have never met in a non-conference game. The Aggies won thirteen of eighteen Big West games between the schools between 1993 and 2000, splitting the two conference tournament contests. The Wolf Pack has won ten of the sixteen games since the Aggies joined the WAC for the 2006 season, but the Aggies have won all four WAC tournament games, including two in Reno and last year in Las Vegas, and three of the last four games. In Las Cruces however, the Wolf Pack has won two of the prior three years. Continue Reading This Post >>