Bill Harty's TMM Season 9 Recaps

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Bill Harty's TMM Season 9 Recaps

TMM9 :: Lots of Fans, Zone Defense And Aronis Superhoops: Aggies Win!

(This is the thirty-first installment of Bill Harty’s game recaps as part of The Mid Majority ninth season taking readers to mid-major college basketball games around the country. Visit midmajority.com to find out more about this group-sourced effort to spread the word about the many fine basketball programs around the country that are having success on and off the court while generally not having access to the resources brought to athletic programs by big-time college football. Bill will be recapping most Aggie home games, and the occasional road foray, for both The Mid Majority and bleedCrimson.net.)

New Mexico State believes their all-time record before the second game this season against UTEP is Aggies 103, Miners 100. The Miners believe the long rivalry is tied at 102 games each. Whichever is correct, a question I may try to tackle over the summer, the Aggie-Miner rivalry, begun in 1915 between two schools thirty-eight miles apart, has a long, storied, and fiercely contested history. An example: when Don Haskins became the head coach at Texas Western, his Miner teams won their first ten consecutive games against New Mexico State, ending in the Miners’ national championship season in 1966. Lou Henson began as the Aggie coach in 1965-66; after losing those first two to the Bear, NMSU won the next nine games between the schools, including the Aggies’ Final Four season in 1969-70. Over ten years, UTEP 11, NMSU 9. Much of their history looks similar.   Continue Reading This Post >>

TMM9 :: Camila Rosen Night In The Pan Am

(This is the thirtieth installment of Bill Harty’s game recaps as part of The Mid Majority ninth season taking readers to mid-major college basketball games around the country. Visit midmajority.com to find out more about this group-sourced effort to spread the word about the many fine basketball programs around the country that are having success on and off the court while generally not having access to the resources brought to athletic programs by big-time college football. Bill will be recapping most Aggie home games, and the occasional road foray, for both The Mid Majority and bleedCrimson.net.)

WAC women’s basketball, which this year has been scheduled in parallel with the men’s schedule, had no conference games this week because six of the ten WAC men’s teams were participating in the Ramada BracketBusters. (Yes, this year ESPN got someone other than ESPN to sponsor the event in its final season.) So, New Mexico State arranged a matchup with California State University at Bakersfield. As it turns out, the Roadrunners will join the WAC next season, so this game would give each team a preview of things to come. Cal State Bakersfield is one of the two independent schools in Division I basketball this year; New Orleans is the other, and it is joining the Southland next season. (With the demise of the Great West, most of which is also joining the WAC next year, only New Jersey Tech remains without a conference for next season.)   Continue Reading This Post >>

TMM9 :: Aggies Score 100 For The First Time In 21 Years

(This is the twenty-ninth installment of Bill Harty’s game recaps as part of The Mid Majority ninth season taking readers to mid-major college basketball games around the country. Visit midmajority.com to find out more about this group-sourced effort to spread the word about the many fine basketball programs around the country that are having success on and off the court while generally not having access to the resources brought to athletic programs by big-time college football. Bill will be recapping most Aggie home games, and the occasional road foray, for both The Mid Majority and bleedCrimson.net.)

On paper, this looked to be a huge mismatch between the WAC’s two sets of Aggies. Visiting Utah State (the Blue Aggies) brought an overall record of 14-12, but a league-leading conference record of 11-2 and an eight game win streak to Las Cruces. That streak started with a 65-63 win by Utah State over New Mexico State on January 17; in that contest, the Blue Aggies’ freshman Makenlee Williams hit a three-pointer with one second remaining for the win. The host New Mexico State Aggies (10-14, 4-10 WAC, the Red Aggies) have greatly improved from last year’s version and had a recent hot streak of three really good halves of basketball, having defeated San Jose State a couple of days prior to end a nine-game losing skid. The Blue Aggies have won ten of the sixteen games between the schools since they both joined the WAC for the 2005-06 season.   Continue Reading This Post >>

TMM9 :: Aggie Women Surge Past San Jose State

(This is the twenty-eighth installment of Bill Harty’s game recaps as part of The Mid Majority ninth season taking readers to mid-major college basketball games around the country. Visit midmajority.com to find out more about this group-sourced effort to spread the word about the many fine basketball programs around the country that are having success on and off the court while generally not having access to the resources brought to athletic programs by big-time college football. Bill will be recapping most Aggie home games, and the occasional road foray, for both The Mid Majority and bleedCrimson.net.)

It started on the prior Saturday. In their prior game at Seattle, New Mexico State’s Aggies lost their ninth straight conference game, after winning three of their first four. At the half, the Aggies trailed the league-leading Redhawks 38-15. As they had through much of the past month, the Aggies’ shooting was well off the mark; they made only 14% from the floor in the first period. After the intermission, the lights seemed to come on. A 30-15 run pulled the Aggies within eight; shooting improved to 45% for the second half, with the Aggies making eight of twenty (40%) from outside the arc. Seattle made a 17-7 run before Abby Scott’s two three-pointers at the end made the final difference sixteen, 78-62. Although their comeback fell short, the Aggies 47 point second half was their largest offensive output of the season.

The Aggies returned home on Thursday to host the San Jose State Spartans. In their earlier meeting in California, the Spartans dealt the Aggies their second heartbreaking loss of that weekend, 51-50, on the heels of a 65-63 loss to Utah State. The Spartans too arrived with a losing streak, having dropped one at home to Idaho before losing at travel partner Utah State in their single game last weekend. Tonight was Play4Kay night, so lots of folks, including the Sundancers, were sporting their pink.  Continue Reading This Post >>

TMM9 :: Another Escape For The Aggies

(This is the twenty-seventh installment of Bill Harty’s game recaps as part of The Mid Majority ninth season taking readers to mid-major college basketball games around the country. Visit midmajority.com to find out more about this group-sourced effort to spread the word about the many fine basketball programs around the country that are having success on and off the court while generally not having access to the resources brought to athletic programs by big-time college football. Bill will be recapping most Aggie home games, and the occasional road foray, for both The Mid Majority and bleedCrimson.net.)

The Seattle University basketball program was once one of the nation’s premier teams. Led by Elgin Baylor, the Chieftains reached the 1958 Final Four, defeating #1 Kansas State before losing to Kentucky in the national final. Seattle gave up its independent status in 1971, joining the West Coast Athletic Conference. In 1980, athletics were de-emphasized and Seattle joined the NAIA. In 2000, Seattle athletics rejoined the NCAA, competing in Division II from 2002-2009; also that year, the team nickname was changed to the Redhawks. In the past three seasons, the Redhawks competed as a Division I independent while seeking to return to the (now renamed) West Coast Conference. When that was seemingly blocked permanently by Gonzaga, Seattle joined the Western Athletic Conference.   Continue Reading This Post >>

TMM9 :: Aggies Hand Vandals Another Tough Loss

(This is the twenty-sixth installment of Bill Harty’s game recaps as part of The Mid Majority ninth season taking readers to mid-major college basketball games around the country. Visit midmajority.com to find out more about this group-sourced effort to spread the word about the many fine basketball programs around the country that are having success on and off the court while generally not having access to the resources brought to athletic programs by big-time college football. Bill will be recapping most Aggie home games, and the occasional road foray, for both The Mid Majority and bleedCrimson.net.)

Prior to Idaho joining the Big West, there had only been one basketball game between New Mexico State and the Vandals, an 81-69 Aggie victory in the 1964 Anaconda, Montana, tournament. Since then, the teams have met 24 times. The Aggies won six of eight contests while both were members of the Big West, and sixteen of the eighteen since the Aggies came to the WAC, including an NMSU win in the 2008 WAC Tournament in Las Cruces. The Vandals had never won in the Pan American Center, losing twelve straight. In their earlier meeting this season, the Aggies squeaked out a 71-70 win in Moscow, on Daniel Mullings’ second free throw with three seconds remaining after he missed the first.   Continue Reading This Post >>

TMM9 :: Groundhog Day

(This is the twenty-fifth installment of Bill Harty’s game recaps as part of The Mid Majority ninth season taking readers to mid-major college basketball games around the country. Visit midmajority.com to find out more about this group-sourced effort to spread the word about the many fine basketball programs around the country that are having success on and off the court while generally not having access to the resources brought to athletic programs by big-time college football. Bill will be recapping most Aggie home games, and the occasional road foray, for both The Mid Majority and bleedCrimson.net.)

Groundhog Day brought the UTSA Roadrunners to Las Cruces to match up with the homestanding NMSU Aggies on this first weekend of the second half of the WAC schedule. Neither team had played particularly well leading up to this game. The Roadrunners (11 10 overall, 5 5 in the WAC) had lost two straight, first to Idaho at home the prior week, then in Denver on Thursday. The Aggies’ (9-11 overall, 3-7 WAC) woes ran a little deeper, having lost six straight games since sweeping their first conference road trip in early January, at UTSA (69-52) and Texas State.

For long-time New Mexico State women’s basketball fans, this game brought back memories of a nickname from the past. From the inception of women’s sports at NMSU in the mid-‘70’s, the teams were known as the NMSU Roadrunners. This was changed by a 1999 female student-athlete vote that unified the nickname of Aggies for all NMSU sports; they are known not as the “Lady Aggies”, just as “Aggies.” I dug a shirt out of the archives to wear to this game.   Continue Reading This Post >>

TMM9 :: History Of The Rio Grande Rivalry

(This is the twenty-fourth installment of Bill Harty’s game recaps as part of The Mid Majority ninth season taking readers to mid-major college basketball games around the country. Visit midmajority.com to find out more about this group-sourced effort to spread the word about the many fine basketball programs around the country that are having success on and off the court while generally not having access to the resources brought to athletic programs by big-time college football. Bill will be recapping most Aggie home games, and the occasional road foray, for both The Mid Majority and bleedCrimson.net.)

In this challenge, please write a brief history of a rivalry that doesn't get the pub that a Carolina-Duke or UCLA-USC might. An overlooked city clash, a conference matchup with deep roots, a religious-school turf battle -- the smaller the better. Why do these teams hate each other? How did it start? Give us some history, make us circle the game each time it shows up on the calendar in the future.

The Game’s challenge number eight could not have come at a more opportune time. Over the past couple of weeks, New Mexico State head coach Marvin Menzies has added his voice to a statement that New Mexico head coach Steve Alford has made several times: playing the Rio Grande Rivalry game once a year is enough. Having lived in the state all my life, and been to these games both in the Pit and in the Pan American Center over more years than the two coaches have been in the state combined, I write this history to help back up my contention that a rivalry this intense and this fiercely contested cannot be played too often. Each fan base deserves to see this matchup every year.

Followers of midmajority.com have gotten to visit each of the past four games in the series: Andrew Bolte brought us the November 2011 game in Albuquerque, and I have written about the next three games: December 2011 in Las Cruces; December 15, 2012, in Albuquerque; and December 19, 2012, in Las Cruces. (Based on the results of the games, maybe I should hand this task off to Andrew…)

New Mexico A&M played its first basketball game ever on December 22, 1904, in Las Cruces against the New Mexico Lobos. Although the Lobos had played six prior games against Albuquerque-area teams, this was also the first collegiate game for UNM. The Lobos won that first game in overtime by the unlikely score of 21-9. The pairing has been renewed 209 times, with UNM winning 115 games. Of the 108 games played in Albuquerque, the Lobos have won 71, including a game in 1950 that is listed as a neutral site contest (?). Of the 101 games played in Las Cruces, the Aggies have won 58. Thirteen contests have been extended into overtime, with three of these requiring a second overtime period to produce a winner.   Continue Reading This Post >>

TMM9 :: Military Appreciation Night

(This is the twenty-third installment of Bill Harty’s game recaps as part of The Mid Majority ninth season taking readers to mid-major college basketball games around the country. Visit midmajority.com to find out more about this group-sourced effort to spread the word about the many fine basketball programs around the country that are having success on and off the court while generally not having access to the resources brought to athletic programs by big-time college football. Bill will be recapping most Aggie home games, and the occasional road foray, for both The Mid Majority and bleedCrimson.net.)

Coming off Thursday’s victory over Utah State, Saturday finds the New Mexico State Aggies facing the San Jose State Spartans. The Spartans, joining the Blue Aggies in moving from the WAC to the Mountain West next year, are the WAC opponent that New Mexico State Aggies’ have played the second most to Utah State. Overall, NMSU leads the series 32-12. The schools played non-conference games in 1958 and 1970, both in Las Cruces and won by the Aggies. The Spartans held a significant advantage in the early years that the schools were in the PCAA/Big West, winning seven straight in the late ‘80s, but the Aggies roared back to have a 17-10 overall advantage during those years. The series renewed when New Mexico State joined San Jose in the Western Athletic Conference in 2005; NMSU holds a 13-2 WAC advantage before this game.  Continue Reading This Post >>

TMM9 :: Whose Win Streak Continues?

(This is the twenty-second installment of Bill Harty’s game recaps as part of The Mid Majority ninth season taking readers to mid-major college basketball games around the country. Visit midmajority.com to find out more about this group-sourced effort to spread the word about the many fine basketball programs around the country that are having success on and off the court while generally not having access to the resources brought to athletic programs by big-time college football. Bill will be recapping most Aggie home games, and the occasional road foray, for both The Mid Majority and bleedCrimson.net.)

The primary rivalries, at least to the fan base, of the New Mexico State University Aggies (for today, let’s call them the Crimson Aggies) are with the New Mexico Lobos and the UTEP Miners. By far the nearest other Division I schools, it is only natural that these would remain important, despite sixty years of conference realignment that started even before the formation of the WAC. Within the WAC, the school that the Aggies have played the most is Utah State University. The Aggies from Logan (let’s call them the Blue Aggies) seem to always have a quality team, even before the arrival of current coach Stew Morrill; the USU program and following is strong enough to have lured Morrill from a stable position at Colorado State several years ago.

Coming into this game, Utah State leads the all-time rivalry, 35-29; dividing the games by location, the USU record is 22-8 in Logan, 10-19 in Las Cruces, and 3-2 in neutral site games. Both teams were among the many independent programs in the west during the ‘60s and ‘70s and played nine times, NMSU winning five of those. Both schools were in the Pacific Coast Athletic Association, which changed its name to the Big West while both were still members, for seventeen years; during that period Utah State won twenty-two of the thirty-seven contests, including two of the three conference tournament games. Since both came to the WAC for the 2005-06 season, NMSU has won nine of the seventeen games, and two of the three tournament tilts. (Interestingly enough, the six conference tournament games have alternated between the schools; NMSU won the most recent game, 2010, in Reno. There’s a historical precedent to worry about another time…)  Continue Reading This Post >>