Friday, February 09, 2007

Coach Fuller brings Deering High into the SMC

Tyron Nelson from inside and Julie Connor from outside
should be a dynamic duo for Deering errr NMSU?

My Post title and caption title are obviously a little joke on New Mexico State Coach Reggie Theus and his stint of 3 seasons(1995-98) on NBCs "Hang Time". Theus played coach Bill Fuller and led the boys basketball team at fictional Deering high in Indiana. The Tornadoes (sweet mascot for the upper midwest though) Boys team featured sweet shooting female guard Julie Connor who was not only dominant but apparently a 25 year old in a high school.

When Connor got the inside-outside game going with big man Teddy Broadis (Anthony Anderson) Coach Fuller could only sit back an marvel. Eventually Theus left the show and gave way to gridiron great Dick Butkus who played coach Mike Katowinski. The show lost its believabiltiy when the change was made in 98' and I lost interest. Katowinski taking over for Theus compares to whoever takes over for Lute Olson at Arizona.

They played on a court that was a bit undersized some would say, I would bet the dimensions would be about 45 by 30. I would guess it was an accurate depiction of high school ball in Indiana and I think I could have been a heck of a player for Deering given the shot.

If I could have knocked Danny Mellon out of his stating role I think I could have not only landed Julie Connor as a girlfriend, I would have bypassed her for head cheerleader Mary Joe Pemberton. She may have been that chick that was a bit off up top and waaay out there but you know she was as sweet in the sack as Connor's 14 foot 3 pointer from the wing.

Coming In:

The Fresno State Bulldogs will be hosting the New Mexico State Aggies on Saturday night at the Save Mart Center. The Aggies enter after a road loss in Logan Utah to Utah State 75-63. The Bulldogs enter off of an 81-68 loss at home to the #11 ranked Nevada Wolfpack.

About New Mexico State:

New Mexico State comes in as a team with strengths which are precisely what Fresno State cannot handle: post play, depth, and aggressive on the offensive glass. They were defeated by a Utah State team that did a nice job of neutralizing their inside game, but it never hurts to have a guard like Jaycee Carroll score 44 points.

The Aggies were baited into taking a few too many perimeter shots and finished 7-23 from three. The Aggies shot the ball rather well at 46% from the field, but only made 10-18 from the line and had 13 turnovers.

Look for coach Reggie Theus to get his team back on track against the Bulldogs. Much like Nevada, the Aggies will realize they can get shots off any time they want against FSU but need not settle and instead dictate the tempo and pace of the game.

The Aggies are led in scoring by guard Justin Hawkins at 16.3 ppg, he has scored double figures in 18 games this season. The other three players averaging in double figures are guard Fred Peete, forward Tyrone Nelson, and center Hatila Passos. Each player is right at the 10 ppg mark. Nine players on the Aggie roster average 10 or more minutes per game.

As a team, New Mexico State averages 81 ppg, shoot 48% from the field, 38% from three, and 66% from the line. Their rebounding margin is a +3.7 difference. They average 14.5 assists per game and 16.5 turnovers.

An interesting stat is that the Aggies feature five players shooting over 50% from the field that are regular contributors.

The Bulldogs:

Although there was much improvement for the Bulldogs from the Hawaii to Nevada game in terms of shooting efficiency, they managed to shoot a woeful 10-25 from the free throw line. Couple the free throw shooting with 5 or 6 ill-advised shots early in the shot clock along with 22 offensive rebounds for the Wolfpack and one can understand how this loss occurred.

Another issue that surfaced was a lack of attentiveness to transition defense. The Bulldogs have done a very good job defensively in transition for the most part this season but were definitely exploited on multiple occasions.

Guard Eddie Miller and forward Hector Hernandez combined to shoot both a dismal and back-breaking 5-24 from the field.

What to expect:

Expect the Bulldogs to continue their home woes. They have issues in the opening minutes of both halves and have either put themselves in a hole or have not taken advantage of the road teams sluggish starts.

One area they can be successful is forcing turnovers, New Mexico State averages 16.5 per game. Limiting Aggie second chances is critical along with Hernandez having improved shot selection and playing with more effort.

Coach Cleveland’s team is as fragile as any right now and the Save Mart Center is a home court advantage only in theory at this point. Look for New Mexico State to come in and pound the ball inside early and take advantage of defensive lapses and miscues. An example would be forward Hector Hernandez trying to leak out into transition without closing and boxing out on shooters.

New Mexico State will look to continue their success forcing turnovers as they lead the WAC in steals at 7.6 per game. Also look for Theus to utilize his deep bench as usual and emphasize pounding the offensive glass, a place where Nevada flourished against the Bulldogs with 22 offensive rebounds.

The Bulldogs best chance is to not fall in love with the three point shot and continue to execute out of the double high post set with both forwards Quinton Hosley and Dominic McGuire. The only issue with that is if they draw fouls can they make free throws? If they are not confident at the line it will cut down on their aggressiveness going to the rim and they may fail to draw contact which is a recipe for disaster.

MBs Take:

This team is in shambles mentally and it has been an ongoing descent from good, to average, to mediocre in the shooting department. Reaching 40% field goals has been set as a huge success. The team shoots 75% on the road from the line and at home it seems to be about 7.5%. The Save Mart Center has been relegated to a neutral court and the Bulldogs seem to hate playing there.

It is a bad sign when your forwards are slashing and attacking at will and look to be unstoppable. Then, when they get fouled being aggressive attacking the rim and do not convert at the line they shy away from contact to avoid going back in their home Arena? That is sad and shows an utterly pathetic lack of confidence.

The Dogs will lose their third straight at home by 6 points unfortunately. If they have no confidence in themselves then what should I have in them?

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