After another loss, this time at home, the Wildcats find themselves on the road looking for a win against New Mexico State. New Mexico State is hosting their own “White Out” against the Wildcats after coming off a third place finish in the Carr/Safeway Great Alaska Shootout. At a 5-1 overall record, including impressive wins over Tim Floyd’s UTEP and in-state rival New Mexico, New Mexico state looks to be a tough opponent. Here’s a look inside Sean Miller’s X’s and O’s for a win:
STARTING OFF STRONG: A recent habit as of late, the often slow starts to the game for the Wildcats cannot show up against New Mexico State. Getting behind early in the game is never a good thing, and especially hard to get into a groove or win games when you find yourself down 10-15 points consistently within the first 5 minutes of play. This may have to do with my next point: the starting lineup.
STARTING LINEUP CHANGES: As expected, Sean Miller will change his starting lineup tonight against the Aggies. One thing for sure is that there will be a change at Poing Guard and/or Center position. Personally, I think Miller will go with a starting lineup looking like the following:
LIVE AND DIE BY THE THREE BALL: Once again, we saw the Wildcats struggle from behind the arc, only converting 5 out of 26 shots. There has to be a point and time in the game where one of our leaders steps up and tells the team to only take a three pointer if you are WIDE open or if it is late on the shot clock. We can not afford to take 26 three-pointers, especially if we only convert a mere 20%.
TURNOVERS: A huge disappointment from last week’s loss against SDSU was the turnover stat line. The Wildcats produced 13 turnovers, 6 of those from upperclassmen Solomon Hill and Jesse Perry. We need to take better care of the ball. Especially from our upperclassmen.
WILDCATS TO PERFORM: After seeing the upperclassmen play sub-par this season so far, we need them to really go out and play better on all aspects. No one has really put together a full game of brillance yet besides Jesse Perry; I’m looking for Solomon, Foggy, and Parrom to straight up ball. Although I’m calling out the upperclassmen to step up, I think the Freshman will take matters into their own hands and compete at a very high level tonight. Look for Turner, Johnson, and Chol to contribute a lot tonight and I wouldn’t be surprised to see a highlight dunk again courtesy of the Turner-Johnson connection.
AGGIES TO WATCH: Redshirt Senior Forward Wendell McKines is leading the Aggies with 17.0 points and 9.5 rebounds per game. Sophomore Guard Christian Kabongo adds 15.5 points per contest, and is a huge threat. The wildcats will need to focus a huge amount on these two studs. Meanwhile, Junior Forward Bandja Sy is averaging 11.3 points per game and Senior Guard Hernst Laroche contributes 10.7 points and 4.8 assists a game.
PREDICTIONS: Wildcats desperately need a win, but it will be hard to find in New Mexico. Cats lose 69-74.