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NCAA countdown: No. 50 New Mexico State
Posted By HOOPSWORLD On September 3, 2013 @ 9:43 am In NCAA,Wirenews | Comments Disabled
by Scott Gleeson, USA TODAY Sports
The first word: New Mexico State coach Marvin Menzies has gotten used to craning his neck as he provides instruction to Sim Bhullar, the biggest player in NCAA basketball. The 7-foot-5, 355-pound Bhullar transformed from just an intimidation factor into the WAC Tournament MVP following a 16-point, 15-rebound performance in the championship game to help send the Aggies to the NCAAs.
If there’s one thing Menzies isn’t worried about, it isn’t size. Bhullar is joined in the frontcourt by 6-10 Renaldo Dixon, and another 6-10 player Tshilidzi Nephawe is available after playing only the first nine games following a season-ending injury.
Additionally, Bhullar’s younger brother, 7-foot-3 Tanveer Bhullar joins the Aggies roster as a freshman after turning down offers from Oklahoma, Oregon, New Mexico and Wichita State. Menzies is waiting until November to determine whether to redshirt the younger, developing big man. Regardless, New Mexico State has size. Lots of it.
2012-13 in review: 24-11 overall, 14-4 (second in the WAC regular season), lost in second round of the NCAA tournament.
Path to the Dance: The Aggies will have to win their third consecutive WAC tournament to earn an automatic bid to the NCAA tournament. Although they’ll be looked at as a sleeper team and prominent mid-major all season, notching an at-large bid in the WAC isn’t feasible. The path to the NCAAs gets easier, though, as regular-season winner Louisiana Tech left for Conference USA and potential contender Denver left for the Summit. Still, Idaho and Seattle are teams that could catch fire in March.
Projected tournament seed: No. 12 seed.
Coach’s corner: “We have the potential to play with the big boys on any given day. We have that potential, we have the ingredients. But we have to go out and play like it, we can’t waste what we have.” — Menzies, who took over as coach in 2007 as the successor to Reggie Theus
Star watch: Bhullar will draw all the headlines but the team’s top scorer, and perhaps its best player is guard Daniel Mullings (13.8 ppg, 5.2 rpg, 2.3 spg), an all-conference guard who can … [For more on College basketball countdown: No. 50 New Mexico State, click here.]
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