New Mexico State Pre-Tournament Teleconference Notes
On Monday CHN writer Jon Teitel took part in New Mexico State's pre-tournament teleconference. Marvin Menzies' Aggies, winners of the WAC tournament, take on four-seed Indiana in a South Region matchup in Portland on Thursday. Keep an eye on Wendell McKines, one of the best players not talked about nationally on a daily basis.
New Mexico State head coach Marvin Menzies
On his team's mindset: "We have three seniors on the team so we know what to expect and not to be overwhelmed by winning the conference tournament. We just want to be aggressive and show people who we are. We are just going to ball."
On his expectations: "I would be lying if I said I did not expect to be here."
On their experience: "We will let the rest of the team know what it was like to be in the tournament back in 2010. Once the ball is tipped there are no nerves. It is all about basketball. Our experience worked well for us in the WAC tournament, but we all need to go out and try to improve from game to game. The upperclassmen have pulled along the younger guys a bit."
On his coaching approach: "You can always learn as a coach. Every year you have a different puzzle and you just try to put the pieces together. We felt early on that this group could be something special, but then you go through the hills and valleys. We have proved to everybody that this is a special group, but we still have some goals that we would like to achieve."
On his team's strengths: "We have more size and athleticism than the average mid-major, but do we have more than a high-major? No. There is no doubt that rebounding is one of our strengths. There are a lot of components to offensive rebounding, just ask Tom Izzo, the guru of rebounding."
On Indiana: "We have not faced a team with as many good three-point shooters as Indiana, and they can even bring tall guys off the bench who can shoot it. We have always emphasized defense...but it has not always been good! Tom Crean will mix it up and play different types of zone defense: I just started watching some tape last night."
On the other game in their pod: "VCU and Wichita State will be a heck of a game. You can throw the seeds out the window."
On Tom Crean's revival of Indiana: "Tom obviously hired a great staff and his players understand what it means to be a Hoosier and play in a big-time college town."
On the state having two tournament teams: "It is great for the state of New Mexico. The "Land of Enchantment" is alive and well!"
On Cody Zeller: "Cody Zeller by far has the best skill set of any center we have played this season. In my mind he is a potential first round pick."
On his team's balance: "A team is only as strong as its weakest link. All our guys from one through ten are on the same page. It is like a snowball effect. I recruit to a style of play that I like to coach, find out who our players are, and then figure out how we want to play."