Sports

NMSU Aggies slowly but surely earning respect

NMSU head coach Paul Weir has reason to feel a bit slighted by sports pundits.

After all, some didn't even know how to spell his name before this season began.

"We were picked 163rd in the country and behind Grand Canyon and Bakersfield, and they spelled my name wrong, and they picked a lot of other players and teams ahead of us," said Weir, referring to preseason national rankings. 

The Aggies, winners of 11 games in a row, have now commanded a bit more respect, even earning four votes in the latest edition of the coaches' poll.

NMSU has pulled off wins over teams such as Air Force, Arizona State, and Long Beach State en route to a 13-2 record entering conference play.

The Aggies open their league tilt on Thursday at UMKC.  Weir, in his first year as NMSU's head coach, says he wants his team to continue to play with a chip on their shoulder, despite the recent success.

"The reality is we've been a pretty disrespected team from the get-go, and we have to continue to kind of play that way," said Weir at a news conference Monday.

Few people thought the Aggies would be as good as they are after losing a talent such as Pascal Siakam, who was drafted in the first round of last year's NBA Draft by the Toronto Raptors.  Apparently, Weir didn't get the memo.

"Am I surprised after those games that we won?  I mean, no.  We go in feeling like we've got a chance to win every game we play," said Weir.

Though they may have been picked by some to finish behind Grand Canyon and CSU Bakersfield, the Aggies appear to now be favorites to win the WAC.  No other team in the conference has fewer than six losses entering league play.

Weir says he doesn't like to talk about things like long winning streaks, preferring instead to focus on the next game.

"You know, the record is the record.  A lot of people make a lot of things of it.  All we've really tried to do is just get ready for the next game and take it one game at a time," he said.

All those pundits are surely talking about it now - and hopefully spelling his name correctly. 

 

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