Former Louisville assistant Reggie Theus and the New Mexico State Aggies are one win from an automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament.
NMSU (24-8) will play Utah State (23-10) at 9 p.m. tonight in the chamoionship game of the WAC Tournament. The two split in the regular season.
With 24 wins New Mexico State figures to have a shot at earning an at-large bid even if they lose, but with semifinal loser Nevada already assured of an at-large bid the thinking is that the selection committee would likely be wary of taking three teams from the WAC. The number of conference tournament upsets also figures to hurt the Aggies' chances to go dancing if they fall.
"There's a domino effect and a lot of things have to happen, but we certainly have enough wins to get in," Theus said.
New Mexico State advanced to the title game by impressively handling Boise State 88-69 last night.
"It was a great effort by our team, I want so badly for our team to go to the postseason," said Theus. "We feel confident against anybody in our building. We won all the hustle points (against Boise St.), we handled the ball well when we needed to."
This will be NMSU's first appearance in the title game since 2001 when they lost to Utah State. A win would mark the completion of an amazing turnaround by Theus considering that the Aggies went 6-24 three years ago before he left Louisville with the intent to resurrect the program.
Reggie is a great guy who did a fantastic job when he was at Louisville, and I sincerely hope that his team gets the job done tonight. There's a reason he's known as one of the hottest young names in coaching, and it'd be great if he got to make even more of a name for himself in the Big Dance.