March Madness 2018: Why you should cheer for New Mexico State in the NCAA Tournament

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March Madness 2018: Why you should cheer for New Mexico State in the NCAA Tournament

Need a team to root for in March Madness? Look no further than the New Mexico State Aggies.

They check-off all of the criteria for Cinderella, feel-good story of the NCAA Tournament:
—They’re a No. 12 seed
— From a one-bid conference (WAC)
— Head coach left them a season ago
— Redemption story form current coach
—They have a 6-5 rebounding-beast

Just over a year ago, the Aggies were celebrating their fifth NCAA Tournament appearance in six seasons with a coaching search.

Ten-year veteran Paul Weir left New Mexico State to take on the same role at the Aggies rival, New Mexico.

No one questioned the move up from a WAC program to a Mountain West school, but from an Aggie to a Lobo, that just does not sit well.


Despite the coaching change, the Aggies delivered the same record heading into the NCAA Tournament (28-5, 12-2 WAC) with a better resume. In non-conference play not only did the Aggies defeat their former head coach twice in the same year, they knocked off Illinois, Davidson, and Miami. Had New Mexico State finished the season undefeated in their conference, some questioned whether they could contend for an at-large bid.

Nevertheless the Aggies rolled through the WAC while celebrating their 50th season as a program. They won their fourth regular season title and eighth tournament title.

This all happening while New Mexico will sit at home missing postseason basketball. Just an added plus for Aggie fans. 

This was accomplished with new head coach Chris Jans at the helm of the program.

Name sound familiar? That’s because it probably is. Back in 2015, Jans was fired from Bowling Green for harassing a woman at a bar.

To say that he messed up his first head coaching stint at the Division I level is an understatement. If you want more detail on the interaction between Jans and the woman there are plenty of articles and YouTube videos out there.

You don’t have to condone his actions or like the man to recognize that this is his second chance and a redemption story for him.

Additionally it is the second season ever as a Division I coach.

"I’m happy he got a second chance. I think he’s a guy that’s learned from his mistake. Was always an up and comer in this business,” ESPN’s Jeff Goodman said. “He can recruit and connects with players. Obviously, he’s proven that he can coach and that’s a rarity to see a guy that can do all those things these days.”

Despite four letterwinners transferring out of the program the Aggies bumped up two seed lines from a No. 14 seed to a No. 12 seed. With the new hire, Jans was able to bring Zach Lofton (grad-transfer) from Texas Southern to the program.


If there is any mid-major team that should be labeled as a gauntlet, it should be the Aggies. With the 10th best defensive unit in the country and only allowing 64 points a contest, New Mexico State is a dangerous team.

Senior Jemerrio Jones has been known to throw a wrench in opponents’ approach to the Aggies. Standing at 6-5, Jones is a rebounding monster from the wing. Listed as a forward and as the third shortest player in the Aggies’ lineup, he brings down 13.2 boards a contest, the second-most in the NCAA. Shooting 50 percent from the field and drawing a ton of mid-range attention, he also scores 11.0 ppg and 3.1 apg.

The graduate transfer Lofton, who has travelled all across the country, is at his last stop of his playing career. He has gone from junior college, to Illinois State, Minnesota, Texas Southern, and wraps up his eligibility with New Mexico State. While at Texas Southern he carried the team to an NCAA Tournament bid and was an All-American Honorable Mention. This year he leads the Aggies with 20 points a game and probably wants to do another trip around the country in these upcoming weeks.

As a team, they outshoot opponents by nearly seven percent. They out rebound everyone else, led by Jones, by nine rebounds a contest. They focus on ball movement (14.1 apg) and do not rely on their three-point shooting.

For both of these two their college days are over after this NCAA Tournament run, along with 6-10 forward Johnathon Wilkins.


Although all of these guys have made it to the dance, not once have they won. New Mexico State has lost 10 straight NCAA Tournament games. Their last win came in 1993. To end the 25 year drought, the Aggies play No. 5 Clemson in the Midwest region on Friday. With a tip in San Diego at 9:57 pm ET, the Aggies are primed to be yet another No. 12 seed to unset a No. 5.

So if you are not a fan of mid-majors beating high-majors, a redemption story, overcoming all odds, sending out memorable players on a good note, or fun, then do not root for New Mexico State.

But if you are like the rest of us then root for the Aggies on Friday and for the rest of the tournament.

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Kyle Guy urges public to take coronavirus seriously after losing grandfather

Kyle Guy urges public to take coronavirus seriously after losing grandfather

Former Virginia Cavaliers guard and current NBA player Kyle Guy is urging the public to take the coronavirus seriously after his grandfather passed away as a result of COVID-19 on Friday.

While sharing the news of his grandfather's passing on social media Saturday, Guy used his platform to share words of advice on how to limit the disease's effect. 

"I beg you, don't let this be your wake up call," Guy wrote in a tweet. "Take this seriously and stay safe."

The 2019 NCAA tournament Most Outstanding Player offered further advice in an Instagram post about his grandfather, saying: "Stay safe and continue to LISTEN to the rules put in place for this worldwide pandemic. We will get through this."

Well over 1 million people have been inflicted with the coronavirus, and the disease has claimed the lives of over 60,000, according to the World Health Organization. As a result, professional sports are on hold and most states in the United States have placed restrictions on large gatherings and non-essential travel. 

Teammates and a slew of others in the basketball community, including Buddy Hield and former Maryland forward Bruno Fernando, responded to Guy's posts sharing their sympathy. 

In his Instagram post, Guy, who has appeared in two games as a rookie, also shared a story about the impact a tongue-in-cheek remark from his grandfather had on his NBA pursuit.

"When I was 7 or 8 my grandfather had me sign a piece of paper saying he'd be my manager (jokingly) if I ever made it to the NBA," Guy wrote in the caption. "Something as small as that was always on my mind while I tried to make my dream come true. I know he's up there waiting for his cut."



Former Maryland DL Mojo Rawley tells Mike Locksley how the Gronkowski brothers got him into WWE

Former Maryland DL Mojo Rawley tells Mike Locksley how the Gronkowski brothers got him into WWE

With Wrestlemania 36 underway this weekend, Maryland football coach Mike Locksley sat down on Instagram Live with former Terps defensive lineman and current WWE superstar Mojo Rawley to talk about his new career path. 

Rawley's real name is Dean Muhtadi, and he played for the Terps in for two years as a Division III transfer. He finished third on team in sacks that season and despite going undrafted in 2009, found his way to an NFL camp with the Packers. 

Muhtadi spent 2009 with Green Bay and 2010 with the Cardinals before suffering an injury that landed him on injured reserve. It was then where Muhtadi found a new career path thanks to two of his best friends. 

"Dan Gronkowski and Chris Gronkowski played with me at Maryland, two of my closest friends," Rawley said on "Late Night With Locks". "Their dad was one of our coach's roommates in the WWE, so it seemed like a natural fit. We were watching together, and I kinda made a comment like, 'this would be awesome if I could be one of [the wrestlers]. Mr. Gronk made the call and the rest was history."

Rawley has been a WWE superstar and currently stands as Rob Gronkowski's hype man. The former Patriots tight end is WWE's most recent signee and is Wrestlemania 36's host.