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  • Jordan Banegas

Five Bold Predictions: Men's Basketball

The boldest of predictions is that our Aggies will play this season at all. Under the assumption that they will play, with or without fans, I’m making some forecasts on what looks to be another promising season. The return of a tested core (Rice, McCants, Henry, Gilyard and possibly Harris) plus the addition of the conference’s best recruiting class, combined with Jans being the one stirring up the concoction, looks to be a tasty, refreshing drink for Aggie Nation.

Jabari Rice will be WAC POY

One expects a significant jump in production from freshman year to sophomore year--can Jabari continue to improve moving into his third year? I think so and based on returners in the WAC and Milan Acquah declaring and staying in the NBA draft, Jabari claims the crown for the WAC’s best player. Jans is in a great spot with a superstar like Rice to build around for two more years. If Jabari can continue to develop physically, his pro potential is through the roof. There was some debate amongst Aggie Nation about which young stud would pan out between Berrick Jeanloius and Jabari Rice, nothing against Jeanlouis, but that argument is now settled.

Five players will average double figures

We haven’t seen that many players average double figures since Reggie’s second year (2007). Is this prediction all that bold though considering how well Jans has managed to disperse the floor time and teeming pool of talent? For any other program, this would be considered a bold prediction so we’re sticking by it. I’ll even take a stab at guessing who those five are: Rice, Henry, Gilyard, McCants, Harris (Likayi if Harris does not get 6th year).

Undefeated home season

While it’s incredibly difficult for visiting opponents to leave the Pan Am with a W, the Aggies have dropped at least one game at home every year since 1991(!). I think this year is the exception, partly because of the softness of the schedule and partly because of the laid back atmospheres we expect in a world with Covid-19. The biggest challenges look to be the two rivalry games at home and the one conference game that always gives us trouble (UVU last year and GCU the year before that). Based on Jans’ frustration over the schedule, I don’t see the Aggies landing a high-profile opponent in the Pan Am that could further threaten an undefeated home stand.

Undefeated Conference Record

It was incredibly tempting to put a top 25 ranking on this list but considering Jans’ feedback about the difficulty in getting quality opponents on the schedule, I just don’t see us getting the signature wins to make this the year that pushes us over the top-25 hump. Considering the softness of the WAC next year, I don’t see the Aggies slipping up at home in 20-21. GCU is in rebuild mode, Dixie State and Tarleton State are new arrivals and I don’t expect much. Madsen still has a while before UVU is a contender and no more Bakersfield to challenge us on the road. Of course this means we’ll need one miracle like we seem to need every year but I think the basketball gods smile on us once again as we finish the WAC season unscathed.

Marcus Watson in starting lineup by season’s end

As I mentioned before, a source close to the Aggie program called Watson the best talent to come through NM State since Pascal Siakam. I’m jumping on the bandwagon and think that Watson’s physical tools, skill-set and motor will be too much to keep on the bench. I know Jans’ starting lineups are very fluid but what I’m mostly getting at here is that Watson will be solidly in the rotation and producing by season’s end. Keep in mind we likely won’t see Watson until mid-December unless he’s granted early eligibility by the NCAA.

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