2023 is here! And with it, brings some new resolutions for each team. Some of those New Year’s resolutions should include getting healthy, consistency on both ends of the floor, and winning home games.
New Year’s Eve showed quite a bit of these resolutions. But, let’s take a look at some for each squad.
Get Ali Dibba more scoring opportunities. We saw what he can do in a 19-point, 9-rebound performance at SFA to open WAC play.
First, Taran Armstrong has to score more. Sure, he is a good passer. But, the Lancer point guard has to be more selfish like Milan Acquaah and Brandon Boyd in previous years. Second, start getting up and down the floor. The Lancers have been known as a high-scoring team since joining the WAC. That is the was the Lancers will get back on track. Transition 3-pointers and layups. Let guys get in rhythm.
Consistency. Yes, the Lopes won their WAC opener. But, it took an 11-0 run down the cement the win over CBU. Which Lopes team do we get on a nightly basis in WAC play? The one who fell down early to Montana State in the first half? Or, the one who came roaring back to earn the comeback win over the Bobcats? Consistency.
New Mexico State
I will say this as nice as I possibly can. Let go of the egos. Plain and simple. Quit worrying about who gets big numbers and play as a team. You are much better when you do that. The ball gets stuck too much because guys want to be a hero. It is more heroic to win ball games. You have already lost more WAC home games this season than in the past six combined.
Win the WAC. Simple as that. Both the regular season and tournament title. Give head coach Jason Hooten that first trip to the NCAA Tournament. You have played well thus far and are coming off a big win at New Mexico State.
Win the statement games. Last year, in a road trip to GCU and New Mexico State, the Redhawks fell flat. We know the Redhawks can beat CBU, UTRGV and so forth. But, can you go on the road and beat SFA, Sam Houston, and finally get those elusive wins over GCU and New Mexico State? Win the statement games.
We know the T-Birds can score. So one of the resolutions needs to be to clamp down defensively. In its two WAC games thus far, SUU gave up 75 and 88 points, respectively. Even a few more stops would be a benefit to a team that averages over 89 points per game.
HARRISON TIES IT ?#TBirdNation pic.twitter.com/9o2vzAJq4U
— SUU Men's Basketball (@SUUBasketball) December 31, 2022
Stephen F. Austin
Get healthy. Fortunately, the players who have been able to take the floor for the Jacks have held the fort pretty well. The Jacks are 2-0 in WAC play and haven’t lost a WAC regular season game since Jan. 26, 2021. Jaylin Jackson-Posey and Jalil Beaubrun should be back in the next month or so. And when they are healthy, watch out for the Jacks.
Similar to Stephen F. Austin, get healthy. The Texans miss the scoring provided by Jakorie Smith and Freddy Hicks who have missed quite a few games recently. Health is one of those resolutions that sticks out for every team. But, especially so for SFA and Tarleton.
Be better offensively. The defense and physicality is there to keep the Mavs in ball games. And Shemar Wilson is one of the best bigs in the league. But, the offensive struggles have to improve if the Mavs are to play their way into WAC Vegas.
Some resolutions are so cliché. But, UTRGV’s resolutions even more so. First, find another scoring option besides Justin Johnson and Will Johnston. Sure, these are two of the best guards in the league. But, Dima Zdor or Ahren Freeman have to be that consistent third scorer. Second, wins games you aren’t supposed to. The Vaqueros had a shot at SUU on Saturday. But, a later turnover led to overtime. UTRGV needs a win like that as they try to play themselves into WAC Vegas.
Here are a pair of resolutions for the Trailblazers. Get Cam Gooden back on the floor at full health. The Trailblazers missed their floor general in a loss to Utah Valley on Saturday. And feed Tanner Christensen. The 6-10 Idaho transfer should get a touch every time down the floor. With his size and length, Christensen will be a difference-maker for the Trailblazers throughout WAC play.
If you leave Tanner Christensen alone at the top of the key – he can knock down the #MACU 3….#UtahTechBlazers | #WACmbb | #WAChoops pic.twitter.com/I0NJjLs2Jf
— Utah Tech Men's Basketball (@UtahTechMBB) December 31, 2022
Here are the final resolutions of this write-up. First, figure out ways to get Aziz Bandaogo going early in games. Yes, Utah Valley has some of the best guards in the league. But, they need an inside presence. In non-conference play, Bandaogo was really good. So far, in WAC play, against bigger bodies, Bandaogo hasn’t been able to get much done in the pick-and-roll. Second, handle success. A lot of teams get pats on the back after a big win or pair of wins. You have to back up the success by continuing to win games.