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LAS CRUCES — The New Mexico State University men’s basketball team was picked to finish second in the preseason WAC coaches and media polls. The NMSU Aggies are the defending 2010 WAC Tournament Champions.
Senior forward Wendell McKines and junior forward Troy Gillenwater were preseason first team All-WAC selections on both the coaches and media ballots.
The Aggies were the only program to have two players on the first team.
The Aggies posted a 22-12 record in 2009-10 and won their second WAC Tournament title en route to an NCAA Tournament appearance. In its 18th tournament showing, NMSU had a chance to upset Michigan State, a 2010 Final Four participant, in the first round.
“I had hoped that we would end up in the upper echelon, which we did, so that’s a good thing,” NMSU head coach Marvin Menzies said. “Not being first and having a carrot to keep the guys motivated, I think is also good. But we’re also ranked high enough that we’ll have a target on our backs with the teams below us wanting to knock us off our pedestal. So this is the best of both worlds in terms of motivation for our players.”
Heading into this season, NMSU returns a much of its nucleus from a year ago.
The Aggies had five players with double-figure average in 2009-10, and Gillenwater has the highest returning average with 14.6 points per game. McKines follows with 10.7 points and 9.8 rebounds per contest.
In the coaches’ poll, Utah State received eight first-place votes and 64 points to earn the No. 1 ranking. NMSU was second with 55 points and one first-place vote.
Following them, Nevada was in third with 47 points. while Boise State and Fresno State tied for the fourth spot with 36 points.
In the media poll, Utah State received 259 points and 19 first-place votes, while NMSU garnered 237 points and eight first-place votes.
Nevada collected 190 points and two first-place votes for third place followed by San Jose State with 135 points and one first-place vote.