Sunday, February 26, 2012

NMAA releases state tournament brackets, Eagles get No. 6

Brad Cox/Hobbs News-Sun
Hobbs' Andrew Barrientes looks to score 
against Clovis on Feb. 17 at Tasker Arena.
  The NMAA released the state basketball tournament brackets for both the boys and girls Sunday and the Hobbs boys picked up the No. 6 seed while the Hobbs girls got the No. 5 seed.
  Here's the links to the boys brackets and girls brackets.
  All girls first-round games will be Friday while the boys will play Saturday with the better seed hosting.
  I had the Eagles at No. 6 in my last projected seeding before Hobbs came out pancake flat against Clovis Saturday night and lost the District 4-5A Tournament championship game. With the Eagles winning the regular-season title (including two wins over Clovis), they had to be seeded ahead of the Wildcats, who got the No. 8 seed.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Feb. 24 - My final Class 5A boys projected state seedings

  This is my final projected seedings of how I think the NMAA will seed the Class 5A boys state tournament. District tournaments are still going so this could be adjusted some after Saturday night.
  Remember, teams can't be seeded ahead of another team it finished behind in the district standings (if teams are tied for second place and below, the NMAA can put teams in any order despite tiebreaker procedures used for placement for district tournament). All records taken from the NMAA's website.

1. Las Cruces (21-4, District 3-5A champ)
2. Albuquerque High (21-3, District 5-5A champ)
3. Cibola (20-4, District 1-5A champ)
4. Eldorado (18-7, District 2-5A champ)
5. La Cueva (20-5, 2nd in 2-5A)
6. Hobbs (19-7, District 4-5A champ) 
7. Clovis (14-9, 2nd in 4-5A)
8. Volcano Vista (15-10, 2nd in 1-5A)
9. Manzano (15-10, T-3rd in 2-5A)
10. West Mesa (16-8, 2nd in 5-5A)
11. Sandia (13-12, T-3rd in 2-5A)
12. Valley (12-12, 3rd in 5-5A)
13. Mayfield (14-12, 2nd in 3-5A)
14. Highland (9-16, T-4th in 5-5A)
15. Oñate (11-15, 3rd in 3-5A)
16. Rio Grande (9-16, T-4th in 5-5A)

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Eagles drop a spot to No. 6 in final boys NMHSCA poll of season

Brad Cox/News-Sun
Hobbs sophomore Devante Brown drives 
against Clovis Friday at Tasker Arena.
  These are the final New Mexico High School Coaches Association boys basketball rankings of the season and the ones that will be used at the NMAA's seeding and selection meeting when determining the state tournament bracket on Feb. 26.
  It's only part of the criteria, however. Here is the complete criteria as listed in NMAA bylaw 7.11.2.

1. Finish in district play and/or district tournaments
2. Head to head
3. Performance against other teams including district champions or runner-ups from other districts, regardless of class
4. Input from NMAA staff members
5. Overall records
6. Elimination - what teams from that particular class do not fit the 12 or 16 team format due to their lack of success during the current year
7. NMHSCA Poll
8. Member school input

Sunday, February 19, 2012

With gutsy win over Clovis, Eagles prove they're back as a program

Brad Cox/News-Sun
Hobbs' Jesus Rodriguez, left, and Clovis' John Dawson dive on the floor
and battle for the ball in overtime during the Eagles' 88-80 win Friday.
  Electric might be the most accurate way to describe the atmosphere during fifth-ranked Hobbs' 88-80 overtime victory over rival No. 8 Clovis on Friday at Tasker Arena.
  The student section was packed and rocking – sporting signs, painted faces and plenty of black and gold.
  The rest of the Hobbs fans squeezed into the other sections and were loud – so loud, there were times I couldn't hear the horn on several occasions – as they watched their Eagles win the District 4-5A title.
  Sure, the excitement was amplified because it was Clovis, but there seemed to be something more about Friday night.
  It was a rebirth of sort for the Hobbs boys basketball program and an important announcement to the rest of New Mexico from the Eagles and 3,000-plus of its friends in Tasker Arena.
  Hobbs is back.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Hobbs boys move up to fifth in latest coaches poll

  Not more than a few hours past when the New Mexico High School Coaches Association released its latest poll did a big upset occur in Class 5A as No. 6 Eldorado defeated No. 2 La Cueva 76-57 Wednesday night. It may make Hobbs' stay in the top five brief (Hobbs moved past Eldorado from sixth to fifth) as Eldorado has been voted favorably throughout the season. Still, a win over Clovis on Friday at Tasker Arena to clinch District 4-5A with a perfect 4-0 mark may be enough to keep them there. And who knows where (or if) La Cueva will slide. My bet would be that Albuquerque High moves past La Cueva in the poll if it wins out this week. Like I said before, this week will determine a lot in how the state tournament is seeded.

Class 5A
1. Las Cruces 186 (16)

2. La Cueva 153
3. Albuquerque 149 (2)
4. Cibola 144 (1)
5. Hobbs 106
6. Eldorado 105
7. Sandia 52
8. Clovis 50
9. Volcano Vista 40
10. West Mesa 27

Sunday, February 12, 2012

My Feb. 12 projected Class 5A boys state tournament seeding

  These are my latest projections two weeks prior to when the NMAA releases the final state seedings on Feb. 26. I did my best to look at each team's schedule, head-to-head matchups and so on to see where each team would be seeded if the state playoffs started today. I didn't take into account district finish just yet with still a week left of district play (a team can't be seeded above a team it finished behind in district play). Also remember there is some adjustments in the back end to ensure teams in the same district don't face each other (i.e. I had Oñate as the last team in, but switched it with Highland because the Knights can't face No. 1 Las Cruces in the first round). All records (except for Hobbs because I know it is 18-7) were taken from the NMAA's website.

1. Las Cruces (19-4, 7-0 District 3-5A)
2. La Cueva (19-3, 4-0 District 2-5A)
3. Albuquerque High (19-3, 6-0 District 5-5A)
4. Cibola (17-4, 3-1 District 1-5A)
5. Hobbs (18-7, 3-0 District 4-5A)
6. Clovis (13-8, 1-1 District 4-5A)
7. Eldorado (15-7, 3-1 District 2-5A)
8. Sandia (13-10, 1-3 District 2-5A)
9. Volcano Vista (13-9, 3-1 District 1-5A)
10. Mayfield (12-11, 4-2 District 3-5A)
11. Manzano (13-9, 0-3 District 2-5A)
12. West Mesa (15-7, 4-2 District 5-5A)
13. Valley (10-11, 2-3 District 5-5A)
14. Rio Rancho (11-13, 1-3 District 1-5A)
15. Oñate (9-14, 3-3 District 3-5A)
16. Highland (9-14, 2-5 District 5-5A)

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Sixth-ranked Eagles' conditioning, pace wearing out opponents

Brad Cox/News-Sun
Hobbs' Austin Montoya drives during a game
earlier this season at Tasker Arena.
  The sixth-ranked Hobbs boys basketball team clung to a 42-40 lead heading into the second half against unranked Carlsbad on Friday at Caveman Gym.
  But there was no worry on the faces of the Eagles as they came out for the second half. There was just a look (dare I say, a swagger) that they believed all the work put in during the summer and fall to play 32 minutes of fast-paced, pressing basketball was going to bring them home down the stretch.
  It did as the Eagles outscored the Cavemen 51-26 in the second half on their way to a 93-66 victory, moving Hobbs to 3-0 in District 4-5A and its winning streak to seven.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

NMHSCA Girls Poll: Lady Eagles move up to No. 5, Tatum still No. 2

  In the girls basketball polls this week, Hobbs moved up a spot to No. 5 after defeating Clovis (now ranked fourth) at home and losing in overtime to No. 7 Carlsbad last week. District 4-5A is probably the toughest girls basketball district in the state as all three teams are tied at 1-1 after two games (though Clovis made a statement by beating Carlsbad 70-29 Tuesday night in Clovis). The final two weeks of district play are crucial for positioning in the state tournament.
  Lovington is getting votes in 3A and is a bit more dangerous with two-time Lea County Girls Basketball Player of the Year Mystica Perez back in action after missing the first three months of the season due to injury. If the Lady Wildcats can just get in the tournament (and a win over Ruidoso at home on Friday would go a long way in helping the cause) then anything is possible for Lovington.

NMHSCA Boys Poll: Eagles move up to No. 6, Wildcats enter top 10

  With selection Sunday just a few weeks away (Feb. 26) and the New Mexico High School Coaches Association Poll a part of the criteria in selecting the teams, lets take a look where the Lea County teams sit in their respective classifications.
  Hobbs leaped up to No. 6 from No. 10 after defeating Clovis 78-68 on the road Friday (Clovis was ranked fifth at the time and dropped to eighth). I think a sixth ranking is OK but I probably would've had Hobbs fifth ahead of Eldorado. Hobbs has wins over Clovis and Volcano Vista (both by double digits), teams Eldorado has lost to this season.
  In 3A, Lovington jumped into the top 10 at No. 8 after wins on the road against District 4-3A foes Ruidoso and Portales. With the Wildcats at 2-0, Ruidoso 1-1 and Portales 0-2, Lovington can clinch the district title and an automatic berth into state Friday with a win at home over Ruidoso. Not bad for a team that had lost four of its last five heading into district.
  As for the rest of the Lea County boys teams, work will have to be done between now and Feb. 26 to solidify a spot in the state tournament.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

After double-digit win in Clovis, where does Hobbs sit in state playoff picture?

  After the 10th-ranked Eagles' 78-68 win over No. 5 Clovis on Friday at The Rock in Clovis (a game I'm writing a column about for Sunday's paper), I got to thinking on the long drive home about where the win put Hobbs in the state playoff picture with just two games left (at Carlsbad on Friday, host Clovis the following Friday on Feb. 17).
  I've been hesitant to rank Hobbs higher due to not beating a quality team on the road yet, but after beating Clovis by 10 in Clovis in a game it led by double digits for most of the final three quarters, the Eagles deserve to move up. Hobbs is currently 9-2 against N.M. teams (losses to 5A No. 1 Las Cruces and 4A No. 1 Roswell) but crushed 4A No. 2 Goddard (103- 79) - which will likely move to No. 1 after thumping Roswell High 73-54 Friday night - during the Eagles' active six-game winning streak.

Friday, February 3, 2012

Hobbs vs. Clovis: New Mexico's greatest basketball rivalry

Hobbs News-Sun Photo
Hobbs' Jeffery Taylor (now at Vanderbilt) goes up
for a dunk as Clovis' Jaye Crockett (now at Texas
Tech) defends during a game in 2008.
  Rivalries don't get much better than Hobbs and Clovis boys basketball as the two teams square off tonight at Rock Staubus Gymnasium in Clovis.
  Let me clarify, there IS NOT a rivalry better in New Mexico then when the Eagles and Wildcats take the court at either Tasker Arena or Rock Staubus Gymnasium.
  It doesn't matter if it's a Clovis fan getting a glimpse of black and gold or a Hobbs fan gazing at purple, both see red when looking at the other. Intensity of the players and fans is always turned up to 11 when the two teams take the court against each other.