Shortly after a stunning WAC-opening win against defending champion Utah State, New Mexico State forward Wendell McKines went on his blog and called out the team's fans for being "frontrunners" and failing to pack the house.
McKines eventually apologized for that and his arrest on a warrant for unpaid fines, but also wrote, "I really feel like something special is going to happen this year."
Lo and behold, attendance is up in Las Cruces as the Aggies have won seven of eight following McKines' online meltdown, are sitting only a game behind Utah State in the standings and could be the sleeper of the conference tournament.
The Aggies' high-powered offense features five players who average double figures, led by guard Jahmar Young (20.9 ppg). McKines (11.7 ppg) and forward Troy Gillenwater (15 ppg) both began the season academically ineligible, and their returns have sparked the team.
Louisiana Tech started 5-0 in conference play, but eventually fell back when New Mexico State completed the season sweep last week at home in front of 5,549 on an unlikely play -- Hernst Laroche's game-winning jumper with 1.1 seconds left.
That leaves perennial postseason team Utah State at the top and gives New Mexico State at least a shot to make itself heard down the stretch.
Paul George, G/F, Fresno State, So. -- How good he George? After missing four games with a severely sprained ankle, he dropped 30 on New Mexico State in his first game back last week.
Luke Babbitt, F, Nevada, So. -- The 6-foot-9 lefty leads the WAC with 9.6 rebounds per game and can score from all over the court, averaging 21.6 points per game.
Armon Johnson, G, Nevada, Jr. -- Johnson is the reigning WAC player of the week after scoring 23, including the game-winning bucket against Idaho, and leads the conference in assists.
Adrian Oliver, G, San Jose State, Jr. -- The transfer from Washington poured in 28 points on Saturday against Utah State, the most by an Aggies opponent this season.
Magnum Rolle, C/F, Louisiana Tech, Sr. -- The 6-foot-11 transfer from LSU by way of the Bahamas has been especially dominant on the offensive glass.
Hawaii -- Second-leading scorer Dwain Williams has been suspended indefinitely, and fourth-leading scorer Jeremy Lay is set to undergo season-ending hernia surgery, as the Warriors have lost seven straight.
Boise State -- The Broncos haven't won this month, but hope they can have better luck with upcoming nonconference opponents Cal State Bakersfield and UC Davis.
Idaho -- The Vandals' one-point loss to Nevada last week left coach Don Verlin declaring his team was no "doormat," complaining about the officiating and earning a reprimand from WAC conference commissioner Karl Benson.
Key games to watch
Feb. 20 -- Louisiana Tech at Northeastern: Utah State lost in Boston in November, so it'll be interesting to see if the Bulldogs can steal a BracketBuster win there.
Feb. 25 -- Nevada at San Jose State: Oliver and Babbitt, the conference's top two scorers, square off in what could be a high-scoring affair three nights after Oliver goes up against Seattle's Charles Garcia.
March 6 -- New Mexico State at Utah State: This could be the deciding game for the regular-season championship, but Utah State is riding a 21-game conference winning streak at the Spectrum.