Posted: 1:26 a.m. Sunday, March 17, 2013
By Nicolas Lewis
Sim Bhullar is a unique player to game plan for. Though that's no surprise, since I'm pretty sure he's the only player in D-I right now who is both 7'5" and 355 pounds. He is a freshman, and is very raw, but he is learning and is a force for any team to reckon with.
That was evident repeatedly tonight, as Jordan Reves - Texas-Arlington's 6'10" center - regularly got bodied off the blocks. That is, on the infrequent occasion that he and his teammates weren't trying to avoid Bhullar at all costs.It was rather surprising to watch the Mavericks do so little to attack Bhullar and get him moving and into some possible foul trouble, whether their shots were blocked or not.
Bhullar's 16 points, 15 rebounds and five blocks were key for the Aggies, though Daniel Mullings scoring another 16 points - finished with an emphatic dunk for the final points - was just as important. The Mavericks had no answer late, mainly because Karol Gruszecki, their most dependable three-point shooter, fouled out on an iffy charge call with several minutes left, erasing their ability to not panick and launch long jumpers.
New Mexico State will be intriguing in the tourney. Sure, Bhullar is a massive presence down low, and that was a great weapon in a good-but-not-great conference like the WAC. In the tournament, they will face more athletic squads that will be better able to move the ball and get by that size - UTA had several occasions where they dropped in short jumpers over Bhullar's inability to close out on defense.
The Aggies defend well, but not always without getting in foul trouble, so it will be interesting to see whether Bhullar's size is an asset that other teams don't know how to solve, or if his lack of mobility becomes a detriment to NMSU's game plan on both ends. I see Bhullar unable to stay with more athletic bigs and stay on the floor, creating a much less successful Aggies product, but I guess we will have to wait and see.