Play Fantasy Use your Fantasy skills to win Cash Prizes. Join or start a league today. Play Now
 
Posted on: April 2, 2013 6:14 am
 

Neal needs to be coach at New Mexico

I hear New Mexico hired Altman from Oregon.  Say it ain't so.

Craig Neal is the only viable coaching hire at this point.  New Mexico would be crazy to not give him a chance because he's the only choice that would keep the Lobo team together next year.  Otherwise, the program loses all momentum.  I think anyone who has watched Alford coach knows that Neal is not only an important part of Alford's success, he may be the most important element.  While I can understand why Alford would take the UCLA job, right now, New Mexico is a better program overall.  Obviously, there is that little thing about the Lobos failing to ever produce in the tournament, but the New Mexico fan base remains impressive.  I can't think of any program aside from Indiana that Alford should have taken.  He had an opportunity to do something special at New Mexico and now that won't happen.  Next year's New Mexico team could be pretty good.  Snell, Kirk, and Bairstow along with Williams would be formidable next year.  I think only Alex Kirk is a legit NBA player right now.  Snell isn't close yet although the potential is obvious.  Williams has a spark but is slow to light.  Bairstow could be a fine role player in the NBA in another year.

On the other side, the freshman class at UCLA and some of the LA recruits may be stellar next season assuming Muhammed sticks around another year...probably not.  I hated Howland's coaching.  He found a way to make great talent mediocre.  He slowed them down so much that it was sickening.  I hate to tell the Bruin fans, but Alford is very similar to Howland.  He slows down the game.  It would be like hiring Bo Ryan thinking he would make UCLA more exciting.

Anyway, hire Craig Neal for a year and see what he does.  He would keep the Lobos intact for a run next year.  I would love to see what he can do.  He would certainly be set up for success next year and not bad if he could keep Kirk.  Contrary to Alford's obvious success, he was never a favorite of the Lobo faithful because of his style.  He's sort of a puhk....a very successful punk, but a punk nevertheless.  Sorry to see his kid go because he was a serious shooter-reminds me of Ole Miss' Henderson- without the antics and baggage.

Hire Craig Neal.  Period...or perhaps a semi-colon...if you can lure the Wichita St coach, that would be fine too.  Good luck though... So while it's not good ridance to Alford, I would say the general sentiment is "hey man, good luck...don't let the door hit you on the butt on the way out..."
Posted on: February 8, 2013 8:37 pm
 

New Mexico vs UNLV- Big opportunity for Lobos

This is another opportunity.  This season, the Lobos have been pretty good taking advatage of opportunities.  They beat UConn in the Virgin Islands.  They went to Cincinnati and beat the Bearcats.  That was good.  They beat UNLV in the MWC opener at the Pit.  Good.  While they've had three setbacks, they've been lucky and they've earned their wins.  Lucky has to be the word when the winning margin is so slim.  There's also some skill involved.  Clearly.  The Lobos truly are balanced and have all the components.

Now the potential.  While their two terrible halfs (@ St. Louis and @ San Diego State) have colored their resume darkly, New Mexico is on the verge of a steep climb up the polls as it seems the elite teams are losing at a more rapid rate than normal.  The top 10 are unstable.  That's putting it mildly.  If New Mexico were to go to Las Vegas and beat the Runnin' Rebels, I think there are arguments for a Top 10 ranking.  No doubt.  When compared with teams like Ohio State, Kansas State, and several others, the Lobos' resume is stronger.  There is even argument that the Lobos can be considered as a Top 5 teams...but they have to keep winning.  The coaches and the writers are still doubtful that the Lobos are as good as their top 5 RPI and SoS.  Anyone who follows basketball knows that the Lobos have their work cut out for them at UNLV.  UNLV is in a similar situation as was San Diego State, when their backs were against the wall and we know what happened at Viejas Arena.  This time New Mexico knows they have to play well against one of the most talented teams in the country.  If they come out with a win, the entire tables of the Mountain West Conference will turn in favor of the Lobos.    

New Mexico is poised to skyrocket up the polls and has the potential to be ranked near the top of college basketball. 
Posted on: February 3, 2013 8:17 am
 

Good time to be a Lobo fan

Good time to a New Mexico Lobo fan.   After getting demolished visiting San Diego State, they won two games.  Normally, no big deal, but this week they'll shoot up the polls from #20 to the low teens after Oregon, Butler, Wichita St, Ole Miss, NC St, and Mizzou all lost- most of them twice- and in Butler's case, lost big @ St Louis.  I thought it wasn't possible for anyone to get blown out like New Mexico did at St Louis, but then there was the Butler visit.
Posted on: January 31, 2013 7:00 am
 

#20 New Mexico has an opportunity...again

A ranked New Mexico team is not a good thing.  At least not so far in the 2013 season.  They just can't take success.  One ranked, they lose.  Sometimes losing big.  Well, they have another opportunity.  The Sports writers gave New Mexico the benefit of the doubt after the Lobos went into Viejas arena at San Diego State and seemed to forget how to play the game.  It was so lopsided, that even the homerist of homers was wondering.   fully expected the Lobos to drop out of the rankings altogether after the drubbing.  Let's be honest, the reason the Lobos are still ranked is mostly about the rest of the top 25 lost their games in the same week.  You don't always have to outrun the bear...as long as you outrun the guy next to you.    

Well, here they are again ranked #20 and just having won @ Wyoming along with 5 teams who outrank them in the teens just losing, they're back in the 15 range- especially only needing to go home and beat Nevada at the Pit.  Well, it may not be too easy given the Lobos' apparent affinity for playing close games.  Although it sounds trite, Nevada is better than their record would suggest.  They have the ability to win at the Pit...but boy, I hope the kids on the Lobos understand that.  Vegas does.  While other powerhouse teams are being favored by 17 or even 25+ at home, the Lobos line will certainly be lucky to break double digits at -10.  

Now in the driver's seat in the MWC at 5-1, New Mexico simply needs to win at home and play well away...which is exactly what they've been doing.  They are in the discussion as one of the better teams in the country- mostly because of their sky-high RPI earned against UConn, Cincinnati, UNLV, and a large group of teams who are playing well.  Now all they need to do is continue their success and they'll be in good shape and, for a team who has won most of their games in nail-biters, are sporting one of the best resumes of any Lobo team in history.  
 
Posted on: January 12, 2013 5:18 pm
 

New Mexico win over Fresno State best yet

Although New Mexico is having a suprising banner year so-far and is now 2-0 in the tougher than usual MWC, this win over Fresno State is their best yet.  At the beginning of the game there was already controversy as starter Chad Adam's knee was too sore to play and team leader Kendall Williams was late to the game and was benched for the entire game by Coach Alford.  The last time a similar thing happened against South Dakota State I think we remembered what happened.  Yeah, the Lobos lost.  This time, against an underrated Fresno State team that although living in the cellar of the MWC, has played almost everygame this year close.  They had held all but one opponent under 65 points.  (UCLA)  Now they had a New Mexico team in the Pit who had been struggling mightily shooting.  So what happens?  New Mexico blows them out.  Cameron Bairstow dominates from the tipoff and Alex Kirk comes in in the second half and dominates.  72-45.  The Lobos outrebound Fresno St 42-21, out shoot them 49% to 33%.  

This Lobo team is deep and if they were to find that kind of combination more, it will be a very good year.    
Posted on: January 10, 2013 7:43 am
 

Lobos over Runnin' Rebels

The very talented UNLV Runnin' Rebels don't like the Pit.  The place has had that effect on them for generations.  Last year, UNLV visited the Pit and was blown out by 20.  This year it was close.  The Lobos missing enough freethrows down the stretch to give UNLV the chance to tie or win more than once, but it was not to be.  The 6th man was too much...and so was 7-footer Alex Kirk from Los Alamos.  Although not highly recruited, Kirk took some of the best frontcourt players in the nation to school.  He dominated inside and outside from the opening.  UNLV's phenom freshman, Anthony Bennett collected 3 fouls in the 1st half which slowed his aggressiveness down and the human flea, Khem Birch, could not ever get the best of the Lobos big man.  When they stayed inside and established a solid guard low, Kirk popped out beyond the 3-point line and drilled it.  Inside, some fancy footwork by Kirk led to a one-sided affair against some of the nation's best.

Kirk ended the game with a career high 23 points and 9 boards.  Veteran guard Anthony Marshall led UNLV in both rebounds (9) and assists (7).  That's not good when you have such size and atleticism in one frontcourt.  Lots of credit also needs to go to and undersized and inujured Albuquerque native, Chad Adams, who had the unenviable task of guarding Bennett for much of the night- and keeping him in check.  More than that, he kept the Lobos in it at the opening of the game by scoring 6 points early.  He ended up outrebounding the apparent freshman of the year Bennett 10- 6.

Lobos beat UNLV (who I pick to go deep in the Big Dance) at the Pit.  65-60.

GO LOBOS!!! 
Posted on: December 31, 2012 11:41 pm
 

New Mexico gets its butt kicked


So the Lobos were in some kind of nightmare on the road @ St Louis.  They show up to find Mitchell playing his second game of the season, who was a spark on defense and offense.  St. Louis extended the defense and the Lobos seemed not to figure out that they didn't have to continue passing the ball around the perimeter.  Boy, did they pay and kept on paying, and all the coaching staff did was send in substitutes.  10 minutes in it was desperation time with 16 turnovers by halftime.  At the half, St Louis had taken 20 more shots than the Lobos.  Are you kidding me?  How many good shots did the Lobos take in the 1st half?  Remember that unpredictable turnover machine Kendall Williams and that uncontrolled Walker?  Well, they picked a helluva time to show back up.  St. Louis' big man has a career day and the Lobos continue to stand around watching the ball.  Nobody moving their feet.  Their 7-foot center spending most of his time around the arc setting moving picks.  It really looked stupid.  

So in terms of momentum for New Mexico.  It's stopped.  There is none.  Goodbye ranking for awhile.  While all is not lost, the next 6 games are very tough.  If the MWC is as tough as many of us think it is, then New Mexico had better wake up.  

All of us MWC fans know how good is UNLV-at least in terms of potential.  It will take the Lobos playing to full potential just to hang with the Runnin Rebels at Thomas & Mack.  The Lobos will certainly fall back out of the rankings and I couldn't think of a more deserving team to re-evaluate their game.  Alford was pretty dumb to get caught up in a tussle with the ref and get tossed.  They sure had the chance to win the game after they cut it to 10 with more than 11 minutes left, then Lobo defense broke down again and the Lobos put up several horrible shots and didn't go after any balls.  Lots of standing around in this game by New Mexico.

Give a good St Louis credit.  I know it sounds trite, but St Louis is a very good team.  If they force other teams to play into their plans, they will have a great year.  We'll see how New Mexico recovers after getting their butts kicked. 
Posted on: December 28, 2012 5:27 pm
 

report card Lobo basketball

Cincy win 

Huge. 
 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com