Look, the analyst in me sees a Lobo win. They are bigger on the perimeter. They have multiple ball handlers, and a deeper bench. They have more shooters and many more "looks" to them. They are better freethrow shooters down the stretch and have learned how to close out games. They are peaking and their best players have been improving considerably. They have a real live Point Guard who is mature and makes great decisions. They have at least 2 All-America level performers in Drew Gordon and Kendall Williams. Their role players are working hard and their assist numbers are rising. They score more points and hold their opponents to fewer. They have the right coaching staff. If they protect the ball and play their game, they should win by 8-12 points.
Okay, that's my head. Yes, my head. I see that scenario as the most likely having watched both teams quite a few times. (Admittedly, the Lobos a bunch more times...but I've watched the Cardinals at least 8 times this season) Now for the heart. As a lifetime Lobo fan, this heart of mine is one that has been broken so many times, I'm still amazed at my own resiliency. What does my heart say? The Lobos will lose...again. Dammit. I've been here before. Many, many, many times. The Lobos simply never win two games in any tournament except for every several years in the Mountain West or the WAC, or whatever historical conference tournament iteration New Mexico called home.... Have they ever won two games in the NCAA tourney? Sort of rhetorical, right? I don't have the heart to answer. After the win against a very tough and inspired Long Beach State, I see some great signs in this Lobo team and one of the most important beyond talent or character may just be luck. Luck will play an important part in this next game against the Cardinals. I'll tell you right now that Kyle Kuric can flat out shoot and drive and play ball. Siva can drive against anybody in the NBA. They just won the Big East tournament. If the Cardinals plays to their potential, the Lobos will go right down in the same way they did against Washington and the nightmare against Cal State Fullerton so many years ago.
So, my heart? It says my beloved Lobos will find a way to play a poor game far below their potential which will further solidify the relational frustration against the big programs who will continue to gloat over their deserved reputations as winners. Why? Because it's always been that way.
Prove me wrong Lobos. I've always been ready to be proven wrong. Heck, I actually pray for the Lobos. I suggest you do the same.