Tag:Mountain West champion
Posted on: November 20, 2012 8:30 pm
 

New Mexico beats UConn

Shabazz?

Muhammed?

Nope...Napier.  UConn's basketball team is challenged this year because of NCAA sactions.  Some of their best players and prospects left to greener pastures, but Shabazz Napier is a superb player.  So is Boatright.  But...that wasn't enough.

The Lobos were deeper- where UConn had 2 really good players, New Mexico had 7 pretty good players- with flashes of brilliance from at least 3.  Still, New Mexico looked tentative.  The truth was that were it not for foul shooting, this game wouldn't have been close.  UConn would have won easily.  BUT...New Mexico did shoot a bunch of freethrows and they missed...zero.  As a matter of fact, I'm not sure I remember more than 2 balls hitting any iron at all.  They all seemed to hit the bottom of the net.  

There was a really good sign for New Mexico.  Normally when looking at stats for a particular team, the best player will lead in two categories- it's certainly been true for the Lobos for several years.  New Mexico has always seemed to have that dominating player...since the days of Danny Granger and most recently Drew Gordon- the best Lobo usually led in at least two- and sometimes more categories.  This time, Tony Snell led the "points per game" state.  Kendall Williams led in steals.  Hugh Greenwood led in assists and Alex Kirk led the battle of the boards.   New Mexico plays at least 7 players and usually 9.  It's Steve Alford's way.

The intangibles were good.  Good ball movement.  A sort of look of intensity from each player that was reminiscent of the wolf mascot.  There was good team play- almost to a fault.  At times it seemed like noone wanted to take the shot.  At other times, there was quickness as Fenton sliced through defenses at will and Alford benched him as if in partial punishment.  Greenwood was also able to get to the rim, but didn't really seem to know how to finish.  Still, Greenwood may be the best rebounding guard in New Mexico history.  Alex Kirk is most certainly the best outside shooting center.  There are a couple of freshmen who look like they can play.  Wonder if they'll ever get the chance?  Albuquerque senior Chad Adams seemed to have learned quite a lot over the past 3 years.  He was a seasoned bench player who made nice contributions.

The big advantage of this team is that they have at least 5 players who can hit the 3 pointer.  They will be hard to contain because they swing the ball very well with the intent of shooting from behind the arc. 
 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com