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Tag:New Mexico Lobos
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: 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. 
Posted on: December 25, 2012 8:18 am
 

Mountain West Christmas week opportunity

So, do you have game or not?  That is the question.  If the Mountain West is any good, then it has the opportunity to prove it on the court this week.  Put up or shut up, right?

Everyone knows that unless you're in the Big 10, the Big East, or the ACC, that you absolutely must play (well) outside your conference to gain any respect.  That is true for the teams out west and doubly true for the teams in the Mountain West conference.  Few fans or those in the college basketball profession know much about any teams in the MWC, and they'd be happy to never learn, but this week provides an unmistakable opportunity for the MWC.

This week presents an undeniable stage for the Mountain West conference to make some kind of a statement, as there are four big games that will feature teams from the MWC.  The trouble is that for many, these games will solidify any generalizations already made.  The decks are most certainly stacked against the MWC in all of these games.  The fact is that all four of these featured games involve a MWC team going into a hostile, and in many cases, storied venue where the home team has a significant advantage.  Such is the face of opportunity.  

This year, the Mountain West conference is one of the nation's top conferences with 7 of 9 teams with only 2 or fewer losses to date.  Most rank the conference in the top 4 this season- some as high as #2- in the country.  There are four teams in the MWC who are either ranked or who are knocking at the door.  (NOTE:  In case you want some proof the MWC is under-respected, when New Mexico lost its first game, it dropped 10 spots this week)  The missing piece is that few fans back East, or those in the national media, get the opportunity to watch these western teams play.  For better or for worse, this week, that will change.


New Mexico @ Cincinnati- The Lobos are coming off their first loss at the Pit to Nate Wolters and South Dakota St.  They will be visiting the Big East's leading team, the Cincinnati Bearcats, who have won all 12 of their games this year- most in dramatic style.

Air Force @ Florida-  8-2 Air Force will travel to meet a very talented Florida team coming off a loss @ Kansas State.   Although Florida has lost two games, many pick them to be a national contender in March.  The Falcons will bring one of the nation's top guards, Michael Lyons to town.

SDSU @ Arizona- Anyone who knows the McKale center in Tucson knows the challenge of winning at Arizona.  This year, undefeated and 4th ranked, Arizona looks like they're back.  SDSU's Jamaal Franklin is one of those rare players who can carry his team to victory, but their work is cut out for them against a loaded Arizona team.

UNLV @ North Carolina-  Last season, it looked as though North Carolina's season was over early when it was beaten in Las Vegas.  This is a revenge game in one of America's toughest places to play at Chapel Hill.  Given UNLV's performance to date, this could be more of a test for North Carolina, who will face perhaps the best frontcourt in the nation when they play the Runnin' Rebels, even withough Mike Moser.  Although many have said that this Tarheel team isn't good, who wants to face them at their home or who wants to draw their name in March?  Yeah, I thought so.
Posted on: December 24, 2012 11:53 am
 

Cincinnati hosts New Mexico

One of the featured games of Christmas week basketball will be this Thursday, 27 December when the Cincinnati Bearcats host the New Mexico Lobos at 9PM EST.  The game will be televised live on ESPN2.  

The Bearcats haven't lost this season and are now sitting pretty at 12-0.  The Lobos are coming their first loss of the season against South Dakota State and are 12-1.  

Game analysis:

Coming off a rare home loss at the Pit to South Dakota State, and travelling to Cincinnati, advantage should go to the Bearcats who are unbeaten.  New Mexico, however, has played well enough on the road.  New Mexico will want seek to take advantage of its size inside will attempt to get to the freethrow line.  Both teams this season are exceeding expectation.  Cincinnati will attack and try to get the Lobos into a run and gun game.  New Mexico has the ability to shoot from the outside if the Bearcats go to a zone defense. Cincinnati struggles in the half-court offense but excels in the open court.  New Mexico is the opposite.  Cincinnati was unhappy that New Mexico's only date to visit was two days after Christmas which forces the Bearcats to practice on Christmas.  The featured matchup is Cincinnati's Sean Kilpatrick against New Mexico's Kendall Williams.  New Mexico is 3-0 against the spread on the road this season and Cincinnati is 2-3 at home against the spread.  Line will be Cincy with 7-10 point advantage.  


CINCINNTI:

Led by Sean Kilpatrick, Cincinnati is one of the top rebounding teams in the country averaging over 46 boards a contest.  They are also in the top 20 in scoring and close to the top 25 in total defense allowing only 57.7 points per game.  Their wins against Iowa State, Oregon, Alabama, and Xavier are notable.  THe only team able to hang with the Bearcats this season was Alabama (58-56) needing PG Cashmere Wright to make a buzzer beater to win the game.  

Cincinnati players:

Sean Kilpatrick (G-F):  Averaging over 19PPG and is the Bearcats leading rebounder.
Cashmere Wright:  Averaging 14 PPG including 36% from beyond the arc, 
JaQuon Parker:  12PPG- not a great shooter, but important all-around performer
Cheikh Mbodj:  Gets in foul trouble, but big presence and shoots a good percentage

OTHERS:
Jeremiah Davis III
Justin Jackson
David Nyarsuk
Shaquille Thomas
Jermaine Sanders


NEW MEXICO:

Statistically not impressive, but at 12-1 with wins over UConn, Ill-Chicago, George Mason and road wins at Indiana St and New Mexico St, they have played above expectation.  Have played a slightly tougher schedule, overall, than Cincinnati.  Good freethrow shooting team.  7 shoot from beyond the arc.  


New Mexico players:

Kendall Willams:  Energetic guard who shoots, can get to the rim and dishes better than most  15PPG, 5APG
Tony Snell:  Big guard who is the team's best shooter but has struggled.  He can handle the ball also
Alex Kirk:  7-foot center who prefers to shoot from beyond freethrow line, 8RPG, 1 BPG, 
Hugh Greenwood:  Australian PG, great ball handler, shoots, excellent rebounder
Cameron Bairstow:  Another Aussie, big presence, shoots high percentage, scrappy

OTHERS:
Chad Adams
Demetrius Walker
Jamal Fenton
Nick Banyard

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