The New Mexico (NM) Lobos are 3-7 coming into tonight’s game. They will be facing Arizona at “The Pit” in Albuquerque and here is a look at NM and their previous game against New Mexico State. NM lost 65-62.
#3 Antino Jackson 6’0″ G (Sr.)
#31 Troy Simons 6’3″ G (Jr.)
#10 Makuach Maluach 6’5″ G (Fr.)
#11 Jachai Simmons 6’7″ F (Jr.)
#5 Joe Furstinger 6’9″ F (Sr.)
Off the bench: #1 Chris McNeal 6’1″ G (Jr.), #15 Vladimir Pinchuk 6’10” F (Fr.), #32 Anthony Mathis 6’3″ G (Jr.), #14 Dane Kuiper 6’7″ F (Jr.)
Offense: NM runs a fairly typical offense with some pick and roll and perimeter weaves/screens with an emphasis on spreading the floor and looking for 3’s and dribble penetration. They did look to get out in transition pretty regularly.
Defense: NM played full-court press defense the entire game against New Mexico St. and changed up pretty regularly between man, 1-2-1-1, and 2-2-1 falling back into a half-court man-to-man.
Strengths: This team has pretty good athleticism on the perimeter with a number of quick guards with decent length. All players looked to shoot from the perimeter when given the opportunity.
Weaknesses: Got out of control at times on offense and on the break. Shot selection at times was poor. Not a particularly strong rebounding team.
Summary: NM’s leading scorer and, arguably, best player #2 Sam Logwood 6’7″ F (Sr.) did not play in this game against New Mexico St. for “personal reasons”. His leave of absence remains a mystery as does his availability for tonight’s game. Rumors suggest that he will be back on the team tonight and I would imagine, if true, he will be given the chance to play. He is leading the team in scoring and rebounding with 15 and 5. NM is ranked 15th in the NCAA with a whopping 31 3-point attempts per game, making about 35% of them. They have just under a 42% field-goal percentage which ranks 298th in the NCAA.
“The Pit” is always a difficult place to play…especially when Arizona comes to town. There is a rich history between these teams and I’m reminded of the historic game from the 1987-1988 season in which New Mexico–in The Pit–got their first and only win against a #1 ranked team by beating the Sean Elliot and Steve Kerr led Wildcats.
Keys for the Cats: The return of #2 Logwood will have a definite impact on this game. If he plays, the overall athletic edge could tilt in NM’s direction. Expect NM to put up a lot of 3’s and the Cats will have to focus on grabbing some long rebounds and loose balls. They can’t allow NM’s press to speed them up or get them out of control. Ayton should dominate again inside and Arizona’s playmakers should be able to get to the basket as well as get some easy transition buckets if they choose to try and “outrun” the press. NM was very effective against New Mexico St. in making them take a lot of “late in the shot-clock” shots. This should be a decent road test and great experience for the Cats (particularly the younger players) as the “The Pit” should be loud and swinging…like a Pendulum.