Skip to content

New Mexico now MWC’s favorite, but are they best out west?

Feb 18, 2012, 4:08 PM EDT

120218-drew-gordon

UNLV is not a very good road team. That much we knew heading into their Saturday afternoon (well, Saturday morning for those out west) matchup with New Mexico in Albequerque.

Considering that the Lobos are playing their best basketball of the season, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that New Mexico was able to beat No. 11 UNLV. In other words, if I was a betting man, I would have put my money on Steve Alford’s club.

What was surprising, however, was just how badly New Mexico beat down the Rebels. After trailing 27-26 at the end of the first half and finding themselves tied at 36 with 12 minutes left in the game, the Lobos used a 12-0 run to spark a 29-9 surge that closed the game, winning 65-45.

New Mexico’s defense was, once again, stifling. UNLV finished the game shooting 31.1% from the floor and 6-21 from three while turning the ball over 15 times. Over the final 12 minutes, as the Lobos made the game’s deciding run, UNLV was just 2-9 from the floor with six turnovers. At one point, the Lobos forced turnovers on four consecutive possessions, which sparked the game’s deciding run.

It is now official. New Mexico is the best team in the Mountain West. That’s what happens when, in the span of four days, you put together dominating wins over the two other contenders while taking over sole possession of first place in the league standings. On Wednesday, New Mexico beat San Diego State 77-67.

There is more to it that simply having the best record in the Mountain West. New Mexico looks like they may actually be the best team out west.

The biggest reason has been the recent play of Drew Gordon. After going for 17 points and 17 boards against SDSU, Gordon went for 27 points and 20 boards on 13-20 shooting against the Rebs. He was absolutely unstoppable on the block, and it wasn’t just because he was putting back offensive rebounds or finding himself on the finishing end of an alley-oop. Gordon was scoring with his back to the basket, which is something the big man hasn’t done consistently in his time with the Lobos.

With Kendall Williams and Jamal Fenton helping to make up for the recent struggles of Tony Snell, New Mexico has plenty of talent — and shooting — on the perimeter to keep the floor spread.

Throw in a talented bench rotation and plenty of size, and the MWC’s preseason favorite is finally starting to play like it.

This is a group with the horses to be a serious threat come March.

Rob Dauster is the editor of the college basketball website Ballin’ is a Habit. You can find him on twitter @ballinisahabit.

Latest Posts
  1. Frank Mason playing with sore wrist for Kansas in World University Games

    Jul 7, 2015, 10:30 PM EDT

    AP AP

    The junior point guard is one of several banged up Jayhawks.

  2. Michigan State’s Eron Harris suspended indefinitely following drunk driving arrest

    Jul 7, 2015, 9:06 PM EDT

    AP AP

    Eron Harris averaged 17.2 points per game for West Virginia in the 2013-14 season.

  3. Top 10 plays from the FIBA U19 World Championships

    Jul 7, 2015, 8:17 PM EDT

    AP AP

    Jalen Brunson, Harry Giles, Jayson Tatum, Tyler Dorsey and Terrance Ferguson were included in the top plays.

  4. Trae Jefferson commits to Texas Southern

    Jul 7, 2015, 6:52 PM EDT

    Getty Images Getty Images

    Mike Davis has one of the most entertaining players joining the program.

  5. Re-ranking Recruiting Classes: Who are the 25 best players from the Class of 2010?

    Jul 7, 2015, 4:21 PM EDT

    Kyrie Irving (Getty Images) Getty Images

    The No. 1 player from 2010 turned into one of the biggest busts in recent memory.

  6. Coach K shares a story of the time he got a picture with Beyonce

    Jul 7, 2015, 12:30 PM EDT

    Twitter Twitter

    See, he’s just a creepy fanboy like the rest of us!

  7. Rematch of the 2000 national title game scheduled for 2015

    Jul 7, 2015, 12:18 PM EDT

    izzo Getty Images

    Michigan State will be hosting Florida, with a return game in Gainesville in two years.

  8. Highlights of Kansas blowing out Chile in the World University Games

    Jul 7, 2015, 11:16 AM EDT

    billself Getty Images

    The Jayhawks … err, Americans … are now 3-0 in the event.

  9. Four-star Class of 2016 point guard decommits from Oklahoma

    Jul 6, 2015, 10:47 PM EDT

    payton-pritchard-2412-xl-e1405347706789

    Four-star point guard Payton Pritchard is going to explore his options heading into the July live evaluation period.

  10. Northwestern adds four-star Class of 2016 center to recruiting class

    Jul 6, 2015, 10:25 PM EDT

    barret benson

    Northwestern continues to get good local pick-ups in the 2016 class.

  11. La Salle guard will transfer and become immediately eligible

    Jul 6, 2015, 8:30 PM EDT

    NEW YORK, NY - MARCH 12:  Khalid Lewis #23 of the La Salle Explorers looks on against the Massachusetts Minutemen during the Second Round of the Atlantic 10 Basketball Tournament at Barclays Center on March 12, 2015 in the Brooklyn borough of New York City. La Salle Explorers defeated the Massachusetts Minutemen 76-69  (Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images) Getty Images

    La Salle is losing an experienced guard to transfer.

  12. Report: Tennessee incoming freshman point guard still not enrolled

    Jul 6, 2015, 7:15 PM EDT

    lamonte turner

    One of Tennessee’s only options at point guard is enrolling closer to the school year.

  13. Four-star Class of 2016 shooting guard favors 10 schools

    Jul 6, 2015, 5:45 PM EDT

    (Nike) (Nike)

    One of the better shooting guards in the country is focused on 10 schools.

  14. Michigan basketball will change to Jordan Brand from adidas as school announces new Nike deal

    Jul 6, 2015, 4:30 PM EDT

    AP Photo AP

    Michigan is going with the Jumpman under its new apparel agreement.

  15. Syracuse, not Kentucky, leads the nation in average attendance

    Jul 6, 2015, 2:48 PM EDT

    Jim Boeheim AP

    Kentucky had led the nation in average attendance for eight straight years.

  16. Florida State lands commitment from five-star 2016 prospect

    Jul 6, 2015, 12:53 PM EDT

    Screen Shot 2015-07-06 at 12.52.11 PM

    Jonathan Isaac is loaded with potential.