Skip to content

Just how good is New Mexico? Is a No. 1 seed in their future? Potentially.

Feb 28, 2013, 12:59 AM EDT

Kendall Williams James Rahon Skylar Spencer

Another day, another New Mexico win.

The No. 14 Lobos had a bit of a scare in the second half, as San Diego State whittled a 15 point lead down to six, but generally speaking, the last 20 minutes of UNM’s 70-60 win over the Aztecs was played with a pretty healthy cushion.

And now, with just three games left in the regular season, the Lobos have a strangle hold on the MWC’s regular season title. They lead second-place Colorado State by two full games and don’t play another game against a team that is in the top five of the league standings.

The question now becomes just how good these Lobos truly are.

We know about their defense, which currently ranks 10th in defensive efficiency according to Kenpom. The issue is on the offensive end of the floor, but some answers are being found. Two weeks ago, the Lobos were sitting in the 120 range in offensive efficiency. Heading into Wednesday night’s game, UNM was 96th, and it’s not all Kendall Williams and his 46 points.

Alex Kirk has turned into an absolute monster the last five games. He’s averaging 15.4 points, 10.8 boards and 3.4 blocks during that stretch, capped by the 25 points, nine boards and three blocks he had on Wednesday. He’s playing at a level that we’ve never seen out of him, and it’s made a difference. A little offensive balance never hurt anyone.

But here’s where things will get interesting for Lobo fans: New Mexico’s profile is really impressive. They’re 3rd in the RPI and 4th in strength of schedule. They now have eight top 50 wins, only half of which came at home, and are 15-4 against the RPI top 100. Their worst loss? At home to South Dakota State and Nate Wolters.

Let’s compare that with, say, Florida. The Gators have five top 50 wins, but none are true road games and only one came away from home. They’re 11-5 against the top 100, with their best road win coming in early December at Florida State. Their worst loss? At Arkansas.

What’s more is that the Lobos are going to have a ton of chances to pick up impressive wins down the stretch of the season. Air Force and Wyoming are both in the RPI top 100. Then comes the MWC tournament, where the Lobos could end up playing two more top 50 teams.

Let’s toss out a hypothetical: UNM wins out, beating UNLV and Colorado State in the MWC tournament. They’ll have five top 25 wins (three away from home), 10 top 50 wins (three on the road, three on a neutral court) and 19 top 100 wins. They’ll have won the RPI’s No. 1 conference by two full games and taken home the MWC’s tournament title on a court in Vegas.

That’s a long way away, but that looks an awful lot like a No. 1 seed, doesn’t it?

You can find Rob on twitter @RobDauster.

Latest Posts
  1. Bucknell announces hiring of former assistant Nathan Davis as head coach

    Apr 19, 2015, 8:42 PM EDT

    Randolph Macon Athletics Randolph Macon Athletics

    Nathan Davis, who won 78.3 percent of his games as head coach at Randolph Macon, was an assistant at Bucknell from 2003-08.

  2. Former Wake Forest forward to finish career at Iona

    Apr 19, 2015, 7:25 PM EDT

    AP Photo AP

    Aaron Rountree III was a role player at Wake Forest, but he’s headed to a program that has been successful with transfers under Tim Cluess.

  3. 6-foot-11 Tyler JC center commits to UCLA

    Apr 19, 2015, 6:50 PM EDT

    Steve Alford Steve Alford

    With their leading rebounder off to the NBA, UCLA is hoping that this 6-foot-11 center can be of service in that area.

  4. Former Texas A&M forward to complete eligibility at UMass

    Apr 19, 2015, 6:00 PM EDT

    AP Photo AP

    With Cady Lalanne and Maxie Esho out of eligibility, this addition gives UMass some added front court experience.

  5. Former Iowa State guard finds a new home in the Missouri Valley Conference

    Apr 19, 2015, 5:25 PM EDT

    (Getty Images) Getty Images

    A former Iowa State guard will continue his career in the Valley.

  6. Former Kansas State guard transferring to Creighton

    Apr 19, 2015, 4:41 PM EDT

    AP Photo AP

    Foster struggled as a sophomore, but a change of scenery could do him some good.

  7. Kansas State lands a three-star Class of 2015 forward

    Apr 19, 2015, 4:00 PM EDT

    Bruce Weber AP

    Kansas State badly needed some bodies after an offseason filled with roster turnover. They landed a three-star forward on Sunday.

  8. Louisiana Tech lands impact guard transfer who can play immediately

    Apr 19, 2015, 3:00 PM EDT

    (Florida A&M athletics) (Florida A&M athletics)

    Louisiana Tech might have found its new starting point guard for next season.

  9. Highly-recruited Class of 2015 point guard lists eight schools

    Apr 19, 2015, 2:00 PM EDT

    (Nike) (Nike)

    One of the best players left in the 2015 class is down to eight schools.

  10. E.C. Matthews will return to Rhode Island

    Apr 19, 2015, 1:00 PM EDT

    E.C. Matthews AP

    Rhode Island is getting E.C. Matthews back for his junior season.

  11. Former Vanderbilt guard finds a new home in the ACC

    Apr 19, 2015, 11:45 AM EDT

    AP Photo AP

    A former top-100 player found a new home in the ACC.

  12. Former Alabama guard transfers to Georgia State

    Apr 19, 2015, 10:45 AM EDT

    (AP) AP

    A former top-150 prospect is heading from the SEC to Georgia State.

  13. Mixtape of No. 1 prospect in the Class of 2017, DeAndre Ayton (VIDEO)

    Apr 19, 2015, 9:30 AM EDT

    ayton

    DeAndre Ayton is one of the best prospects in high school basketball.

  14. UNLV awaiting two important personnel decisions in its front court

    Apr 18, 2015, 10:27 PM EDT

    AP Photo AP

    Wood returning would ensure that this young but talented front line wouldn’t lack for experience.

  15. Missouri receives commitments from two John A. Logan College players

    Apr 18, 2015, 8:56 PM EDT

    AP Photo AP

    Missouri is hopeful that these two junior college products can help them rebound from a tough 2014-15.

  16. Vermont signee injured in car crash speaks first words in more than ten weeks

    Apr 18, 2015, 7:44 PM EDT

    Vermont Athletics Vermont Athletics

    Josh Speidel hadn’t spoken since the crash February 1. His first word: “Mom.”

  17. Three-star forward Rapolas Ivanauskas becomes Northwestern’s first 2016 commitment

    Apr 18, 2015, 6:15 PM EDT

    AP Photo AP

    Chris Collins and his staff have done a good job of recruiting local talent, and they reeled in another player Saturday.

  18. 2016 New Mexico commit Mitch Lightfoot decides to reopen recruitment

    Apr 18, 2015, 5:25 PM EDT

    Craig Neal Craig Neal

    Lightfoot was on the receiving end of offers from Arizona State and Utah before committing to UNM, and the new staff at ASU has already reached out to him.

  19. Former Cornell forward Shonn Miller headed to UConn for final season of eligibility

    Apr 18, 2015, 4:39 PM EDT

    cd0ymzcznguwzdbhnduynddiytjhm2yyzthlmtjjotqwyyznpte4mwi1zmrlntq4ndc4yjfiywyzztq3zgnhzgfhmgu0 AP

    Miller averaged 16.8 points and 8.5 rebounds per game last season, and he’s an important addition for the UConn front court.

  20. Five members of Iowa State’s 2014-15 team have been arrested after two more arrests this week

    Apr 18, 2015, 4:15 PM EDT

    Dustin Hogue AP

    More arrests at Iowa State as two more members of the 2014-15 roster were charged within the last week.