New Mexico vs. Colorado: Preview, TV Schedule, Live Stream, Radio, Odds
New Mexico takes on a Pac-12 opponent at home in just the third away game for Colorado
Can the Lobos muster up some defense?
WEEK 10: New Mexico Lobos (4-3, 2-1 home) vs. Colorado Buffaloes (7-1, 1-1 away)
WHEN: Tuesday, December 11 — 7:00 PM MT/6:00 PM PT
WHERE: Dreamstyle Arena – The Pit; Albuquerque, New Mexico (15,411)
SERIES RECORD: Tied at 7-7
ODDS: Colorado -5
After losing its last two games (on the road) by a combined 60 points, New Mexico (4-3) will return to Dreamstyle Arena – The Pit to try to get back on track against Colorado (7-1) on ESPN2.
In the last two outings for the Lobos, there weren’t many positives to take away, but when taking into consideration the players who are out of the lineup and where the team was a year ago in December (3-8 at one point), there may be hope yet, says Paul Weir.
“If you told me at the beginning of the year you’d be 4-3 after this time without some of the guys that we haven’t had – I don’t know if I would have loved it, but I think I would have taken it. I wouldn’t have taken the margins of the last two games. . . but I’d say that wouldn’t be too bad if you didn’t have player A and player B.”
One of those players, Carlton Bragg, still won’t be available on the floor Tuesday night against the Buffaloes, but Paul Weir says Bragg has shown leadership from the bench thus far.
“Whether it’s been the frustration of not playing, the frustration of the losing or the excitement of being able to play (on Dec. 16) or all those things jumbled into one – if we have a person that’s leading us right now it’s him. If we have a person that’s calling out teammates, it’s him. If we have a person saying, ‘touch that line,’ it’s him. That’s been really encouraging.”
The other player, Jaquan Lyle, will be out for the season, which many believe has amplified defensive issues at the guard position for New Mexico.
Once again, the Lobos will be facing a solid offensive squad (71 in adjusted offensive efficiency per KenPom) in Colorado which is led by McKinley Wright IV, a 6-0 scoring point guard who assists his teammates 6.3 times per game. At 85.1 points per game, the Buffaloes are averaging only one point per game less than the average points allowed by the Lobos, who are now 349 (nearly last in college basketball) in scoring defense.
And while the elevation, level of conditioning and distribution of minutes usually adds to the home factor for New Mexico, they play a Boulder team that practices at the same elevation and has no player averaging over 30 minutes per game.
It will be another tough test for New Mexico but it’s a game they can win. That said, a few things will need to happen to improve to 5-3. Here are three keys to success for the home team:
- Move the ball. I mentioned ball movement as a key to the New Mexico’s game against Saint Mary’s. When the ball is stagnant on the Lobos offense, it’s not pretty. This team is averaging 7.5 assists in the last two games and it doesn’t help that the other team has shut down Anthony Mathis in part because of the lack of ball movement.
- Keep the ball out of McKinley Wright IV’s hands. As the primary scorer and distributor for a young Colorado team, it would be in the Lobos’ best interest to make some of the other young players win the game.
- Make some shots inside the paint. If the Lobos can establish their presence inside early, they can accomplish a couple of things. Firstly, they’ll (potentially) have some points on the board early and secondly, they can open up the perimeter (especially Mathis) by forcing the defense to collapse.