New Mexico vs. North Texas: Preview, TV Schedule, Live Stream, Radio, Odds, Prediction
North Texas returns to Albuquerque, tries its luck in basketball
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The Lobos face a 10-1 North Texas team
WEEK 10: New Mexico Lobos (5-4, 3-2 home) vs. North Texas Mean Green (10-1, 2-1 away)
WHEN: Tuesday, December 18 — 7:00 PM MT/6:00 PM PT
WHERE: Dreamstyle Arena – The Pit; Albuquerque, NM (15,411)
RADIO: New Mexico | North Texas
SERIES RECORD: New Mexico leads 2-0
WEBSITES: GoLobos.com, the official New Mexico athletics website | MeanGreenSports.com, the official North Texas athletics website
ODDS: New Mexico -2.5
While the hospitality is usually fantastic for teams participating in the New Mexico Bowl, Albuquerque wasn’t kind to the North Texas football team, in the sense that they recently suffered a barrage of injuries (including a first quarter hamstring injury to quarterback Mason Fine) and a 52-13 loss to Utah State in the 2018 New Mexico Bowl.
This time, though, it’s the North Texas (10-1) basketball team that is in Albuquerque, hoping to find success against a different Mountain West foe in New Mexico (5-4).
Sitting at 10-1, North Texas has played a strength of schedule ranked 341 of 353 Division I basketball teams according to Kenpom.com, with their toughest tests so far coming from a win over Indiana State of the Missouri Valley Conference and a loss to 9-1 Oklahoma.
Still, 10-1 is 10-1, and the Mean Green will bring plenty of mean to the Pit. In fact, they’ll have to in order to compete with a team that is, on average, much taller. The eight players averaging the majority of the minutes for the Mean Green average just 6-3 in stature, and they face a Lobo team with its top eight players (in minutes) averaging 6-7 in height (the shortest among the Lobos used in the calculation were Anthony Mathis and Keith McGee who are both 6-3).
New Mexico struggled to grab boards through their first eight games, but they showed that their height can be valuable in their last outing against Central Arkansas, out-rebounding the Bears 49-38. Increased aggression on the glass and the addition of Carlton Bragg seemed to go a long way in securing the ball. If they can repeat the success they had in rebounding the ball, they can greatly increase their chances of grabbing a second consecutive home win.
But while the Lobos have the height advantage, this is a team that continues to struggle guarding ball handlers in a one-on-one scenario, especially when facing guards who are quick to move laterally. It’s likely that they’ll come across enough of these guards in the Mean Green that if they aren’t focused on defensive assignments, it could give headaches to the Lobo bigs, forcing the Lobos to play a smaller lineup, especially if the threes are falling for the opposition.
Prediction: Expect New Mexico to look to get their developing inside-out game going, drawing the defense in to collapse on Carlton Bragg and Corey Manigault, while getting kicks out to the plethora of shooters waiting to score three including Makuach Maluach, who led the Lobos with 22 points on 4-6 three point shooting against Central Arkansas. While North Texas has some sharpshooters of their own (Umoja Gibson/44.0% three-point percentage, DJ Draper/54.8%), a renewed sense of urgency from the Lobo defense (especially rebounding) alongside a more focused inside-out game will be enough for New Mexico to come out with a win in The Pit.
New Mexico 79, North Texas 70