Fresno State vs. New Mexico: Preview, TV schedule, live stream, radio, odds
Fresno looks to maintain second place in the Mountain West while New Mexico hopes it can move out of eighth place
The Lobos have had (some) success against the conference’s best
WHO: Fresno State Bulldogs (15-5, 6-2 MW) vs. New Mexico Lobos (9-11, 3-5 MW)
WHEN: Saturday, Feb. 2 — 8:00 PM MT/7:00 PM PT
WHERE: Save Mart Center; Fresno, California (16,182)
ODDS: Fresno State -11.5
In a contest between one of the conference’s best and a conference team that hasn’t seen as much success as expected, Fresno State (6-2 MW) will host New Mexico (3-5 MW) Saturday night on ESPNU.
While it probably isn’t the match-up that was expected when TV contracts were finalized, this might still be a better game than expected despite the Lobos’ dismal conference run thus far.
That’s because, while having lost to the likes of (an improving) UNLV, Colorado State, and San Diego State, which have all had struggles of their own this season, they have competed surprisingly well against the top of the league (with exception to an away loss at UNLV) with a win over Nevada and a controversial two-point loss to Utah State.
But, of course, that success doesn’t automatically translate to a competitive game.
New Mexico head coach Paul Weir commented on the strengths of Fresno State that has, again and again, plagued the Lobos’ defense.
“They’re small, they shoot a ton of threes, they play fast, and they can beat you – they’re very balanced around the perimeter. . . They’ve got these 6-4 and below guys all around the perimeter that can all shoot. They’re all fast, they can all handle the ball, they can all score, they can do all that. And Braxton [Huggins] is just a perfect player within that. . .”
It’s no secret that this is exactly the type of team that tends to give New Mexico fits. It’s a model which was relatively similar to the Lobos just one year ago.
Paul Weir recalled that “Justin [Hutson] came up to me . . . and said ‘if I ever get to be a head coach I’m going to play exactly like you do’ and they’re playing exactly like we did [last year]”.
In the league of blowouts, Fresno State has also largely avoided blowout games, win or loss, with their largest margin of victory (save for a 20 point win over San Jose State) being a 13 point win over Wyoming and their widest margin of defeat being a 10 point loss to then No.10 Nevada.
However, this might be their best chance yet to earn a second margin of victory of 15+ points against a team that has such a difficult time staying in front of smaller defenders. That is, if New Mexico is not able to exploit the size differential to its advantage.