New Mexico vs. Fresno State: Game Preview, TV, Radio Schedule, Livestream, Odds, More
Both teams played San Jose State in their last outing with very different results
Fresno State is trying to build on its win over San Jose State, while New Mexico is trying to get over a last second loss against the Spartans.
WHO: New Mexico Lobos (13-3) vs. Fresno State Bulldogs (5-10)
WHEN: Tuesday, January 7 — 8:00 PM PT/9:00 PM MT
WHERE: Dreamstyle Arena – The Pit, Albuquerque, NM (15,411)
STREAM: Sling TV (requires Sling’s “Orange Sports Extra” subscription)
SERIES RECORD: New Mexico leads, 16-12
ODDS: New Mexico -6
After the suspension of (who is set to suit up once more for the Lobos on Tuesday) and JJ Caldwell (5.8 points, 3.9 rebounds, 5.7 assists, 2.2 steals per game) due to separate incidents as reported in the Albuquerque Journal, New Mexico (13-3, 2-1 MW) looked like they might be okay. Corey Manigault (11.1 points, 4.6 rebounds, 1.0 steals per game), Makuach Maluach (9.9 points, 3.2 rebounds per game)and Vance Jackson (8.6 points, 4.6 rebounds per game) successfully took on bigger roles, and the team seemed to be alright despite losing two of their best players.
With exception to the game against UC Davis, JaQuan Lyle (17.4 points, 4.3 rebounds, 4.8 assists, 1.3 steals per game) continued to put up impressive numbers.
But then, for the second straight year, San Jose State happened.
Down by as many as 18 in the second half, New Mexico rallied to take the lead with just 15 seconds left in their match-up with the Spartans, finally giving up a three-pointer to an on-fire Richard Washington before turning the ball over to effectively seal the game for the Spartans in the Provident Credit Union Event Center in San Jose, CA by a score of 88-85.
Coincidentally, Fresno State (5-10, 1-3 MW) shared the same last opponent with New Mexico except the game was in Fresno, CA. The Bulldogs were also two starters short. The result?
A 79-64 victory for the then 4-10 Bulldogs. New Williams (12.2 points, 3.8 rebounds, 1.5 assists per game) tallied 32 points in the win.
But now Carlton Bragg (13.5 points, 10.8 rebounds, 1.2 steals, 1.4 blocks per game) is back for the Lobos, who sorely missed the athletic forward’s 6-10 frame and ability to protect the rim defensively. Bragg will have to play big too if New Mexico is to protect its undefeated home record. With an opportunity to take advantage of the missing presence of Nate Grimes (12.8 points, 9.6 rebounds, 2.0 blocks per game) in the post, Bragg could be poised to get right back to business with big numbers, but a challenge remains against Orlando Robinson (12.7 points, 7 rebounds, 1.4 assists per game) and a sneaky good Fresno State team.
While a 5-10 record is nothing to boast about, Fresno State might be the best team with the worst record in the conference. 15 games in, 8 of the Bulldogs’ 10 losses have come by single digits. Even with the poor win/loss ratio, the metrics have been relatively kind to Fresno State, which is sitting at 125 in KenPom.com’s rankings and 173 in the most recent NET rankings, which isn’t too bad for a 33.3% win percentage against KenPom’s 177th ranked non-conference strength of schedule.
For Fresno State to come out 2-3 in conference and to be competitive within the middle ranks of the league, they’ll have to get production similar to what Williams and Robinson provided against San Jose State.
For New Mexico to show that they still belong in the conference title race discussion, they’ll need to find a way to avoid turning the ball over, and to get on the glass consistently while perpetuating what has been a highly effective get-to-the-line strategy. Otherwise, Fresno State is another team, like San Jose State that can put New Mexico on the ropes.
Expect a close, single-digit game between the Bulldogs and the Lobos.