New Mexico vs Wyoming: Game Preview, TV & Radio Schedule, Livestream, Odds, More
Can Lobos end its three-game losing streak with the struggling Cowboys coming to town?
WHO: New Mexico Lobos (16-8, 5-6 MW) vs. Wyoming Cowboys (6-18, 1-11 MW)
WHEN: Saturday, February 8 — 4:00 PM MT
WHERE: Dreamstyle Arena – The Pit, Albuquerque, New Mexico
SERIES RECORD: New Mexico leads 74-68
Since conference play resumed on January 1st, New Mexico (16-8, 5-6 MW) has not beat a team in the top half of the Mountain West Conference. Its three wins are against three of the four teams below them in the standings (Fresno State, Air Force and San Jose State). But there’s something else in common between the games that New Mexico won against their lower-tier Mountain West foes.
All three games were played at home.
And that’s where New Mexico has found itself on solid ground for most of the year, boasting a 13-1 record at home on the season. It’s the road that has been hard on the team, going just 3-7 in away contests.
But at least in the case against the Wyoming Cowboys (6-18, 1-11 MW), both trends (playing at home and playing against opponents ranked lower in the conference standings) hold true as the Lobos host the Cowboys inside Dreamstyle Arena – The Pit on Saturday.
While the Lobos have not been competitive lately (save for a 5 points loss at Fresno State after giving up a 17 point lead), starter JaQuan Lyle is expected to return against the Cowboys after an injury followed by a suspension for conduct detrimental to the team. Assuming Lyle has no rust to shake off after the 4 game hiatus, his impact should be felt. Even with Lyle back, the Lobos will still likely struggle to compete on the glass as they continue to try to navigate the boards without three of their best rebounders (as mentioned previously, Carlton Bragg is off of the team, JJ Caldwell is unlikely to return anytime soon, and Vance Jackson is questionable due to a lingering knee injury). But the Cowboys aren’t typically a premier rebounding team (ranking just 345th nationally), which should work in New Mexico’s favor.
To be fair, the Cowboys have been competitive in their last two outings, a 71-66 victory over San Jose State at the Event Center and a 67-62 loss at home against a Boise State team that has come on of late. New Mexico may have a victory over Boise State, but they can’t claim a road win over San Jose State.
This is likely not going to be a monumental game for Wyoming, even with a win (unless they really turn things around and win out the season including the conference tournament), but for New Mexico, every win is an opportunity to finish as high as possible in the mountain west, and avoid having to play a first-round game in the conference tournament.
A win for New Mexico gives rise to the possibility of a tie with sixth-place Utah State (if the Aggies drop a home game to UNLV on Saturday), and a loss guarantees further solidification of a seventh place finish.
With five of their last 6 games (after Wyoming) coming against top half conference teams, New Mexico would do well to put away Wyoming.
Wyoming simply needs all the confidence it can get before the season’s end in an effort to build confidence for the 2020-’21 season as one of the younger teams in college basketball.