Air Force vs. New Mexico : Game Preview, TV, Radio Schedule, Livestream, Odds, More
Both teams come into the game having lost nine of eleven.
Two struggling teams meet at Clune Arena.
WHO: Air Force Falcons (10-18, 4-12 MW) vs. New Mexico Lobos (17-12, 6-10 MW)
WHEN: Wednesday, February 26 — 7:00 PM MT
WHERE: Clune Arena – Colorado Springs, CO (5,858)
STREAM: ESPN3 (WatchESPN.com)
SERIES RECORD: New Mexico leads, 61-23
ODDS: Air Force -1.5
The Air Force Falcons (10-18, 4-12 MW) host the New Mexico Lobos (17-12, 6-10 MW) at Clune Arena in Colorado Springs, CO on Wednesday.
The Falcons are led by senior forward Lavelle Scottie (15.6 points, 5.6 rebounds, 2.0 assists per game) and for New Mexico, it has been JaQuan Lyle (15.2 points, 4.2 rebounds, 4.5 assists 1.4 steals per game).
The two teams have met once previously on the season, an 84-78 result in favor of New Mexico. And they are two teams that started the season with expectations.
Since that game, each team has won just two games apiece with three out of four wins coming against either Wyoming (once) or San Jose State (twice), the two teams at the very bottom of the conference standings. The only other win was a surprise 72-47 blow out win for Air Force over current second place team Utah State.
The combined losing streak of 4-18 and current standing of is a far cry from New Mexico’s preseason projected finish of third place and Air Force’s promising 2020 season spearheaded by a senior-laden roster which includes players like Scottie and Ryan Swan.
Air Force head coach Dave Pilipovich commented on the expectations of his team during an interview on Monday.
“I think and with this group – and not speaking for them – they appreciated that [expectation] at the beginning, but I think it maybe hurt them as well, you know? Because of expectations and now I got to live up to it. And you want to be at a point where you have expectations because what you finished last year. But now you’ve got to walk the walk.”
New Mexico’s Paul Weir has shared similar sentiments in the past. Before his Lobos (which have not finished in the top half of the conference standings by year’s end) were selected in the preseason conference polls to finish third (in both 2018-19 and 2019-20), his 2017-2018 team was selected to finish ninth.
That team finished third.
And so, each team will try to recoup as much as possible with two games remaining before the conference tournament, hoping to build as much momentum as possible behind what has been a solid offensive showing for the season.
Ranking 68th and 88th respectively based on KenPom.com’s analytics, Air Force and New Mexico both generally see the shots fall. It has been the defensive end for both teams that has needed work, with each team on what seems to be free fall through the defensive analytics rankings.
Expect to see a shootout between the two programs, which have struggled to find a defensive identity all season long. It’s a game in which the team that is hotter simply wins – unless someone brings the defense.