2022 Mountain West Tournament: Nevada vs New Mexico, Preview, Livestream, More
Wolf Pack take on the Lobos
Opening round of the Mountain West tournament
WHO: Nevada Wolf Pack (12-17, 6-12 in the MW) vs. New Mexico Lobos (13-18, 5-12 in the MW)
WHEN: Wednesday, March 8, 11:00 AM PST
WHERE: Thomas & Mack Center: Las Vegas, NV
Line: KenPom, Wolf Pack 2-point favorites
Number eight-seeded Nevada and number-nine seeded New Mexico battle in the first round of the conference tournament Wednesday in Las Vegas, Nevada. New Mexico comes into the first round winning two out of their last three games, including an impressive win against a hot UNLV team. Nevada comes into the conference tournament on a horrible four-game losing streak, which includes a loss to that same UNLV team.
Nevada ranks in the middle of the conference in scoring, averaging 72 points per game. New Mexico ranks second in the Mountain West in scoring with nearly 75 points per game but struggles defensively. This battle Wednesday should be a high-scoring one, with Nevada ranking 10th and New Mexico ranking 11th in the conference in points allowed per game. One advantage the Lobos hold is being able to take care of the ball at a high percentage. New Mexico ranks third in the Mountain West in turnover margin with a positive 1.45. Nevada on the other hand, ranks ninth in the conference with -.34, on average turning the ball over more than their opponents.
New Mexico is led by the guard duo of Jamal Mashburn Jr. and Jaelen House who average 18 points and 17 points respectively. The high-scoring duo has the potential to explode offensively every time they touch the court, making opponents’ lives hell on defense. In New Mexico’s last contest, Mashburn Jr. and House scored 48 of the Lobos’ 76 points against UNLV, showing the potential of what the duo can do on offense. Other players to watch for are KJ Jenkins, who averages almost 10 points per game, and Jay Allen-Tovar who leads the team rebounding, averaging just over five boards per game.
Nevada is led by a guard duo of their own. Grant Sherfield and Desmond Cambridge Jr. lead the Wolf Pack in scoring, averaging 18 points and 16 points per game respectively. Sherfield is coming off a monster 30-point outing against San Diego State where the Wolf Pack fell short on a last-second shot attempt. The Lobos also have to keep an eye on Nevada’s big men. Warren Washington and Will Baker are two Wolf Pack players who can lead the way down low and give Nevada a much-needed scoring boost down low. Both big men average slightly above 10 points per game.
Keys for New Mexico
The Lobos have to lock up Grant Sherfield. Outside of Sherfield, Nevada has been struggling to find any sort of offensive productivity. New Mexico also needs to limit the impact Nevada’s big men have down low. Nevada’s bigs are hit and miss on the nights they explode, the Lobos need to ferociously hit the glass and not let Washington or Baker get in rhythm down low.
Keys for Nevada
The Wolf Pack needs to tighten up defensively and limit what New Mexico’s guards can do on offense. As they have shown in the past, Mashburn Jr. and House can score the ball at an impressive rate. Nevada needs to limit what they can do scoring the basketball. While this has been a key to winning in almost every contest this year, Nevada needs desperate help scoring the ball. While it is great Grant Sherfield can score 30+ and shoulder the load every night, the Wolf Pack needs someone else to step up.
Nevada will start slow but will find things offensively, pulling away late in this contest against New Mexico State. The Wolf Pack take down the Lobos, 79-71.