Category:NCAAB
Posted on: February 18, 2012 11:43 am
 

Here at pit

Okay lobos Showtime
Posted on: February 9, 2012 9:42 pm
 

Mid-conference report card on UNM players

I'm a hopeless romantic when it comes to Lobo ball.  I'm even going to go to the UNLV game.  I live 2,000 miles from the Pit, but I just gotta get to the stadium and see if that alarm goes off.  I always look forward to seeing those hideous sequence cheerleader uniforms that make the chicano girls look like small red tarpon.  I know what New Mexico has.  It's a motley crew.  No 5-star players.  Maybe two or three 4-stars, but a different kind of team.  No big men inside- (with Alex Kirk out), but plenty of ability.  I want to see them take it to the Runnin' Rebels.  You never know...this could be the year.  GO LOBOS!!!    

Drew Gordon is probably the team's most important player because of his rebounding ability and his defensive presence.  UCLA didn't want him anymore- but he's doing quite well at UNM.  At L.A. he was most famous for a terrible open floor miss on a dunk.  It was a You Tube sensation.  As  Lobo, luckily he doesn't miss many dunks.  It's so nice to see a rebounder who grabs the ball with both hands and holds on to it.  I wonder why he doesn't use his athleticism on the offensive end more.  He's got tremendous hops but stays flatfooted on offense-I think he confuses offense and defense.

Kendall Williams is the most talented Lobo.  Although he tends to turn the ball over almost as much as Gordon, he can drive, pass, and shoot with the best of them.  He's got a thousand circus shots in his bag of tricks.  Somehow the other players actually listen to him.

Hugh Greenwood is probably the best new talent in several years- a kid from Down Under who played on their junior national team and is showing he has a knack for getting the ball where it needs to go.  Still recovering from an ankle injury, he's still favoring that leg.  He is the player with the most potential.  If he can coninue to deliver the ball on time on the mark and hit open shots, this team could win in March.

Tony Snell may be my favorite player.  He is selfless, and is the best shooter.  He can dribble and for some reason in the last game against Boise State, he all of a sudden started taking the ball to the hole when they came out on him.  It was shocking.  I've waited for that moment, and he was doing it- and nobody could stop him because he's long, quick, and moves well with the ball.  Duh.

Phillip McDonald seems to be finally coming back around.  I know he was hurt, but he was also a streaky performer who tended to want to drive the ball and shoot off-balanced shots instead of working for an open look from the outside- which he has been doing for the last couple of weeks.  Welcome back Phillip.  It's about darned time.

A.J. Hardeman looks like a ball player.  He's tall, all muscle, long wingspan, who can jump and nearly every game has a great dunk.  He's a strong defender only in the sense that his flailing tends to change his opponents' shots.  He shoots great shots and hits them, but doesn't take enough.

Jamal Fenton has really been coming along.  He's very quick and can drive or shoot from the outside.  He's got good hands and isn't afraid of big men.    He is also showing great patience for a sophomore.  He's tough to guard because he's so low to the ground.

Cameron Bairstow could be a difference maker in that he always seems to have a hand on a loose ball and seems to figure out where he needs to be.  Another Aussie, his size is really needed if they are to compete with big teams.  He also could be the best shooter on the team from 15 feet.  

Demetrius Walker wasn't playing enough at Arizona St for his liking and wanted to move to a team that had a better chance at winning.  He's got a strange looking shot, but he is fearless.

Dunning- Not sure I see any significant talents given the hype quite yet.  He's got a good natural feel for the game, but no intensity.
Category: NCAAB
Posted on: January 1, 2012 3:30 pm
 

New Year's resolution. Produce Alford!

 It costs New Mexico nearly 2 million dollars to pay the coaching staff.  They just completed a facelift of the Pit.  Let's go Lobos!   Let's have a team who can get to the Sweet 16.  Just once.  Too much to ask?  I don't think so.  

Alford has been the best in Albuquerque in a generation- he's winning games, but understand that historically, New Mexico basketball simply hasn't produced in relation to its fanbase, and perhaps its own reputation, when it counts- in the tourneys.  For over 40 years, New Mexico has been one of the leading home crowds in the nation.  This, through years and almost decades of mediocre production.  New Mexico's support has rivalled the top programs in the country.  We're talking about on par with Duke, UNC, Kansas, Syracuse.  You know the names.  Look at the difference in national production.  

Back in the 60's and 70's the team was of the nation's best yet has still failed to produce a serious national threat.  Even during years where the Lobos have had great seasons, they simply couldn't win tournament games.  I've seen Lobo teams with guys like Laker great Michael Cooper, or Danny Granger- and these guys weren't the only ones to come through- in some cases, the guys that went on to play in the NBA weren't the best guys on the team.  NCAA tournament wins?  National Championships?  Sweet 16's?  Two wins in the NCAA tourney is the limit to this team.  Period.  Even when ranked #3 in the country, they lost in the first round to a nobody team.  
Cal State Fullerton!  I remember like yesterday listening to the game on the radio.  It was sickening.  That's Lobo basketball.  We watched UNLV and Utah produce.  Even BYU did pretty well.  The Lobos.  Never.  Ever.  Not ever even that close!  An entire part of the state focused on only one sport-  Outside the confines of this dedicated bunch of chile eaters, nobody respects Lobo basketball for good reason.  The only thing outsiders know is a vague sense that they should avoid scheduling games in the Pit.  No real accomplishments for this team.  There's no excuse for such pathetic production.     

I have seen some absolutely terrible coaches trip through the program- the vast majority lacking any bit of any real quality.  I note that Alford is different.  He was a great collegiate player- one of the best shooters of all time and leader of one of the only unbeaten teams in history.  The fact remains, however, that his schemes, substitutions, attitude, personality, and recruiting have yet to really impress me.  I would love, more than you could imagine, for Steve Alford to prove me wrong, but I see him on the bench and don't think he's much of a motivator.  I watch him struggle with "problem children" each season, and wonder if he knows what to do with them.  Phillip McDonald, Kendall Williams, and Drew Gordon are very talented ball players, but they are "problem children."  They can produce under the right tutelage.  We're all waiting coach... watching...

I appreciate Alford's emphasis on defense.  When it works, it's a beautiful thing.  He's a bit out of his element coaching anything other than 3-pt shooters, though.  Without his coaching staff, I don't think he knows what offensive plays to run.  At least he seems to show tape to his young players.  

I'm way past ready for New Mexico to win big games.  I'm way past annoyed to see them win 2 games in the NCAA tourney.  First, they need to be invited though!  I've been at this for awhile, and it's annoying to continue rooting on a team that doesn't produce when it counts.

All that said, I remain a devout Lobo fan.  I'm wearing a New Mexico Lobos shirt as I write this, in fact.  I love Lobo basketball.  I have known the stats of each Lobo player since the early 70's.  It's pathetic really.  I'm ready for Steve Alford to produce.  We're paying him big money in a terrible economy.  Let's see the wins.  Make it happen Steve!  Go Lobos!
Category: NCAAB
Posted on: December 20, 2011 11:21 pm
 

Gotta beat St. Louis

The New Mexico Lobos are in an interesting position being 9-2.  While one might think that's worth bragging about, the Lobos are in dire straights.  While I know the dangers of looking too far ahead, I'm saying right now that the Billikens visiting the Pit is a MUST WIN game for New Mexico.  Since the Lobos messed around and lost their first game at the 76 Classic in Annaheim to Santa Clara, they have put themselves in a position to not get any respect for their out of conference play.  This is frustrating since the Lobos have beaten 3 PAC12 teams, 1 Big12 team, and 1 ACC team.  You'd think that would be enough, but unfortunately, it isn't.  Each of those big conference opponents have been struggling mightily, so instead of gaining points, it will be a wash.  The only OOC team the Lobos have met who will play in the NCAA tourney is probably St. Louis.  Perhaps New Mexico State and Santa Clara have a chance, but it's not likely.  St. Louis is a must win game.  This assumes that the Lobos will do well in the conference.  (At least 9-5, but 10-4 is much better)

 
Posted on: March 22, 2011 1:19 am
 

Manana (un-CBS'd)

The season that could have been... 
Since the 60's I've followed my  beloved Lobos.  It was 1964 and in Bob King's 2nd season, they won the WAC championship.  Prior to that, New Mexico basketball was a real joke- one of the worst programs in the country.  They made Army basketball look strong.  It was during that time that Lou Henson stumbled into Las Cruces and the New Mexico St. Aggies and did the same thing to that program.   Those were good times with guys like Mel Daniels and Ira Harge.  They could flat out play ball.  I've been there during the Ellenberger years and remember a young Marvin Johnson and Michael Cooper as they took the Lobos to a #3 ranking nationally and came into the NCAA tournament with the hopes of winning New Mexico's first National Championship.  That  year, the Lobos were finally better than the "Shark's" Runnin' Rebels.   They did travel to play Cal State Fullerton...and lost.  Unbelievable.  Impossible.  We had just built a new stadium.  What the?   Then frickin' Lobogate put a stop to the momentum.   57 NCAA violations later, Stormin' Norman Ellenberger walked off and the Lobo basketball program went with him out into the desert down Route 66 and never really came back.  Some decent and mostly disappointing coaches wandered through the Duke city- only Dave Bliss did much, but was not a real winner, he was a place holder for...well, we're not exactly sure.  It certainly wasn't Fran Fraschilla.  Anybody with a name like that couldn't do much, and he didn't disappoint.   Ritchie McKay was terrible.  That he was paid to coach was just incredible.   Super talents like Danny Granger walked through the door and the Lobos had some fine season but lost in the Big Dance in the first two rounds.  Granger, of course, was picked as by the Pacers and is now a viable All-Star.  I wasn't the only rabid Lobo fan listening to 77 KOB waiting for Mike Roberts to give the play by play.  Those were good times.  Mostly.     
Now the Lobos have Steve Alford.  At least he was a coach everybody had heard of.  We knew him as a great shooter from Indiana who led the Hoosiers to an undefeated season with Bobby Knight.  Who could forget?  Nobody was exactly sure how New Mexico landed him, or why Iowa didn't really want him anymore.  Perhaps it was the million-dollar salary and promises to hire his coaching staff and to bring his own scholarship players.  In his first year, he made believers out of everyone except those back in Iowa, who either hated him because of inability to do much with the Hawkeyes or because he was always seeming to try to go somewhere else.  In his first year he took the Lobos to a 24-9 record.    Then last year, an unlikely JC bobble headed transfer by the name of Darrington Hobson leaped in and joined Dairese Gary and Roman Martinez and put together the best team (statistically) in Lobo history.  28-3 record.  They ended the season ranked #8 in the country.  They won the MWC regular season but couldn't win the MWC tourney.  They went to the NCAA tourney with a #3 seed and still couldn't get the monkey off their backs in terms of winning two games in a tournament.  ANY TOURNAMENT.  One thing I have to admit.  Alford is the best coach New Mexico has had in 30 years.  Although his win percentage is better than Ellenberger, Norm had more style and personality and I miss that.  Dave Bliss was nearly as good as Alford, but was milk toast and his teams played like it.  I am reminded of Bliss when I see Alford.  I hope that's not a bad thing...


 Then 2010-11 rolls around and here we are.  All of us, hoping for a great season, then we learn that Darrington Hobson elects to enter the draft and is picked by the Milwaukee Bucks- undergoes hip surgery and is let go from the team.  Without the team's spiritual leader, Roman Martinez, (a guy who was still on all the marketing for the Lobos throughout the entire season) diehard fans were worried for good reason.  Although there was a good recruiting class of youngsters including one of the biggest catches in New Mexico, big red headed Alex Kirk from Los Alamos, there wasn't much experience.  Once everyone got to see the Lobos in their exhibition games, all looked well.  There was a little kid by the name of Jamal Fenton who was quick as lighting and another freshman, Kendall Williams, who could shoot the lights out.  If Phillip McDonald had worked during the off season and A.J. Hardeman realized that he was bigger and more skilled than most big men, this was going to be a good year.  Perhaps Dairese Gary would stop being so shy and take hold of these young Lobos and lead them on to greatness.  Always hopeful.  
 Well, it really did look o.k.   A 4-0 start out of the gates, including beating PAC-10 member Arizona St in the newly screwed up Pit.  Well, maybe I'm too harsh, but once a half the fire alarm would go off and two times the Pit was vacated during a game.  Also, the clock didn't work right for the first 6 home games.  Actually it still doesn't work right.  Everything did look good until the Lobos visited Cal- a team that gave the Lobos fits in the Pit last year until the wolves pulled away at the end.  We stuck with a decent Cal team at Berkeley through the 1st half and then something snapped.  It sounded like an ACL of the team's knee.  It was the Lobos' will to play that broke.  All of us had heard that sound before, and it wasn't good.  It was something between giving up and not having the skills to compete.  None of us wanted to believe that we were watching the Lobos of the 80s and 90s, but there it was in mute testimony.  The same team who lost to Cal State Fullerton was back on the court.  Losing.  Badly.  A 25-point beating.  Oh no. 
 Then, just when the old guard gave up on the young team, what do you know?...8 wins in a row!  That's what I'm talkin' about.  Even though nobody had ever heard of colleges named this wood or that wood, and many thought the Citadel was a high school near Socorro, they were wins and the Lobos were cracking the top 25.  Bloggers were claiming that New Mexico could be a #1 seed.  New Mexico beat Big 12 Colorado in Las Vegas and then on to the championship game against Northern Iowa, who had surprised many the year before.  New Mexico played a decent game and lost by only 4 points.  Not bad.  Then on to Texas Tech and another Big 12 win.  One more tough one against Dayton, the previous years' NIT champs and a tough loss in double OT.  The Lobos could hold up, especially after coming back to ABQ and beating the tar out of Cal St Bakersfield and seeing Alex Kirk score 31 points in 20 minutes!  Then...disaster.  A last second shot at Wyoming gives the Lobos a bottom 200RPI loss.  The problem was that Wyoming actually looked like a better team- they certainly wanted to win the game more.  These were the drinking days for Lobo fans, where watching the coaching staffs' substitutions became indiscernible and downright random.  Through the next 8 games the Lobos' leader, Dairese Gary would have more turnovers than assists.  Phillip McDonald couldn't hit the wide side of a barn and kept shooting...and wouldn't stop.  A.J. Hardeman would shoot over 60% from the field and wouldn't put up more than 5 shots in a game.  Unbeaten San Diego State came to the Pit and destroyed New Mexico, then a mediocre Utah team did the same thing- only worse, or better...depending on one's perspective.  Remember, the Pit...where the Lobos aren't supposed to lose?  Well, they weren't only losing, they were getting slaughtered and nobody seemed to be able to stop the bleeding.  Even Christmas present Drew Gordon, UCLA transfer, couldn't do much except to look like he was the only Lobo who had played basketball prior to this season.  The team began to look like they were defeated well into the 2nd half whether they were winning or not.  They would focus for the last 5 minutes of the game.  It went on until they Lobos lost as many as they won after their 12-1 start.  In the middle of the pathetic conference schedule, they figured out how to beat BYU- including smashing them at Provo- which, up to last season hadn't happened in a decade.   Tony Snell, who couldn't shoot, did shoot at Provo and never again...What the heck was going on?  Who knows, but it wasn't good enough to garner and invite to the Big Dance.  They heard the familiar NIT "invite" (hey the NIT knows they will sell ten thousand more tickets than anybody else in the country...they ain't stupid!) and won their first game against their old nemesis UTEP, who couldn't put it together either this season.   Then they lose tonight to a vaunted university who is good at...football.  Many may say that they were outplayed, but they weren't.  They were out-hustled by a team that wanted to win.  A team without heart and without leadership went down to the opposite.   
 This was a year of rebuilding and it ended worse than it began.  I truly wish it weren't just like it always has been.  A fan base that rivals that of Syracuse, North Carolina, Duke, Michigan State, Kentucky roots for a team that can NEVER PUT IT TOGETHER.  IN 50 YEARS!  ARE YOU KIDDING ME?  
O.k.  I'm better now.  I still have my season tickets and and still wearing my Lobo sweatshirt.  I'll be there at the Lobo howl and I'll report on their recruiting saga.  Maybe they'll land a 4 or 5 star recruit!   

 Next year.  We'll be better next year.  We're going to be a top 20 team for sure.  Didn't you hear the commentators?  With the returning young talent New Mexico has, along with the absence of the two Utah teams, New Mexico will run away with the MWC championship.  We'll have 3 legit big men with experience and if we pick up a great point guard, we'll be awesome.  Nobody will keep up with the athletes of New Mexico.  Neal won't take one of those big coaching jobs and everybody will be back. 
  
Manana.  Tomorrow.  We'll be good then.  Like the Cat Stevens' song:  "We're going to have a good time then."  or always positive Steinbeck, "and we'll live off the fat o the lan'...won't we George?" 
Anyone want to buy 2 courtside tickets to the NIT semi-finals and finals in Madison Square Garden?  I'll sell cheap.
Posted on: March 22, 2011 1:16 am
 

Manana

The season that could have been... <hr style="margin-top: 10px; margin-right: 0px; margin-bottom: 10px; margin-left: 0px; color: #ffffff; background-color: #ffffff; border-top-style: none; border-right-style: none; border-bottom-style: dotted; border-left-style: none; border-width: 1px; border-color: #d9d8d8;" /> Since the 60's I've followed my  beloved Lobos.  It was 1964 and in Bob King's 2nd season, they won the WAC championship.  Prior to that, New Mexico basketball was a real joke- one of the worst programs in the country.  They made Army basketball look strong.  It was during that time that Lou Henson stumbled into Las Cruces and the New Mexico St. Aggies and did the same thing to that program.   Those were good times with guys like Mel Daniels and Ira Harge.  They could flat out play ball.  I've been there during the Ellenberger years and remember a young Marvin Johnson and Michael Cooper as they took the Lobos to a #3 ranking nationally and came into the NCAA tournament with the hopes of winning New Mexico's first National Championship.  That  year, the Lobos were finally better than the "Shark's" Runnin' Rebels.   They did travel to play Cal State Fullerton...and lost.  Unbelievable.  Impossible.  We had just built a new stadium.  What the?   Then frickin' Lobogate put a stop to the momentum.   57 NCAA violations later, Stormin' Norman Ellenberger walked off and the Lobo basketball program went with him out into the desert down Route 66 and never really came back.  Some decent and mostly disappointing coaches wandered through the Duke city- only Dave Bliss did much, but was not a real winner, he was a place holder for...well, we're not exactly sure.  It certainly wasn't Fran Fraschilla.  Anybody with a name like that couldn't do much, and he didn't disappoint.   Ritchie McKay was terrible.  That he was paid to coach was just incredible.   Super talents like Danny Granger walked through the door and the Lobos had some fine season but lost in the Big Dance in the first two rounds.  Granger, of course, was picked as by the Pacers and is now a viable All-Star.  I wasn't the only rabid Lobo fan listening to 77 KOB waiting for Mike Roberts to give the play by play.  Those were good times.  Mostly.     <hr style="margin-top: 10px; margin-right: 0px; margin-bottom: 10px; margin-left: 0px; color: #ffffff; background-color: #ffffff; border-top-style: none; border-right-style: none; border-bottom-style: dotted; border-left-style: none; border-width: 1px; border-color: #d9d8d8;" /> Now the Lobos have Steve Alford.  At least he was a coach everybody had heard of.  We knew him as a great shooter from Indiana who led the Hoosiers to an undefeated season with Bobby Knight.  Who could forget?  Nobody was exactly sure how New Mexico landed him, or why Iowa didn't really want him anymore.  Perhaps it was the million-dollar salary and promises to hire his coaching staff and to bring his own scholarship players.  In his first year, he made believers out of everyone except those back in Iowa, who either hated him because of inability to do much with the Hawkeyes or because he was always seeming to try to go somewhere else.  In his first year he took the Lobos to a 24-9 record.    Then last year, an unlikely JC bobble headed transfer by the name of Darrington Hobson leaped in and joined Dairese Gary and Roman Martinez and put together the best team (statistically) in Lobo history.  28-3 record.  They ended the season ranked #8 in the country.  They won the MWC regular season but couldn't win the MWC tourney.  They went to the NCAA tourney with a #3 seed and still couldn't get the monkey off their backs in terms of winning two games in a tournament.  ANY TOURNAMENT.  One thing I have to admit.  Alford is the best coach New Mexico has had in 30 years.  Although his win percentage is better than Ellenberger, Norm had more style and personality and I miss that.  Dave Bliss was nearly as good as Alford, but was milk toast and his teams played like it.  I am reminded of Bliss when I see Alford.  I hope that's not a bad thing...

<hr style="margin-top: 10px; margin-right: 0px; margin-bottom: 10px; margin-left: 0px; color: #ffffff; background-color: #ffffff; border-top-style: none; border-right-style: none; border-bottom-style: dotted; border-left-style: none; border-width: 1px; border-color: #d9d8d8;" />
Then 2010-11 rolls around and here we are.  All of us, hoping for a great season, then we learn that Darrington Hobson elects to enter the draft and is picked by the Milwaukee Bucks- undergoes hip surgery and is let go from the team.  Without the team's spiritual leader, Roman Martinez, (a guy who was still on all the marketing for the Lobos throughout the entire season) diehard fans were worried for good reason.  Although there was a good recruiting class of youngsters including one of the biggest catches in New Mexico, big red headed Alex Kirk from Los Alamos, there wasn't much experience.  Once everyone got to see the Lobos in their exhibition games, all looked well.  There was a little kid by the name of Jamal Fenton who was quick as lighting and another freshman, Kendall Williams, who could shoot the lights out.  If Phillip McDonald had worked during the off season and A.J. Hardeman realized that he was bigger and more skilled than most big men, this was going to be a good year.  Perhaps Dairese Gary would stop being so shy and take hold of these young Lobos and lead them on to greatness.  Always hopeful.  <hr style="margin-top: 10px; margin-right: 0px; margin-bottom: 10px; margin-left: 0px; color: #ffffff; background-color: #ffffff; border-top-style: none; border-right-style: none; border-bottom-style: dotted; border-left-style: none; border-width: 1px; border-color: #d9d8d8;" /> Well, it really did look o.k.   A 4-0 start out of the gates, including beating PAC-10 member Arizona St in the newly screwed up Pit.  Well, maybe I'm too harsh, but once a half the fire alarm would go off and two times the Pit was vacated during a game.  Also, the clock didn't work right for the first 6 home games.  Actually it still doesn't work right.  Everything did look good until the Lobos visited Cal- a team that gave the Lobos fits in the Pit last year until the wolves pulled away at the end.  We stuck with a decent Cal team at Berkeley through the 1st half and then something snapped.  It sounded like an ACL of the team's knee.  It was the Lobos' will to play that broke.  All of us had heard that sound before, and it wasn't good.  It was something between giving up and not having the skills to compete.  None of us wanted to believe that we were watching the Lobos of the 80s and 90s, but there it was in mute testimony.  The same team who lost to Cal State Fullerton was back on the court.  Losing.  Badly.  A 25-point beating.  Oh no. <hr style="margin-top: 10px; margin-right: 0px; margin-bottom: 10px; margin-left: 0px; color: #ffffff; background-color: #ffffff; border-top-style: none; border-right-style: none; border-bottom-style: dotted; border-left-style: none; border-width: 1px; border-color: #d9d8d8;" /> Then, just when the old guard gave up on the young team, what do you know?...8 wins in a row!  That's what I'm talkin' about.  Even though nobody had ever heard of colleges named this wood or that wood, and many thought the Citadel was a high school near Socorro, they were wins and the Lobos were cracking the top 25.  Bloggers were claiming that New Mexico could be a #1 seed.  New Mexico beat Big 12 Colorado in Las Vegas and then on to the championship game against Northern Iowa, who had surprised many the year before.  New Mexico played a decent game and lost by only 4 points.  Not bad.  Then on to Texas Tech and another Big 12 win.  One more tough one against Dayton, the previous years' NIT champs and a tough loss in double OT.  The Lobos could hold up, especially after coming back to ABQ and beating the tar out of Cal St Bakersfield and seeing Alex Kirk score 31 points in 20 minutes!  Then...disaster.  A last second shot at Wyoming gives the Lobos a bottom 200RPI loss.  The problem was that Wyoming actually looked like a better team- they certainly wanted to win the game more.  These were the drinking days for Lobo fans, where watching the coaching staffs' substitutions became indiscernible and downright random.  Through the next 8 games the Lobos' leader, Dairese Gary would have more turnovers than assists.  Phillip McDonald couldn't hit the wide side of a barn and kept shooting...and wouldn't stop.  A.J. Hardeman would shoot over 60% from the field and wouldn't put up more than 5 shots in a game.  Unbeaten San Diego State came to the Pit and destroyed New Mexico, then a mediocre Utah team did the same thing- only worse, or better...depending on one's perspective.  Remember, the Pit...where the Lobos aren't supposed to lose?  Well, they weren't only losing, they were getting slaughtered and nobody seemed to be able to stop the bleeding.  Even Christmas present Drew Gordon, UCLA transfer, couldn't do much except to look like he was the only Lobo who had played basketball prior to this season.  The team began to look like they were defeated well into the 2nd half whether they were winning or not.  They would focus for the last 5 minutes of the game.  It went on until they Lobos lost as many as they won after their 12-1 start.  In the middle of the pathetic conference schedule, they figured out how to beat BYU- including smashing them at Provo- which, up to last season hadn't happened in a decade.   Tony Snell, who couldn't shoot, did shoot at Provo and never again...What the heck was going on?  Who knows, but it wasn't good enough to garner and invite to the Big Dance.  They heard the familiar NIT "invite" (hey the NIT knows they will sell ten thousand more tickets than anybody else in the country...they ain't stupid!) and won their first game against their old nemesis UTEP, who couldn't put it together either this season.   Then they lose tonight to a vaunted university who is good at...football.  Many may say that they were outplayed, but they weren't.  They were out-hustled by a team that wanted to win.  A team without heart and without leadership went down to the opposite.   <hr style="margin-top: 10px; margin-right: 0px; margin-bottom: 10px; margin-left: 0px; color: #ffffff; background-color: #ffffff; border-top-style: none; border-right-style: none; border-bottom-style: dotted; border-left-style: none; border-width: 1px; border-color: #d9d8d8;" /> This was a year of rebuilding and it ended worse than it began.  I truly wish it weren't just like it always has been.  A fan base that rivals that of Syracuse, North Carolina, Duke, Michigan State, Kentucky roots for a team that can NEVER PUT IT TOGETHER.  IN 50 YEARS!  ARE YOU KIDDING ME?  
O.k.  I'm better now.  I still have my season tickets and and still wearing my Lobo sweatshirt.  I'll be there at the Lobo howl and I'll report on their recruiting saga.  Maybe they'll land a 4 or 5 star recruit!   <hr style="margin-top: 10px; margin-right: 0px; margin-bottom: 10px; margin-left: 0px; color: #ffffff; background-color: #ffffff; border-top-style: none; border-right-style: none; border-bottom-style: dotted; border-left-style: none; border-width: 1px; border-color: #d9d8d8;" /> Next year.  We'll be better next year.  We're going to be a top 20 team for sure.  Didn't you hear the commentators?  With the returning young talent New Mexico has, along with the absence of the two Utah teams, New Mexico will run away with the MWC championship.  We'll have 3 legit big men with experience and if we pick up a great point guard, we'll be awesome.  Nobody will keep up with the athletes of New Mexico.  Neal won't take one of those big coaching jobs and everybody will be back.   <hr style="margin-top: 10px; margin-right: 0px; margin-bottom: 10px; margin-left: 0px; color: #ffffff; background-color: #ffffff; border-top-style: none; border-right-style: none; border-bottom-style: dotted; border-left-style: none; border-width: 1px; border-color: #d9d8d8;" /> Manana.  Tomorrow.  We'll be good then.  Like the Cat Stevens' song:  "We're going to have a good time then."  or always positive Steinbeck, "and we'll live off the fat o the lan'...won't we George?" <hr style="margin-top: 10px; margin-right: 0px; margin-bottom: 10px; margin-left: 0px; color: #ffffff; background-color: #ffffff; border-top-style: none; border-right-style: none; border-bottom-style: dotted; border-left-style: none; border-width: 1px; border-color: #d9d8d8;" /> Anyone want to buy 2 courtside tickets to the NIT semi-finals and finals in Madison Square Garden?  I'll sell cheap.
Category: NCAAB
Posted on: March 19, 2011 10:53 am
 

Lobos win round one at the Pit

GO LOBOS!!!
Like old times playing the team down I-25.  (The other Aggies)  New Mexico had the largest NIT crowd in the country.  BY FAR.  Why are you not surprised?  The young Lobos looked good.  22 wins ain't bad given this season.  
Alabama update:  On to the SEC.  The game is covered on the big station (ESPN) at 9pm on Monday.  Alabama was a team who was one of the teams many thought would be in the Big Dance.  Even after beating Georgia two times in a row at the end of the season, the Crimson Tide was still looked at as a football team and not as a basketball powerhouse.  This was a team who beat Kentucky, Tennessee, and Arkansas this season.  Their record wasn't really the problem.  It was their schedule.  In their  first game in the NIT, Alabama destroyed a good Coastal Carolina team by 24 points.  

Road test without Dairese at Alabama.  Alabama is an explosive team that is comfortable putting up 10-15 point runs.  They have some very gifted athletes.  There will be only a few teams still playing college ball by Monday.  Alabama is #1 in the country inside- good inside scoring and rebounding.  13 offensive rebounds in the paint by the Crimson Tide.  The good news is that the table is now set for Drew Gordon to dominate inside or at least neutralize 3 very good inside threats for Alabama.  The Crimson Tide will run the floor and will cause turnovers, but the Lobos should be much better shooters.  New Mexico ball handlers- namely Fenton, need to be careful with the ball and play controlled offense to limit turnovers. Alabama hasn't lost at home this season.    
Phillip McDonald still scares me because of his philosophy that he needs to drive the lane.  While he can certainly get to the hoop, he is not a great shooter on the move.  He is a set shooter.  The Lobos can't afford a poor shooting night from Phillip.  

Kendall Williams is young, but could have a huge game.  He is gaining the ability to analyze his weaknesses and take control when it's time.  He is also the team's strongest spokesman.  He is sensible and honest.  The team will rely on this young many for not only the next game but also in the years to come.

Play of A.J. Hardeman, Alex Kirk, and aussie Cameron Bairstow could be a key if shots aren't going in.  New Mexico could feasibly survive with great defense and easy buckets inside.
Category: NCAAB
Posted on: March 12, 2011 9:02 am
 

Adios Lobos. You got Jimmered.

Well, I wish I hadn't seen this one coming, but I did...and I wasn't alone in that prediction.  Everyone in the country who could get the spotty CBS coverage tuned in to watch the Player of the Year Jimmer Fredette.  And they weren't disappointed.  Jimmer scored at will in every way possible.  When he wasn't scoring, he was threading the needle or controlling the tempo with his dribble and distribution.  During the game he sets the all-time scoring record for BYU, and the individual performance record in the MWC.  He was just plain unstoppable.  



Oh yeah, the Lobos.  Sigh...  The biggest story was that Dairese Gary goes down with what must have been an ACL tear or at least a serious meniscus tear.  He's done for the NIT season too unless they give him morphine...which they might if it's up to Dairese.  Watching him crying saying, "I'm sorry" was heartbreaking even to the BYU fans in the building.  I have never been a true Gary fan, but I was moved and truly sorry to see him go out in that way.   


As to the rest of the team...this is a group of young basketball players that need to get a serious talking to.  If they're not going to devote the kind of energy, preparation necessary to be a good basketball team, then they need to go somewhere else.  My impression of the entire season that was incapsulated in the second half of their last game.  Never maximum effort until it was too late.  Odd rotations.  Waiting for their senior to do something.  And he did.  He hurt his knee and sat in pain (on more level than just physical) watching his beloved team wilt under pressure to a team that just wanted it more and had the best scorer in the nation having a career night.  


I hate to blame the coaches too much, but they just didn't make very good adjustments to the line up.  When BYU ran, they put in slower players.  When Gary got a defensive handle on Fredette, they brought in Snell, who looked completely out of his league as Jimmer buried shot after shot.  The Lobos kept their typical offensive spacing not understanding the 2-3 zone took away their staple end-line 3s.  With time running down, the Lobos tried to set up plays that resulted in killing the clock as if they were the one's who were up and then would throw the ball away.  


Was it possible to have a worse performance from Phil McDonald in the last 5 minutes?  How many times did he throw the ball away or make a silly foul?  Why is it that he could not give his teammates a predictable target?  He ran all over the court trying to rebound here and delivering no look (and no brain) passes to the crowd.  Phillip needs to get serious and I don't want to hear the coaching staff say how proud they are of his play.  He sucked this year and he cost the team dearly in nearly every loss.  He has tremendous potential but had a terrible season and developed innumerable bad habits.  Kendall was left to play one on 4 against BYU's interior zone - as he was relegated to putting up acrobatic shots that just didn't make any sense.  Although he's talented beyond his peers, he's simply too young and inexperienced to win games by himself.  He needs maturing like that cheese commercial.


Drew Gordon and A.J. Hardeman played good games.  While not inspired or tough enough to win big games, they held their own against the smaller and less talented Cougars.  It's always amazing to me how few shots Alford designs for A.J. given his high FG%.  Drew Gordon was mature and did his job again posting yet another double double.  Since the first exhibition game I thought that Jamal Fenton would be a great key to the Lobos' game.  We saw a glimmer of that potential several times this season, but he simply didn't play enough to give him the confidence he should have had in yesterday's game.  Bairstow looked like he could be improving but that's not what we need at this point in the season.  Improvement...  I have no idea why all of a sudden the coaching staff realized that he could play since he rode the pine for nearly 95% of the season.  Not seeing Alex Kirk in this final game was perplexing and a dark sign.  What it tells me is that big Alex could be looking to move somewhere else next season and that would be a huge problem- this kid is talented.  Hopefully they've just told him to get into shape and they'll play him next year.  Obviously, he needs to learn to move his feet on defense, but finding a freshman from New Mexico who can shoot, move his feet and is 7 feet tall doesn't happen every day.


Coach Neal and Alford need to figure it out or they're going to lose the talent they have.  They have the components to win games and to improve dramatically over the next few seasons, but they need to make more intelligent decisions in terms of adjusting their offense and their rotations need to look a bit more logical than the dartboard scheme they seem to prefer.  Alford and co. have given the Lobos something to cheer about in the last couple of years and for that I thank them, but it's time to sit down and think about what they're doing.  Otherwise potential can be squandered.  I'm still going to be around rooting on the Lobos and spending way too much capital on supporting this team.  So it goes with the territory of being a Lobo fan...
GO LOBOS!!!
Category: NCAAB
 
 
 
 
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