Posted on: November 28, 2010 8:36 am

Early MWC report card

BYU- Looking very good in the statistical categories.  Rebounding, steals, scoring.  With Fredette, is still the team to beat.  Them rebounding so well should scare the competition.  Shooting well under last season's %.  Narrow escapes shows character, but they need to play their best ball a bit earlier in the game or their fans will be experiencing many heart attacks.
SDSU-  Great frontcourt play- love Leonard- along w/ Thomas and White, are among the best in the country- high FG%-Still need work blocking out and competing for rebounds and keeping energy on the defensive end-they should be dominating more inside with their roster and schedule.  D.J. Gay needs to find his game.
UNLV-  Not yet respected, but the most improved team in the MWC.  Shooting higher FG% than anyone else in the country- even better than big SDSU.  Play great team ball and them beating Wisconsin was a big deal.  A great line-up.  Stanback, Bellfield, Marshall, Jasper, Willis.  Wow.  Like SDSU, they need to work on blocking out and hitting the boards.  Need to work on freethrow shooting
UNM-  Getting destroyed by Cal was telling- This team is very young and their make-up very different than last year's great team.  They went from a 3-point shooting team who hits the boards, relying on an NBA talent, and plays great defense to a team that blocks shots and cuts through the lane on offense.  They have all the components behind senior PG Dairese Gary and a bunch of talent of all sizes and speeds.  They are looking forward to UCLA transfer Gordon's arrival next month.  Need to work on everything-especially rebounding, defense, and heart- they've given up at some point in every game.
TCU-  Have some talent in the back court, but their game against Rider showed definite signs of needing to take care of the ball and defensive pressure.  Nice win against Bradley shows they can play, they just need work at every facet of their game except for pretty good free-throw shooting.

Air Force-  Getting beat by a Div. III school,  Colorado College was a bad sign.  Fow and Lyons, and Washington is about as deep as they get.  Need to practice shooting freethrows and getting taller.  They will be outmatched against the top 4 teams.
CSU-  Ogide is one of the MWC's best, but he can't do it alone.  And he is almost alone.  They got destroyed in the second half by an o.k. Sam Houston State.  They have no defense and were killed by turnovers leading to quick baskets.
Utah-  Early on I thought with Utah's size and guard skills that they'd be a contender.  Not so sure now-mostly because they just could not get a handle on rival Utah State and Oral Roberts shooting 52% is unacceptable on the defensive end.  Clyburn is excellent, but they'll need some more time to gell.
Wyoming- It's not the respectable showing against very good Mizzou or Providence teams (easily the toughest back to back OOC schedule by an MWC team thusfar)- rather it's getting blown out by Northern Colorado and North Florida.  They have a very soft schedule in their next 10-12 games, so they'd better figure it out, or else conference play is going to be ugly.
Category: NCAAB
Posted on: November 26, 2010 10:09 pm

California? Are you kidding me?

So the team that beat New Mexico down to the ground in the second half of their game at Berkeley scored 5 points in the first HALF against Notre Dame.  They were part of a dubious record-setting performance where 26 points were score by BOTH teams.  Not even in the pathetic Ivy league over the years has a Div. I school scored less.  Was this the same team?  It sure looked like the same guys.  This is horrible news for the Lobos.  We all thought Cal was pretty good.  Well, they're not- they are undisciplined and immature- they can't shoot, aren't a team, and crumbled like a stale cookie...and that's a very bad sign for us Lobo fans, because where does that leave us?
Category: NCAAB
Posted on: November 24, 2010 11:50 pm

Northwood no match for New Mexico at Pit

Northwood, Longwood.  The first of two woods (Northwood) are down with conviction- 78-56.  Well, I hope so.  Northwood is a Div II school with very little size and only a fraction of the speed and overall talent on the New Mexico roster.  (The Lobos had problems with Div. I California Bears- that's for sure- totally aggravating because now I can't talk smack about the PAC10-dang it!).  The big story was that Dairese Gary finally looked like the senior leader that he really is.  6 assists, 5 steals, and only 2 turnovers are the telling stats.  I say it's about time.  He's got everything he needs to be a great point guard and inheritor of the mantle vacated by Roman Martinez- the spiritual leader on the court.  This team is also different with Phillip McDonald back in the rotation.  His willingness to shoot the long ball is really just what the Lobo offense needs.  Jamal Fenton showed that he still needs a long way to go, but made decent decisions and didn't try to force much.  Freshman Center Alex Kirk put in another good day at the office.  Good defense all around and 21 assists is a very good sign.  Shooting 60% is the real story, though.  These kids can shoot when they're not turning the ball over.  The youngsters have all the talent needed to win games, they just really need a leader on the court who will organize the chaos of youth.   7 offensive rebounds isn't much to write home about, but I guess shooting 60% doesn't allow for much clean up.
What a difference a few days makes.  You would have never thought that this same team got demolished by an only o.k. California team just a few days ago.  It will take quite awhile to regain the confidence of the voters, but a relatively light schedule for the next few games could be just what New Mexico needs to get ready for Dayton, Texas Tech, Indiana, UNI, and conference play.  It is reasonable for a focused Lobo team to post a 12-1 mark by the time they reach the Las Vegas Invitational.  It's also possible for them to struggle like we saw at Berkeley.  (Sorry, but I'm not convinced Cal was that good-it looked to me like New Mexico was that bad)

So far the energy of Darrington Hobson is a vacuum yet unfilled, but many hopes rest on Drew Gordon- the UCLA transfer who will become eligible in about a month.  

Perhaps the humiliation at California gave Steve Alford just the leverage he needed to get his players attention.  We shall see.
Category: NCAAB
Posted on: November 21, 2010 12:08 am

New Mexico gets smacked at Cal

After Cal getting destroyed earlier in the day by Stanford in football, the Berkeley crowd seems both sparse and unmotivated, but were rewarded by a 89-64 smack-down of the visiting Lobos.  What a contrast to the Pit in Albuquerque.  The basketball team, however, came out of the chute ready to play.  New Mexico looked like they stayed up too late the night before trying to pick up chicks around Berkeley.  I know they wouldn't do that, but boy were they flat.  As the 1st half matured, the athleticism and shooting ability of New Mexico began to emerge.  Make no mistake, New Mexico is probably a more talented team- and better why the result, right?  It came down to heart- as in, California had more than New Mexico.  Cal looked undisciplined and even out of control coming down the court in the 1st half.  Maybe it's because of Guitierez's hair flying all over the place, but that's what it looked like.  Cal's style seemed to represent all that I've seen wrong with Pac-10 basketball in the last few years.  They were all over the place.  Arms sprawled and people falling down all over the place.  They are like the antithesis of Duke, Purdue, or Kansas.  Their game looks like a pick-up game in comparison.  The good news is that Cal has some individual talent and has spirit and they made New Mexico play their game.  They also banged the boards-which is something I haven't yet seen from the Lobos this season.  They out-hustled the Lobos plain and simple.  In the second half, Cal took off and never really looked back.  Cal's Kamp looked very good.    
You'd think with all that criticism that the Lobos hung with Cal, but they didn't.  It was a narrow Cal lead throughout the first half that ballooned into the middle of the 2nd half.  Cal couldn't hit a freethrow to save their lives but seemed to just outhustle the Lobos.  In the middle of the 2nd half, Cal had a surge and hit a few 3's.  With an eighteen-point lead in the middle of the 2nd half, it looked bad and New Mexico players looked way out of whack.  With 2 minutes left in the game the lead was 28 points (that hadn't changed much since 5 minutes left and the lead was 26.  Cal was taking it to the hole, shooting from the line, and shooting from outside...and making everything they threw up.  They were filling lanes, blocking out, rebounding, moving well and taking open shots.   

It was nice to see New Mexico's Fenton shooting the ball well in the first half and dishing the ball around the court.  He also looked much more mature than I remember.  He was actually making some pretty good decisions and was in control.  He is just young.  Freshman Alex Kirk is also still young but is a great addition with his size and ability to shoot from beyond the arc.  He's going to be great to watch as he matures.  Freshman Kendall Williams can shoot.  Lots of youth on New Mexico.  Lots.  Senior Dairese Gary is going to have to consider being more of a leader on the floor.  Obviously he is great at getting to the charity stripe, but he was a non-factor.  Hopefully we'll see a lesson learned because this was a major butt-whippin'.

Category: NCAAB
Posted on: November 19, 2010 7:54 pm


Sorry, I should know by now not to trust a post without first previewing.  Please disregard my last post and I'll do better the next time.  What I said was that New Mexico is pretty good and I think they'll get better throughout the season.  They should beat Cal.
Category: NCAAB
Posted on: November 19, 2010 7:52 pm

Lobo scouting report Week 2

A road trip to California will give us an idea if the talent of New Mexico has the maturity to endure a road trip to Berkeley.  With the addition of Alex Kirk, New Mexico will be bigger.  With two more returning starters than Cal, they will also be more experienced.  It will remain to be seen who has recruited better talent and who is deeper.  My money is on New Mexico although it's hard to ignore #17 ranking of Cal's recruiting class.  I believe New Mexico's was better, but Rivals forgot to ask me for my opinion...
After losing Darington Hobson to the Milwaukee Bucks, and graduated senior spiritual leader and superb outside specialist, Roman Martinez, I was worried about this year's Lobo team, but as strange as it may sound, by February, New Mexico will probably be better than last year- a serious force because they added a bunch of size and even more speed.  They are certainly more balanced and much deeper.  As one of the youngest teams in college basketball, we'll have to see who emerges as the leaders-especially on the offensive end.   <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;" /> Scouting  <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;" /> New Mexico is bigger and much quicker than last season that will lend itself to Alford's up and down-kick it out to the wings, mentality.  They still live and die by the 3-pointer to some extent, and it should be notable that they're not shooting so well from outside yet.  They do share the ball.  While Alford and the coaching staff tries to find the right combination, it is likely that we will see a relatively balanced scoring attack and a variety of weapons that emerge.  They have lots of ball handlers and will be difficult to press later in the season, but early competition would be wise to press these youngsters until they prove they can take care of the ball. Although they're bigger, they don't seem to pound the boards too hard yet, but I think that will come.  They have won all their games rather easily although they have a tendency to relax after they take a big lead.  Discipline and maturity is needed to combat that tendency.  One thing for sure is that New Mexico will be exceedingly difficult to prepare for.  There is no offensive "go-to guy," and no obvious person to key on because there is nearly unlimited variety and no one clear offensive threat.  They're all dangerous.  Cover the outside and New Mexico will throw it inside.   Put pressure on the outside and the Lobos' quickness will break down the defense.  The only unknown is if/when New Mexico will shoot well from the outside.  If they do, they will be downright scary. <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;" /> Basics: <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;" /> Returning: <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;" /> Dairese Gary is a senior with great experience and is phenomenal at getting to the line, but looks out of basketball shape, has been prone to silly turnovers and still isn't a particularly good shooter.  But he is fearless' and we have seen his pattern of improving throughout the season.    
Big forward A.J. Hardeman returning has potential and will make people change their shots inside

Phillip McDonald- probably the teams' best outside threat- hurt early, but just a minor injury- he'll be back soon

Curtis Dennis-  We didn't see him much last season, but he has shown that he can shoot the ball and move up and down the court
<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;" />
The Lobos' additions:

Alex Kirk, Freshman center who I think will be the MWC best pure center this year

Drew Gordon, Big forward transfer from UCLA, who may be the Lobos' best player by the end of the season-  Since Gordon will be expected to be such a force, it will be interesting to see how they incorporate his skills if the Lobos are doing well...if they're not, it won't be hard at all- give him the ball

Kendall Williams- Quick freshman guard who is a very good shooter

Jamal Fenton- Tiny and extraordinarily quick PG- makes everyone else look like they're in slow motion

Tony Snell-  A bit undisciplined, but big and quick guard (6" 7")

Emmanuel Negedu- Transfer from Tennessee- adds athleticism and rebounding 
Category: NCAAB
Posted on: November 17, 2010 5:22 pm

Unolobo's early season comments

Here's what I see right now:
Pitt- (+5)- Wanamaker and Gibbs are very good, but are overrated at this point
Florida- (+5)- Need board work and need to score- have talent, but not convinced it will gell
Purdue- (+4)- W/O Hummel, will have problems in the Big 10
Georgetown (+3)- Freeman is excellent, but they struggle inside

Kansas State (+2)- With Pullen, are talented, but w/o Clemente aren't top 5

Duke (+2)- Although Irving is quite a find, they miss Scheyer- Great line-up, but don't think they'll be at #1 for long
UNC- They have too many ballhogs who need coaching-luckily, they have a coach, but this will take time...

Underrated:  MWC!  It always takes half the season to admit that 2 or more from the Mountain West deserve a top-25 ranking.
BYU- (-10)- Fredette is superb, with him are among the best shooting teams in college
UNLV- (-9)- Size and great quickness- will overpower and outrun most
Missouri- (-6)- Exceptional recruiting class- take care of the ball
Kentucky- (-5)- Big, talented, excellent rebounding team- Calipari wrote the book on recruiting
Kansas- (-4)- Superb shooting team, selfless, Morris Bros are very good- defensively minded
San Diego State- Leonard and Thomas inside coupled with White makes them strong

New Mexico- My home boys are going to be very good and will be ranked before long...

Top Freshman:  Irving (Duke)
Player of the Year:  Fredette (BYU)
All-American 1st Team:

G:  Fredette (BYU)
G:  McCamey (Ill)
F:  Singleton (Fla St)
F: Henson (UNC)
C:Sullinger (Ohio State)
Honorable Mention:
Pullen (K State)
Freeman (Georgetown)
Gray (Gonzaga)
Fisher (Villanova)
Lucas (Mich. St.)
Morris, Marcus (Kansas)
Wanamaker (Pitt)

National Champs:  Kansas
Category: NCAAB
Posted on: November 17, 2010 12:29 am

New Mexico tops Arizona State- 2-0

Well, this was supposed to be the first big test for the youngsters of New Mexico, and it was.  Although New Mexico won relatively easily (76-62), there will be mixed news in the locker room as coach Alford will be happy they beat a capable Arizona State team, but New Mexico showed signs of both greatness and lack of focus.  (Alford calling a time-out with 12 seconds was to tell them to "focus.")  The Lobos don't get back on "D" yet, which could be bad if they're in a close one.  The Sun Devils raced off to an early lead and stunned the hometown Pit crowd, but then the athletic Lobos were so quick and able that they scored 16 points in the span of just a few minutes and took a commanding lead.  It seemed to even confuse the Lobos how quick they raced ahead so they let off the gas about 3 minutes from the half and Arizona came right back and going into half-time cut a 10 point lead down to 6 points.  By half-time, two things were obvious, New Mexico was the better team, but will need to work on transition defense and protecting the ball if they're going to master this season as they did last season.  When they played team ball, it was a beautiful thing and New Mexico is quick, balanced, and selfless.  When they relaxed, Arizona State (like Detroit before them) roared back in quick spurts.  

For New Mexico, Kendall Williams had a stand-out game and showed that he could take up some slack due to the loss of last year's All-American, Darington Hobson.  He dished 4 assists, shot well from the perimeter (4-5 from the field including 4-4 from 3-point land along with 3 steals), and controlled the ball well.  New Mexico's 1st team All-WAC guard, Dairese Gary, still seems to have taken the summer off a bit, as he looked more like the Dairese Gary of the beginning of the year last year instead of one of the top players in the NCAA tournament (before Washington ousted the Lobos in the 2nd round).  Gary had trouble with an upside down assist to turnover ratio of 5:6, but did manage the tempo for the Lobos and somehow ended up with 18 points and his usual clinic from the line 5-6.  Last year's other starter, forward A.J. Hardeman also seemed to show signs of potential greatness everyone continues to hope for, as he registered a vicious block, 6 rebounds and shot 6-12 from the field.  Speedster Jamal Fenton was off his offensive game shooting only 2-12 from the field for the game, but ended with 8 point and was successful in scaring the heck out of whoever guarded him.  Covering Fenton is like covering Speedy Gonzalez.  9 Lobos scored and 3 in double figures (Hardeman (12), Williams (15), and Gary (18).
I'm not sure why Alford played Freshman big-man Alex Kirk for only 16 minutes, because when he was in the game, New Mexico matched up much better against the trees of Arizona State.  The big kid showed he has some range as he drained one of two threes he tried.  

For Arizona State, Trent Lockett was the standout as the Lobo defense couldn't do much with him as he collected 8 rebounds (5 offensive) and scored 22 points.  If Arizona State can figure out how to engage their size to their advantage, they would be one of the biggest team in the college game.  It is good that the Lobos met them at this time of the year and at home because as they get comfortable, they will cause some very tough matchups for other teams in the PAC-10.
California is up next for the Lobos this Saturday at Berkeley.  Cal has a very good team, but they haven't seen anyone like New Mexico since last season.  This will be a huge test and milestone for the young Lobo team.  If they come out of Berkeley with a win, it is reasonable to expect the Lobos to break the top 25 relatively quickly.  If they keep their focus, they could win the rest of their games for the year and could reasonably be 11-0 with a high ranking...again.  It is December 29th that they go on the road to meet Texas Tech and Dayton (who both really want revenge on last year's losses).  Although it is counting chickens, the signs look good.  Alford has this team ready to play and it looks like the bones are real good.
Category: NCAAB
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