Wyoming Hosts New Mexico To Start Mountain West Play

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New Mexico Lobos
@ Wyoming Cowboys

Saturday, Jan 14, 2012, 1:30 PM MST

TV: The Mtn.

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The first leg of the season is complete and the Wyoming Cowboys passed with flying colors and a 14-2 record. The second portion is a whole different beast when facing the other Mountain West schools. The New Mexico Lobos come to Laramie with an identical 14-2 record but hold an advantage in RPI and strength of schedule. The Lobos have a RPI of 69 and SOS of 234. It is no secret that Wyoming hasn't played the toughest schedule so far and thus the Cowboys have an RPI of 114 and SOS of 334.

The Lobos enter the game with a 12 game win streak after getting off to a slow start. They have a strong inside presence with Drew Gooden and hold a big rebounding advantage over the Cowboys. The Lobos average 39 rebounds a game while Wyoming averages just 30.9. Right now it appears that the Lobos will be competing with UNLV and San Diego State for the conference title this year. Wyoming has put it self in the conversation as the fourth best team in the Mountain West but doesn't a number of big wins yet.

The big hope is that there will finally be a large home crowd that will turn out for the game this weekend. Attendance has been slightly above 4,000 for most of the home games so far. There needs to be a bigger turnout to help give the Cowboys a true home-court advantage. There certainly seems to be plenty of people talking about attending the game. Hopefully that turns out to be true and the AA is rocking on Saturday.

New Mexico allows 57 points a game compared to 52 for Wyoming. Both teams are very stingy on defense with oppsing teams shooting 36% from the field and less then 30% from three point range.

Tony Snell is a versatile 6-7 guard that leads the Lobos with 13.8 points a game. He is very dangerous from long range and is shooting 45% from behind the arc. We've already mentioned Gooden who averages a double double and has excelled since transferring from UCLA two years ago. Hugh Greenwood has also done a nice job at point as a freshmen.

Currently the Lobos are 4.5 point favorites which does seem high to me. Even the team last year the Cowboys ended up beating New Mexico in Laramie. This team has obviously greatly improved over that time and has a whole new outlook. Wyoming needs to simply do what it has done all season and play aggressive defense for 40 minutes. They need to keep close in the rebounding battle and not get into foul trouble. One big advantage that New Mexico holds is depth. If the Leonard Washington or Adam Waddell get into foul trouble it may be disastrous.

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