New Mexico vs. Louisiana Tech: Preview, How To Stream, Odds & More

New Mexico begins a challenging three game homestand against the Louisiana Tech Bulldogs.

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New Mexico vs. Louisiana Tech: Preview

The Lobos return home to host a hot Louisiana Tech squad.

Contact/Follow @HardwoodTalk & @MWCwire

New Mexico begins a challenging three game homestand against the Louisiana Tech Bulldogs.

Updated as of 11/28/2023

WHO: New Mexico (5-1, 0-0 in the MWC) vs. Louisiana Tech (5-1, 0-0 in C-USA)

WHEN: Wednesday, November 29th, 7:00 PM MT

WHERE: University Arena aka “The Pit”, Albuquerque, NM

STREAM: Mountain West Network

Line: KenPom, The Lobos are favored by 8 Points

Feast Week has come and gone. And while some teams like the New Mexico Lobos emerged victorious from their multi-team events in places ranging from Maui to the U.S. Virgin Islands. Others returned home, simply gearing up for their next game.

Now, teams around the Mountain West have a little over a month to get ready for the new year and more importantly conference play. Richard Pitino’s squad returns to Albuquerque with three wins and a four game winning streak. The Lobos cleaned up last week in Henderson, with three victories by a margin of 20.3 PPG.

Ahead of them is a remaining non-conference slate with seven games remaining. Four against top-150 teams and several conference title favorites. There aren’t many resume boosters left on the Lobos’ schedule, but any of the remaining games can be classified as a resume dampener.

Luckily their backcourt duo of sophomore Donovan Dent (18.5 PPG) & Jamal Mashburn Jr. (18.2 PPG) are still scoring in droves. And they are joined by freshman sensation JT Toppin, who is averaging 14.2 PPG & 8.3 RPG and shooting an impressive 73.5% from the floor. The Lobos played some of their best basketball this season in Henderson. Which may not have been perfect, but there was definitely progress. And that’s the name of the game right now.

*As of Tuesday 11/28/2023, Jamal Mashburn Jr. is doubtful to play against Louisiana Tech with an injury.

Next up on that aforementioned schedule are the Bulldogs of Louisiana Tech. A team led by second year head coach Talvin Hester. A team that is riding a five game winning streak of their own. They risk that streak Wednesday night in one of the toughest road environments in the nation.

Louisiana Tech Breakdown

As mentioned Head Coach Hester is in year two of his rebuild of the Louisiana Tech basketball program. He had assistant stops from the SWAC to the Big 12 under coaches such as Mark Adams & Kelvin Sampson. A near 20-year coaching journey that has led him to his first head coaching role in Ruston.

Turning Louisiana Tech into a Conference USA power, even in the conference’s new iteration, is a tall task. A task that may be hard to do when you only returned four players that saw more than ten minutes a game last season.

That Bulldogs squad finished 9th in maybe one of the more competitive Conference USA’s in recent memory. Though on the bright side, those four players all made double-digit starts last season and are a part of a solid foundation to keep building on going forward.

Now, pair that with what is turning out to be a very solid recruiting class filled with high major transfers, mid-major journeymen and impact Juco transfers, and you have a top-100 ranked (KenPom) team that is 5-1 to start the year.

The Bulldogs haven’t been tested much since their 8-point loss to what has become a red hot Colorado State team back in early November. But they have been taking care of business when they need to. Beating their division-I foes on average by 11.0 PPG & beating others by a far more impressive margin.

Their doing this with a well balanced attack. With three players averaging 12.3 PPG & few not far behind. Their three-headed attack comes from all areas of the floor.

Starting with the all-conference caliber Isaiah Crawford who can play nearly all positions on the floor. In the post you’ll find Texas Tech Transfer Daniel Batcho, who is nearly averaging a double-double since being ruled eligible. Lastly there is Juco transfer Jaylin Henderson, who is a three-level scorer in the backcourt.

This Bulldogs team is built similarly to the Lobos. Not a ton of size in their most impactful lineup. Also mainly being a threat inside the arc, they get to the free throw line plenty and they are tough defensively. They have the chance at a top-50 (KenPom) win as tournament metrics will soon be published. And in Conference USA, every win counts.

Players to Watch:

F JT ToppinNew Mexico

After garnering his second Mountain West Freshman of the Week award this season, opposing coaching staffs must be focused on the 6-9 freshman. The Dallas, TX native earned those honors after averaging 17.0 PPG & 8.3 RPG, while shooting 81% (21-26) from the floor at the Ball Dawgs Classic.

Against Toledo, he set career highs of 27 points and 11 rebounds. While also shooting lights out in the post. Making his first 11 field goal attempts before finishing 11-12 in the closing minutes of the game. He’ll need another solid night to contribute to a Lobo win.

F Isaiah CrawfordLouisiana Tech

Isaiah Crawford was one of the few returning pieces from Coach Hester’s first year in Ruston. A very important piece to the puzzle the second year coach and his staff have put together this season.

The 5th year senior leads his team in points (14.2 PPG) & steals (2.3) as a small ball four and stat sheet stuffer. The 6-6 forward makes his money inside the arc (6.2 2PA, 67.6%) and at the free throw line (5.2 FTA) the hard way. Plenty of the Bulldogs offense runs through Crawford, a strong night from him will cause plenty of trouble for New Mexico.

Keys to the Game

For New Mexico:  Take care of the basketball, Take and make the 3 & Find points in the paint

At the moment the Lobos’ weak points are clear, poor three point shooting (31.3%) and no real offensive creativity aside from Dent. Coach Pitino’s squad isn’t taking a lot of three point shots and the ones they make are few and far between. This has moved their scorers inside the arc, averaging 49.7 2FG attempts a game at 52.3% on the year.

New Mexico must be conservative with their threes, take advantage of opportunities in the paint and make ball security a priority against Louisiana Tech.

*Now Richard Pitino needs to find a way to replace the lost production of Jamal Mashburn Jr. against the Bulldogs. With the recent news of his availability for Wednesday, paired with the game-time decision status of Jaelen House who hasn’t played since the teams season opener on November 6th, someone needs to step up.

Prediction: New Mexico 75, Louisiana Tech 70

If the Lobos bring the winning momentum they found on the road back home, Louisiana Tech should experience a loss in the Pit like others have this season (2-0).

Without the team’s second leading scorer their margin of victory shrinks a bit in my prediction. The team will need Tru Washington or Jemarl Baker Jr. to find the form they reached last week to make up for one of the best scorers in college basketball.

Larry Muniz covers college basketball as a writer for Mountain West Wire and WAC Hoops Digest. Also as a co-host of the college basketball podcast “Hoops Talk W/Jay & Larry”. He is also a USWBA Member.

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New Mexico Basketball: Ball Dawgs Classic Preview, How To Stream & More

New Mexico Basketball: Ball Dawgs Classic Preview The Lobos get things started with the Toledo Rockets late Tuesday night. Contact/Follow @HardwoodTalk & @MWCwire The Lobos head on the road for a three-game stand in Feast Week Multi-team event, The …

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New Mexico Basketball: Ball Dawgs Classic Preview

The Lobos get things started with the Toledo Rockets late Tuesday night.

Contact/Follow @HardwoodTalk & @MWCwire

The Lobos head on the road for a three-game stand in Feast Week Multi-team event, The Ball Dawgs Classic.

WHO: New Mexico (2-1, 0-0 in the MWC) vs. Toledo (3-0, 0-0 in the MAC), Rice (1-2, 0-0 in AAC) & Pepperdine (3-2, 0-0 in WCC)

WHEN: Tuesday November 21st-Friday November 24th

WHERE: The Dollar Loan Center, Henderson, NV

STREAM: FLO Hoops ($)

It’s that time of year folks, with the holidays heavily upon us college basketball fans are gearing up for maybe their favorite time of year not named March Madness, Feast Week.

The second to last week in November always provides quality basketball matchups in a variety of venues and cities almost daily. For the New Mexico Lobos that means picking up shop and making the Dollar Loan Center in Henderson, NV their home for the holiday “break”.

This comes after the Lobos were taken down to the wire in their lone game of week two of the college basketball season by UT Arlington. New Mexico looked out of sorts that game and let foul trouble combined with nearly zero post defense create a nail biter in the Pit.

In his post-game interview Thursday night, Head Coach Richard Pitino acknowledged a lack of chemistry as one of the teams biggest issues at the moment.

“We know our best basketball is ahead of us. We’ve dealt with so many injuries, we’ve dealt with Nelly (Junior-Joseph) missing four crucial months of practice, we just have to find a way. This team will progress as the season goes on with so many new guys.” said Coach Pitino

“Although I am excited about the future of this team and program. We have eight new players and when you take a veteran like Jaelen House out, we’ll now you got a lot of new guys on the court. And we are not going to be perfect right now. You have to learn from every opportunity you get.”

Now they’ll gear up and head west for three games in four days against MAC title hopefuls Toledo, AAC newcomers Rice and Lorenzo Romar’s Pepperdine Waves. It’s a tough task, but aside for the chance to grab some quality wins over top-175 KenPom ranked teams. It’s a chance for this Lobo squad to find more team chemistry before a very tough homestand the following week.

Team previews below

Larry Muniz covers college basketball as a writer for Mountain West Wire and WAC Hoops Digest. Also as a co-host of the college basketball podcast “Hoops Talk W/Jay & Larry”. He is also a USWBA Member.

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Lobos get a Dent buzzer beater to beat UT Arlington, 82-80

Game Recap: New Mexico 82, UT Arlington 80 Lobos go to 2-1 with buzzer beater over Mavericks. Contact/Follow @HardwoodTalk & @MWCwire Donovan Dent gives fans a coast-to-coast buzzer beater in 82-80 win over Arlington. ALBUQUERQUE, NM-The Lobos …

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 Game Recap: New Mexico 82, UT Arlington 80

Lobos go to 2-1 with buzzer beater over Mavericks.

Contact/Follow @HardwoodTalk & @MWCwire

Donovan Dent gives fans a coast-to-coast buzzer beater in 82-80 win over Arlington.

ALBUQUERQUE, NM–The Lobos returned home to the Pit Thursday night to regain their winning ways after falling top Saint Mary’s on the road last week in Moraga, CA. The test, an underrated and undefeated UT Arlington Mavericks team. Who boasted length and shooting ability coming to Albuquerque on Thursday night.

Both squads had plenty of rust to shake off from long breaks, as the Lobos went 2-8 from the field in the first five minutes of play. They took their first lead of the game with two Jemarl Baker Jr. free throws, but it was a dog fight the rest of the way. With little success from beyond the arc (3-10) and plenty of fouls (11 UTA fouls, 7 UNM fouls), they had to battle it out.

Offensive creativity was still a problem for the Lobos in the first half, as they headed into the locker rooms with just 5 assists. But these types of things can be overlooked when your protecting the ball at an elite level with just 1 turnover in the first twenty minutes of play.

Also of note was the complete takeover of the game by UNM’s backcourt, as Jamal Mashburn Jr. (22 points) and Donovan Dent (16 points) combined for 38 of the Lobos first 48 first half points. The freshman was able to take a frustrating first ten minutes or so of tough contested drives with no foul calls  and turn it into an offensive display in the final ten minutes. Mashburn Jr. made his money from all over the floor, mid-range jumpers, three points & free throw opportunities.

The Mavericks came out swinging in the second-half, shrinking the Lobos double-digit lead to as little as five points in the first five minutes out of half-time. Similar to the first-half the Lobos were taking highly contested shots and creating contact with no benefits to prove for it.

A run of scoring that gave the Lobos their double-digit lead back under the 10-minute mark was consistently chopped at by UT Arlington. As the Mavericks made it a one point game with under 30 seconds to play inside to nearly silence fans inside the Pit. But a clutch defensive effort by Baker on former SEC guard DeJuan Gordon with 15 seconds to play gave the Lobos back possession and a double bonus free throw opportunity.

The sigh of relief was short lived, as a clutch corner three-pointer from UTA freshman Makaih Williams tied things up at 80-80 to send it into overtime.

Things seemed destined for overtime but the Lobos’ superb sophomore guard Donovan Dent had his eyes on the prize.

When asked about how he felt regarding the opponent’s three point shot to tie things up in the closing seconds. He responded with “Pretty mad because it was over me, he hit a tough one but they gave the ball and I just ran with it.”

Indeed he ran with it, ran right to the basket for the game winner.

After the game he had this to say had this to say, cool calm and collected.

“You dream of it as a kid, hitting game winners in college.”

As Dent said, it’s something every kid dreams of, Lobo fans too. And with that buzzer beater, New Mexico has all of the winning momentum needed for their three-game road trip next week.

Player Spotlights

New Mexico G-Donovan Dent

Stat line: 25 points, 5 assists, 22 steals on 11-18 from the floor in 34 minutes

The super sophomore just keeps adding to his legend in Albuquerque with not only a great offensive performance but the winning buzzer beater to give his team the W.

UT Arlington: F-Shemar Wilson

Stat line: 29 points, 11 rebounds, 2 blocks on 11-13 from the floor & 7-9 from the FT line in 34 minutes

Wilson played big down low for the Mavericks Thursday night. As his fellow UTA stars were relatively quiet until the second-half. He also owned the glass when it came to offensive rebounds and second chance tip ins as a big reason his team stayed in this one in order to take it down to the wire.

Five Takeaways

  • This team really needed a win helped by improved team chemistry. The Lobos have looked out of sync in their first two games of the season and even though the assist totals weren’t there, the lack of turnovers and obvious offensive rhythm found in the first half was a sight for sore eyes.
  • Donovan Dent continues to embrace his new role as Mashburn Jr.’s scoring No. 2 and Pitino’s new floor general. His confidence is showing but his go to move of driving to the lane, drawing contact and heading to the charity stripe only yielded three FT attempts all game. He needs to learn to finish most of those opportunities to truly elevate his game to all-conference status.
  • Mashburn Jr. separated himself as the best player on the court with a beautiful 22-point performance in just the first half. Scoring from all three levels, giving his team the offensive scoring power it needed to head into half time with a double-digit lead they never gave up.
  • The Lobo freshman continue to impress and contribute, mainly JT Toppin in this one. As the 6-9 forward was responsible for numerous house awakening dunks in the first half, to give him 15 points and 11 boards to end the night. Tru Washington also came off of the bench to provide a small offensive spark when needed and defensive stops.
  • New Mexico’s interior defense and defensive rebounding needs work. The Lobos gave up over 20 points to UTA’s Shemar Wilson. Who made his 30 piece by way of second chance points & tip ins around the basket. Going into conference play there are some interior heavy hitters in the Mountain West, they need to address this before it costs them seeding in March.

Next Up:

The Lobos will take their winning momentum on the road next week as they make a trip to Henderson, NV to take part in this year’s Ball Dawg Classic. Their first game of that multi-team event will be against MAC title contenders Toledo on Tuesday November 21st.

New Mexico’s matchup against the Rockets is set to tip-off at 9:15 PM MT. If you wish do so, you can view the stream behind a paywall at FloHoops here ($).

Larry Muniz covers college basketball as a writer for Mountain West Wire and WAC Hoops Digest. Also as a co-host of the college basketball podcast “Hoops Talk W/Jay & Larry”. He is also a USWBA Member.

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New Mexico vs. UT Arlington: Preview, How To Stream, Odds & More

After a road loss to top-25 ranked Saint Mary’s, Richard Pitino’s Lobos return to the Pit and host undefeated UT Arlington.

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New Mexico vs. UT Arlington: Preview

The Lobos look to bounce back at home against the Mavericks.

Contact/Follow @HardwoodTalk & @MWCwire

Richard Pitino’s Lobos return to the Pit and host undefeated UT Arlington.

WHO: New Mexico (1-1, 0-0 in the MWC) vs. UT Arlington (2-0, 0-0 in the SWAC)

WHEN: Thursday, November 16th, 7:00 PM MT, 8:00 PM CT

WHERE: University Arena aka “The Pit”, Albuquerque, NM

STREAM: Mountain West Network

Line: KenPom, The Lobos are favored by 16 Points

College basketball is both beautiful and heartbreaking, take the starts of the last two seasons New Mexico has had for example. Flashback just one year ago and the Lobos were about to embark on a 16-game winning streak as the nation’s last remaining undefeated team.

One year later and the Lobos fell on the road to one of the best mid-major teams in the entire country in the second game of the season. A game likely to be their biggest game of the non-conference season. Tis the nature of college basketball, or sports in general really. They make you feel great when it’s great and crumby when it’s crumby.

But a bad week, game or skid never means all hope is lost. Especially not in the second week in November. So cheer up folks, the story isn’t over, there is still plenty of college basketball to watch in Albuquerque. With the next chapter taking place Thursday the 16th inside the Pit against the UT Arlington Mavericks.

Losing to a top-25 ranked St. Mary’s team hurts the resume no doubt. But it appeared as though New Mexico just wasn’t prepared to take on a team of this caliber or consistency.

The Gaels have been coached by the same coach (Randy Bennett) for over twenty-years and haven’t experienced a sub .500 season since they hired Bennett. The program is an outlier in all levels of college basketball and that consistency/winning cultured showed.

New Mexico on the other hand looked like a team with five returning players who saw action last season, including two starters. Sometimes putting a near entirely new roster together, no matter how talented can be tricky. Throw in unexpected injuries to key players like Jaelen House and Isaac Mushila and your non-conference slate may come with growing pains.

Thursday night the Lobos are hoping to put some of those growing pains in their rear view. When they host undefeated UT Arlington and their first year head coach with an impressive resume as a longtime Assistant Coach in the industry.

UT Arlington Breakdown

The Mavericks are on a path of resurgence with first year Head Coach KT Turner at the helm in Arlington. Turner comes from several of college basketball royalties coaching trees. Having spent time on the staffs of Larry Brown, Shaka Smart, Porter Moser & John Calipari, Turner has picked up a thing or two over the past decade or so.

His hiring by UT Arlington this offseason seemed like a home run for a Mavericks program who hasn’t been to an NCAA Tournament or had a 20-win season since the departure of Scott Cross back in 2018. Turner amassed an impressive recruiting class to go along with several returning contributors from last season.

His gem of that class though Phillip Russell, a high scoring point guard who led his SEMO team to their first big dance since 2000 has been ruled ineligible for the entire season. With his move to UT Arlington being his third as an undergrad.

The Mavericks are instead led by former New Mexico State Aggie DaJuan Gordon and NAIA transfer Akili Vining. With plenty of role players ready to step up if either of those players are having a tough night offensively.

Players to Watch:

G Donovan Dent-New Mexico

After glimpses of talent as a freshman behind one of the best backcourt duos in the nation last year, offseason praise was high for Dent in year two. Lobo fans knew they were looking at their point guard of the future, most would have never guessed the future was week one of his sophomore year.

To his credit he has adapted, averaging team highs in points (13.5 PPG), assists (5.5 APG) & steals (2.0 SPG) as coach Pitino’s point guard. UT Arlington is another perfect test for the young floor general, a chance for him to develop his scoring and playmaking skills. Both will be needed this season if Jaelen House’s injury becomes an issue.

G DaJuan Gordon-UT Arlington

Gordon would have been a familiar face for Lobo fans as he was apart of the New Mexico State men’s basketball team last season. Folks never got to see the former SEC transfer grace the hardwood of the Pit last season, due to an off the court incident that saw the state’s most hyped hoops rivalry canceled and nearly suspended indefinitely.

Now, fans inside the Pit will get their chance to watch the 6-5 195 graduate transfer who is leading his team in nearly all categories, 19.0 PPG, 12.5 RPG & 3.0 SPG in two contests.

A breakout game for Gordon could propel UT Arlington to the upset, coach Pitino needs to find the right defensive matchup to make sure that doesn’t happen.

Keys to the Game

For New Mexico: Halt 3-point shooting, Maximize their own 3-point shooting & Own the glass

One thing New Mexico has to do on Thursday night is crash the boards. The Mavericks boast a long and athletic starting five, one that is averaging 51.5 RPG (9th nationally). Yes it’s early in the season to be looking at averages, but the statistic on a box score is impressive nonetheless.

UT Arlington may have a great rebounding core but in the first two games of their season they’ve made plenty of their money from beyond the arc. The Lobos will have to defend the perimeter while knocking down their own shots on the other end help create separation from a quality Mavericks squad.

Prediction: New Mexico 85, UT Arlington 72

If the Lobos can receive a variety of scoring from their still gelling roster, winning should be a breeze. Yes, there will be high major length and athleticism on the opposing squad but the Lobos deep roster should be the prevailing factor for a double-digit win.

Larry Muniz covers college basketball as a writer for Mountain West Wire and WAC Hoops Digest. Also as a co-host of the college basketball podcast “Hoops Talk W/Jay & Larry”. He is also a USWBA Member.

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New Mexico vs. St. Mary’s: Preview, Odds, How To Stream

New Mexico vs. St. Mary’s: Preview, Odds, How To Stream Lobos getting an early test against the Gaels Follow @MWCwire Can UNM upset a ranked team? WHO: New Mexico (1-0) vs. St Mary’s (1-0) WHEN: Monday, November 9thth, 8:00 PM MT, 10 PM ET WHERE: …

New Mexico vs. St. Mary’s: Preview, Odds, How To Stream

Lobos getting an early test against the Gaels

Follow @MWCwire

Can UNM upset a ranked team?

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WHO: New Mexico (1-0) vs. St Mary’s (1-0)

WHEN: Monday, November 9thth, 8:00 PM MT, 10 PM ET

WHERE: University Credit Union Pavilion in Moraga, CA


Betting Odds: St. Mary’s Gaels -5.5 — Over/Under: 143.5

On Thursday night, the New Mexico Lobos will face the Saint Mary’s Gaels in a non-conference matchup at the University Credit Union Pavilion in Moraga, California. 

Can New Mexico achieve a repeat performance? The Lobos are set to take on the challenge on Thursday night in Moraga, California, as they face off against the No. 23 ranked Saint Mary’s in a non-conference matchup.

Expect an exciting matchup tonight as both teams rank among the nation’s top mid-major squads as Richard Pitinos Lobos battle the St Mary’s Gaels on their home turf. 

Saint Mary’s has secured NCAA tournament berths for the past two seasons and is poised for a third appearance.

In the preseason, the Gaels are favored to capture the West Coast Conference title, even ahead of perennial national powerhouse Gonzaga, so this will be a great road test for the Lobos. 

Aidan Mahaney is back at point guard; the Gaels have an excellent floor leader who can make their offense execute. Coach Randy Bennett has made the Sweet 16 before. 

Tournament This is a terrific showcase game in the first week of the 2023-2024 college hoops season between the Lobos and the Gaels so early in the season. 

New Mexico is a dark horse contender in the competitive Mountain West and could earn a spot in the national tournament if they continue their strong performance.

This marks the second consecutive season that New Mexico (1-0) has traveled to Northern California. 

Last year, they had a successful journey, ending the Gaels’ 23-game home winning streak with a 69-65 victory. 

This win was a part of their impressive 14-0 start that briefly earned New Mexico a spot in the Top 25 rankings.

New Mexico started their season with a dominant win against Texas Southern, while Saint Mary’s also cruised to victory against a non-Division 1 opponent.

New Mexico had an impressive start to the season, defeating Texas Southern 92-55 at the PIT in Albuquerque. 

The Lobos boast an exceptional offense, led by the dynamic duo of Jamal Mashburn Jr. and Jaelen House, This pair forms one of the most formidable scoring combinations in the nation. 

Donovan Dent (Mr. California in his senior season 2022) has looked very impressive in what games the Lobos have played up to this point, and should really help strengthen this Richard Pitino team this season.

Notably, New Mexico’s offense outperformed Saint Mary’s defense in their previous encounter in Moraga last season, resulting in a Lobos victory.

Given their past success on SMC’s home court, there’s every reason to believe that this season’s team can replicate that feat. The 

Lobos approach this game with a high level of confidence, knowing they have the capability to defeat this opponent in this setting, as they have already proven.

In the first game against Texas Southern, they led by 17 points at halftime and continued their strong performance in the second half, shooting 44.8% from the field, 43.5% from beyond the arc, and 81.5% from the free-throw line.

The Lobos outrebounded Texas Southern 53-37, recorded 20 assists, and committed only nine turnovers. Jamal Mashburn Jr. led the team with 15 points and five assists. Defensively, New Mexico limited Texas Southern to 29.4% shooting.

On the other hand, Saint Mary’s had a dominating performance in their season opener, defeating Stanislaus State 107-28. 

They maintained their offensive firepower throughout the game, shooting 56.5% from the field and 33.3% from three-point range.

The Gaels also excelled at the free-throw line, hitting 75.9% of their attempts. Mason Forbes led the team with 19 points and seven rebounds. 

Saint Mary’s stifling defense held their opponent to just 15.5% shooting and forced 17 turnovers.

Pitino, in his presser, remarked: “We’ve got decision makers at all five positions,” Pitino said. “That’s the key to ball movement is trusting that if you reverse it, somebody may have an open shot or if somebody’s overplaying (on defense), you can back cut. Spacing has been great.”

“We worked almost all summer and fall and really no ball screens, all just ball movement — hitting the, we call them the ‘zoom’ or the ‘5’ man and cutting off of that. I think that’s really helped as well, where last year it was a low number of assists. Hopefully, this year, we’ll be way more balanced.”

While this game may be getting little attention, it promises to be an exciting matchup between two mid-major solid programs.

New Mexico showcased their strength against Texas Southern, while Saint Mary’s had a relatively easy first opponent. 

The Gaels ranked in the Top 25 have the advantage of playing at home, but New Mexico is a competitive and good road team.

If this game were on neutral ground or in New Mexico, the Lobos would have a good chance of winning, but facing Saint Mary’s on the road presents a more formidable challenge.

With a 1-0 record, New Mexico has been efficient on offense, shooting 43.5% from three-point range and 81.5% from the free-throw line. They average 92.0 points per game and excel at rebounding.

Defensively, they force turnovers and limit opponents’ shooting percentages.

Saint Mary’s also boasts a 1-0 record and an impressive offensive performance, shooting 56.5% from the field.

They are known for their strong defense, forcing turnovers, and holding opponents to low shooting percentages. 

The Gaels are a formidable opponent in this matchup with their solid all-around game.

Saint Mary’s has been ranked in the top 100 of defensive efficiency each of the past five seasons, and the Lobos have a pair of the best backcourt guards in the west with Jamal Mashburn Jr and Jaelen House.

This game is an excellent test for both teams and should be fun to watch and see how they compete with a few additions for the Lobos and a very well-coached St Mary’s team looking for revenge for last year’s loss to the Lobos. 

From a fan’s perspective, you really couldn’t ask for a better game so early in the season. 

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San Diego State vs. Brigham Young University: Preview, How To Stream, Odds & More

SDSU travels to Provo to take on a red hot BYU team. WHO: San Diego State (1-0, 0-0 in the MWC) vs. Brigham Young Univerity (1-0, 0-0 in the Big 12) WHEN: Friday, November 10th, 6:00 PT WHERE: J Willard Marriot Center, Provo UT STREAM: ESPN+ Line: …

SDSU travels to Provo to take on a red hot BYU team.

WHO: San Diego State (1-0, 0-0 in the MWC) vs. Brigham Young Univerity (1-0, 0-0 in the Big 12)

WHEN: Friday, November 10th, 6:00 PT

WHERE: J Willard Marriot Center, Provo UT


Line: KenPom, BYU is favored by 2.

One of the best early games of the season, SDSU travels to Provo to take new Big 12 member BYU. The Aztecs won the matchup in Viejas last season, but they are 4-30 all time playing in Provo, so the odds are stacked against them. Fresh off a run to the national championship game, the Aztecs are going to get everyone’s best shot every night.

San Diego State is feeling pretty good though after beating Cal State Fullerton 83-57 despite not shooting the ball well. The Aztecs took 32 shots behind the arc and only made 9 (29%), but still managed to put up 83 points and win by 26.

The big story was center Jaedon LeDee recording a career high 27 points and 10 rebounds in the victory. Lamont Butler, famous for hitting the shot that sent SDSU to the championship, had a slow scoring night but tied a career high with 7 assists, and played his typical lockdown defense. He allowed only 5 points in 17 possessions as the primary defender.

The Aztec offense looked much different through one game. Gone are the days of last year where they played two bigs in the post each possession. This year they are spreading the floor, whipping the ball around, and finding good shots.

The return of Darrion Trammell will be worth watching. The southern regional MVP has missed most of training camp and the first game with a shoulder injury, but seems ready to play against BYU. Will he be rusty, or step right back into form. The Aztecs are hoping for the latter.

In order to win they’ll need to continue to play their trademark defense, as well as continue this new style of play offensively. BYU has great talent but they lack a player who can match LeDee’s size and physicality inside. LeDee scored 23 against BYU last season and will look to do that again Friday night.

They also can’t let BYU turn the game into a track meet. Both teams played really fast in their first games, but playing in transition favors BYU at home and at elevation. The Aztecs will need to slow the game down.

Texas Southern Breakdown

BYU absolutely destroyed the first opponent Houston Christian. They won 110-63 behind a barrage of 3-pointers.

Spencer Johnson has diversified his game and become more than a 3&D player. The return of Trevin Knell helps out BYU immensely with his ability to stretch the floor. Fousseyni Traore lacks height but is strong inside the paint, and his wingspan helps makeup for being shorter than most of his matchups.

BYU has arguably the best roster they’ve had under coach Mark Pope. The were picked to finish 13th in the big 12, but he’s hoping to use the 3-point shot as an equalizer, so expect the 3-point barrage to continue.

BYU should look to turn this game into a track meet. The more they run, the more they get to use their superior depth and better acclimated bodies against the Aztecs.

They also need to hit their 3-point shots. They got away with shooting 35% from deep against Houston Christian, but Houston Christian is one of the worst teams in college basketball, with arguably the worst defense in division 1. SDSU has had a top 10 defense 3 of the last 4 years, so their won’t be many east looks at the rim. If the 3-point shot is going to be an equalizer in the Big 12, tonight is the night to show that.

Players to Watch:

Jaedon LeDee– San Diego State

At 6’9” 240, LeDee is a physical presence done low. He’s also shown the ability early this season to grab a rebound and go coast to coast with it, run pick and rolls, hit skip passes, and has flashed 3-point range. It’s questionable whether BYU has any one player who can guard LeDee one on one. The Aztecs will need another stellar performance from LeDee to pull off the win.

Spencer Johnson– BYU

Johnson, the oldest player in Division 1, is also one of the best shooters in the nation. He scored 17 points against SDSU last season. His abilities are key to BYU’s strategy of stretching the floor and shooting from deep. He also looks improved early this season and seems to be a more complete player, which only makes him more dangerous.

Prediction: BYU 72, SDSU 70

This should be a close and exciting game. Don’t be surprised if Jaedon Ledee scores 20+ again, but ultimately BYU pulls it out at home behind big efforts from Johnson and Knell.

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New Mexico Cruises Past Texas Southern For Opening Night Win

New Mexico Cruises Past Texas Southern For Opening Night Win Lobos get an easy one, 92-55 @MWCwire 1-0 feels good On Monday night, the New Mexico men’s basketball team kicked off the 2023-24 season in style, securing a commanding 92-55 victory …

New Mexico Cruises Past Texas Southern For Opening Night Win

Lobos get an easy one, 92-55


1-0 feels good

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On Monday night, the New Mexico men’s basketball team kicked off the 2023-24 season in style, securing a commanding 92-55 victory against the highly regarded Texas Southern, preseason favorites in the SWAC. 

The Lobos asserted their dominance midway through the first half, marking their most substantial season-opening triumph against a Division I opponent since the 2011-12 season.

Eleven different Lobos contributed to the scoring on this memorable night, with each player chipping in at least four points. 

Jamal Mashburn, Jr. led the charge, which notched a game-high 15 points. Donovan Dent also made a significant impact with 12 points. 

At the same time, Braden Appelhans and JT Toppin, coming off the bench, added 11 points each. Toppin, making his collegiate debut, further showcased his versatility by securing a game-high nine rebounds.

Despite facing some challenges, including missing key veteran players during preseason practice, the Lobos showcased their potential in a dominating 92-55 victory over Texas Southern.

With a roster of 12 players, 11 of them contributed points, highlighting the team’s depth. The Lobos adopted an aggressive defensive approach, employing full-court pressure that stifled Texas Southern. 

Coach Richard Pitino commended his team’s relentless effort and emphasized the significance of their depth in executing this style of play. He expressed confidence in the support of the passionate fan base at The Pit and suggested that the team’s performance would significantly improve compared to the previous season.

“It was a great win, and we played really, really hard. The effort was terrific. To play that many guys and not let up was great. You can play that style of play when you have that type of depth. If we are playing that hard, with these fans, I’d be surprised if we lost as many games here as we did last year. This fanbase is so good and they fuel our guys. We passed the ball great, 20 assists was terrific. We defended and we rebounded and that was what we talked about needing to do.” 

Texas Southern, a team with a history of NCAA tournament appearances and high expectations for the season, struggled to find their rhythm. 

Their shooting percentages were dismal, with a 29.4% field goal rate and 20.8% from beyond the arc. Even their free-throw shooting faltered at 52.6%. The Lobos’ defensive prowess extended to preventing successful free throws.

While several Lobos posted double-figure scoring, Jamal Mashburn Jr. stood out with 15 points, five assists, and zero turnovers.

 He stressed the importance of the team’s collective defensive effort and strong rebounding, contributing to their success. UNM outrebounded TSU 53-37, showcasing their dominance in this game aspect.

“I think this game was a good testament to show what we can do together when we’re all locked in together on the defensive end,” Mashburn said. “And rebounding, too. (UNM outrebounded TSU 53-37). We rebounded really good today. So, if we can keep up in those categories, we’ll be right where we want to be.”

The Lobos showcased their depth throughout the game, regularly rotating fresh players onto the court. Coach Pitino implemented a full-court press, a strategy rarely used the previous season. With their defensive intensity, the Lobos closed the first half on a 9-2 run, limiting TSU to just 9.1% shooting in that stretch.

In the second half, the Lobos continued to build on their lead, eventually extending it to 30 points. Starting alongside Mashburn and senior Jaelen House, Donovan Dent contributed with timely 3-pointers. The Lobos maintained their defensive intensity, ensuring that TSU couldn’t mount a comeback.

Despite a late 7-point scoring run by TSU, the Lobos secured an impressive 37-point victory, marking their largest margin of victory against a Division I team during the Pitino era. Coach Pitino attributed their defensive improvement to their depth and unwavering effort on the court.

The Lobos’ strong start to the season bodes well for their future, and their commitment to defense and team play has fans excited for what’s to come.

New Mexico will make its first road trip of the season, visiting No. 23 Saint Mary’s on Thursday. Game time is 8:00 p.m. MT (7:00 p.m. PT), and the game will air on ESPN+. It is the second straight season the Lobos have traveled to Moraga, having won 69-65 last season to snap the Gaels’ school-record 23-game home win streak.


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New Mexico vs. Texas Southern: Preview, How To Stream, Odds & More

New Mexico vs. Texas Southern: Preview Mountain West title challengers New Mexico face SWAC title favorites Texas Southern. Contact/Follow @HardwoodTalk & @MWCwire Richard Pitino’s Lobos enter season opener with plenty of hype, their first test of …

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New Mexico vs. Texas Southern: Preview

Mountain West title challengers New Mexico face SWAC title favorites Texas Southern.

Contact/Follow @HardwoodTalk & @MWCwire

Richard Pitino’s Lobos enter season opener with plenty of hype, their first test of the season is repeat visitor to the big dance Texas Southern.

WHO: New Mexico (0-0, 0-0 in the MWC) vs. Texas Southern (0-0, 0-0 in the SWAC)

WHEN: Monday, November 6th, 7:30 PM MT, 8:30 PM CT

WHERE: University Arena aka “The Pit”, Albuquerque, NM

STREAM: Mountain West Network

Line: KenPom, The Lobos are favored by 16 Points

The excitement has returned to New Mexico basketball and in turn the city of Albuquerque. Lobo basketball is the main show in town and when the program is good, the Pit crowd shows out. Just look at last season’s expedited turnaround which saw a 14-0 start to the season as the nation’s last remaining undefeated team. Not to mention the program’s return to the AP Top-25 for the first time in nearly a decade. This brought 228,000 fans to the historic Pit in 2022-2023, including five games with over 15,000 fans in attendance.

All of this led to head coach Richard Pitino receiving a contract extension that gave him an annual pay bump ($1.1 million next season) and locked in his job as the Lobos’ lead man until 2027-2028.

The third year head coach turned the New Mexico program into a competitive force again in an ever-growing competitive Mountain West Conference. And according to the head man, maybe a bit ahead of schedule given the coaches lackluster first season in Albuquerque in which he went 13-19 (5-12 in MWC, 9th place finish).

Though along with the hype that has returned to New Mexico, so has has the expectations. Both are high, sky high in fact after a successful offseason that saw the Lobos go shopping in the transfer portal. They emerged with quality commitments from Nelly Junior-Joseph (Iona), Jemarl Baker Jr. (Fresno State), Mustapha Amzil (Dayton), Isaac Mushila (Texas A&M-Corpus Christi) and Deraji Agbaosi (North Alabama).

To match a revamped roster Coach Pitino released the team’s non-conference schedule back on October 3rd. A tad late because of the difficulty he encountered when attempting to build an attractive non-conference schedule. At least as far as the NCAA Tournament selection committee is concerned.

The 2023-2024 schedule could be considered both a win & loss in that regard. With big brand high majors lacking but several quality games against teams favored to win their conferences locked in. And Monday’s season opener at home against predicted SWAC favorites Texas Southern is a perfect example of this.

The Tigers may be the perfect test for what could be a short staffed Lobo squad. With star guard Jaelen House and impact transfers Jemarl Baker Jr. and Isaac Mushila absence from their team’s two exhibition wins and still question marks for the season opener. Texas Southern will be a quality opponent for some younger Lobos to get their feet wet against a D-I tournament team, here’s why.

Texas Southern Breakdown

The Tigers are coming off of their 3rd straight NCAA Tournament appearance after an 84-61 loss to eventual tourney darlings Fairleigh Dickinson in the East Region’s first four. That marks trips to the big dance in three out of the five seasons former Nevada Wolf Pack associate head coach Johnny Jones has been in charge of the program.

This is the appeal of the Tigers program, not a 100% guarantee to run the table of the SWAC (14-21, 7-11 8th last season). But a culture in a program that gives opportunity go dancing nearly every season. And for some of the regions most sought after transfers, that was enough to join the team for a chance to do it all again this season.

Aside from losing their leading scorer Davon Barnes to northern neighbor Sam Houston State, Texas Southern were big time winners in the transfer portal. Securing commits from backcourt members Johnathan Cisse (Incarnate Word), Deon Stroud (Fresno State/Eastern Washington) and big men Josh Farmer (UTSA), Kenny Hunter (Louisiana Tech) & Jahmar Young Jr. (SMU). This mix of battle hardened returners and a quality transfer class should be a tougher than expected first game of the season.

Players to Watch:

G Donovan Dent-New Mexico

As of media availability last week, starting point guard Jaelen House could miss the Lobos’ season opener against the Texas Southern Tigers on Monday night. But worry not, as this may be the perfect opportunity to witness returning sophomore floor general Donovan Dent in what many expect to be his future role in the starting lineup a year early.

The 6-2 point guard was one of the more exciting and developed freshman to dawn the cherry and silver in several years. Dent displayed an advanced ability to attack the rim in his first year in college basketball. Which led to season averages of 5.6 PPG, 2.3 APG, 2.0 RPG & 0.9 SPG in 18.5 mpg as the first man off of the bench. He’s taken on a bigger role in House’s absence , averaging 24.5 PPG, 5.0 APG & 2.5 SPG in New Mexico’s two exhibition wins.

G PJ Henry-Texas Southern

Henry is the SWAC Preseason Player of the Year after help lead his squad to a conference tournament championship as the 8th seed. Including two wins against co-regular season champions Alcorn St. & Grambling, and posting 18.7 points a game while shooting 40.7% from deep in three wins.

Coach Jones will lean on him heavily to lead this still youthful and newly put together title contender. Henry showed he was cable to just that last season. After missing the first six games of the Tigers’ SWAC slate he returned and aided in the team’s run to a conference title. The pieces are in place for Henry to elevate his game and better elevate those around him, a matchup against sophomore Donovan Dent

Keys to the Game

For New Mexico: Halt 3-point shooting, Maximize their own 3-point shooting & Stay out of foul trouble

The Tigers made most of their money inside the arc last season, with a long history of impact players in the front court. This season should be no different with the additions of Farmer, Hunter & Young. The Lobos will need to stay out of foul trouble as Texas Southern attempted twenty free throws a game last season, good enough for 69th in the country.

Now this strength balanced out a near non-existent game beyond the arc (27.7%). But, that is where Jonathan Cisse comes in. The 6-1 combo guard averaged 16.0 PPG last season at Incarnate Word and his 40.9% on 137 3-PT attempts is a big reason why. He’ll give the Tigers a more balanced attack from the perimeter.

An attack New Mexico will need to defend the perimeter as they might not have the depth or experience to properly defend the post. While also knocking down their own attempts if their frontcourt still hasn’t found their footing yet on opening night.

Prediction: New Mexico 80, Texas Southern 72

If the Lobos have a full healthy roster on Monday night, I can see the 16-point KenPom prediction holding true. But that’s likely not going to be the case and we can’t forget transfer big man Nelly Junior-Joseph’s still getting adjusted to a late start after visa delays all offseason.

Given what we have seen in recent lineups, I think New Mexico will put a competitive team on the floor regardless of injuries. I think they’ll secure the win but may be in for a bigger fight than anticipated.

Larry Muniz covers college basketball as a writer for Mountain West Wire and WAC Hoops Digest. Also as a co-host of the college basketball podcast “Hoops Talk W/Jay & Larry”. He is also a USWBA Member.

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Best Mountain West Basketball Players for ’23-’24 Season

Basketball is coming. A new season is upon us. In a manner of weeks we’ll be watching games live and criticizing all the errors in the various preseason lists and polls that were released. With that in mind I present the best players in the …

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Basketball is coming. A new season is upon us. In a manner of weeks we’ll be watching games live and criticizing all the errors in the various preseason lists and polls that were released. With that in mind I present the best players in the conference for the upcoming season.

Note: I reference a “composite metric” multiple times in the article. It refers to a metric I track that combines three different player metrics and combines them into one number. The metrics are PIPM, BPR, and POE. Check here to see what it looks like.

1. Jaelen house, New Mexico – 16.9 pts, 3.9 rebs, 4.7 asts.

House is coming off a dominant season. He was the second best player in the conference last season according to the composite metric. He finished 7th in the conference in scoring, 5th in assists, and led the league in steals for the second season in a row on his way to a second team all conference selection. He has a great combination of skill and athleticism that help him excel in almost any situation. He is arguably the quickest player in the conference, he can score from anywhere on the court, and is super disruptive defensively. He went into Viejas and owned the future national title runner up Aztecs last season. If the Lobos can get 12+ wins in conference he’ll be among the favorites for POY. 

2. Tyson degenhart, Boise St. – 14.1 pts, 5.3 rebs, 1.8 asts.

Degenhart spent most of last season playing as an undersized center, and despite playing out of position he still excelled, as evidenced by the media voting him as the conference Player of the Year. The hope is the addition of Cam Martin will allow Degenhart to play a more natural power forward spot, which should help him dominate even more. He finished 3rd in the composite metric, so dominating more will be a tall task, but if his efficiency from behind the arc and at the charity stripe return then he’ll be causing mismatches all over the court. Since his freshman season he’s been one of the best players in the conference, and now it’s truly his team. He has a tall task but his skill set will allow him to put Boise St in position to once again make the tournament, and potentially even win a game or two.

3. Jaedon LeDee, SDSU – 7.9 pts, 5.3 rebs, 0.9 asts.

Jaedon LeDee is going to surprise some people this season. He transferred to SDSU to showcase his offensive versatility, but wasn’t given many chances last season. This season he’ll be a starter and will push for the team lead in scoring. He was highly efficient in the post but also showed flashes as a mid range shooter as well as ball handler. He’s been working on his ball handling and 3-point shooting all off-season. SDSU’s roster has potential for more floor spacing this season, and if LeDee gets it he will destroy opponents inside with his big body and physical play. 

4. Isaiah Stevens, Colorado St. – 17.9 pts, 3.4 rebs, 6.7 asts.

Any offense run by Isaiah Stevens is going to be solid. The worst offense Colorado St has had since Stevens got there has been 83rd. Still better than ~75% of all D-1 teams. And surprisingly, it wasn’t last year when the Rams had to replace David Roddy. He’s coming off a year where he was 1st team all conference, 3rd in the conference in points, and first in assists, and did all that despite being hobbled by injury. He’s also among the career leaders in assist percentage in Mountain West history, and on pace to finish first in all time assists and second in all time scoring in the conference. He does everything a point guard should do offensively. He’s a three level scorer, a fantastic setup man, and he makes the players around him better. He finished 6th last season in the composite metric, and with a full season and health he can improve on that mark. Jaelen House and Lamont Butler will get a lot of hype this season, but Stevens is arguably the best pure point guard in the conference.

5. Lamont Butler, SDSU – 8.8 pts, 2.7 rebs, 3.2 asts.

Lamont Butler is getting a lot of hype after his performance in the tournament. He scored 18 points in the Elite 8 game against Creighton, and is the only player to hit a buzzer beater in the a Final Four while his team was trailing. He’ll be looking to build off of that momentum. Despite the accolades though, his largest impact has been defensively, where he hounds ball handlers and disrupts the opponents offense. The reigning DPOY plays physical and few opposing guards excel when he guards them. If his offense reaches the level of his defense he has all-American potential as a two way guard. If he doesn’t improve at all he’ll still be one of the best players in the conference. 

6. Jarod Lucas, Nevada – 17 pts, 2.6 rebs, 1.4 asts.

Lucas is one of the best and most efficient scorers in the conference. He finished 5th in points and 6th in eFG% en route to a second team all conference season. He shoots the ball standing still, or coming off of screens, or off the dribble, and excels at all of them. That makes him a premier weapon in the modern game. Hes not great at defense, or rebounding, or much of anything else, but he more than makes up for that with his scoring and floor spacing ability. So much so that he finished fourth last season in the composite metric, despite his lack of versatility.

7. Nelly Junior Joseph, New Mexico – 14.9 pts, 9.3 rebs, 1.1 asts

The heir to Udeze, Junior Joseph brings a similar bruising style in an even bigger frame. A transfer from Iona, he should instantly compete for the title of “best center” in the conference. He excels at establishing deep position in the paint, and has a couple of moves and counter moves he can use to shake his defenders. Once he does he can finish with either hand at the rim. His physical play style leads to him drawing a lot of fouls, which will serve the Lobos well. He is also one of the best rebounders in the country, and is a good defender as well, which is something the Lobos missed at times last season.

8. Kenan Blackshear, Nevada – 14.1 pts, 4 rebs, 4.6 asts

Blackshear’s main strength is his passing, as he finished 4th in assists per game last season. Standing at 6’6” he can see over the defense and find the open man, and it helps that the open man is often Jarod Lucas. He is also a great defender and uses his size and athleticism well to disrupt opponents. He scores a healthy amount, although his efficiency could be better. His main role though is to set up his teammates and play defense, which led to a second-team all-conference and all-conference all defensive team awards last season. He finished 12th in the composite metric last season, and that figures to improve as he continues to build confidence in his role as a point guard. 

9. Kalib Boone, UNLV – 10.6 pts, 4.9 rebs, 1.0 asts

Boone transferred to UNLV after being a 3rd team all Big 12 selection in 22-23. He should have no trouble translating to the Mountain West after playing in the Big 12 and may even see his numbers go up. He is arguably the best transfer UNLV brought in in a stacked transfer class. He will anchor the defense as a great rim protector, and offensively he excels at finishing through contact as well as fighting for offensive boards. He has had some legal troubles recently, but his talent on the court in undeniable. As long as he can stay on it he should help UNLV win some games this season.

10. Jamaal Mashburn, New Mexico – 19.1 pts, 3.2 rebs, 2.1 asts

Mashburn is coming off a season where he earned 1st team all conference honors after leading the league in scoring. His defense was a negative once again, but not enough of a negative to erase his offensive contributions. He has arguably the best mid range jumper in the nation, and has the ball handling skills to get to his spots. He finished 11th last season in the composite metric and should improve this season as he attempts to lead New Mexico to its first tournament berth since 2014. 

New Mexico Basketball: Lobos Continue to Build 2024 Recruiting Class with Local Addition

New Mexico Head Coach Richard Pitino secures the commitment of local product Dylan Chavez for 2024 class.

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New Mexico Basketball: Lobos Continue to Build 2024 Recruiting Class with Local Addition

New Mexico Lobos receive commitment from local talent Dylan Chavez

Contact/Follow @HardwoodTalk & @MWCwire

Richard Pitino secures the commitment of local product Dylan Chavez for 2024 class.

The New Mexico Lobos are gearing up for year three of the Richard Pitino era in Albuquerque. After a quicker turnaround than even the lead man would have expected from the program he inherited back in 2021, one of the strongest fanbases in the country has returned to the Pit in droves.

Though sometimes looking too far ahead can be a bit of a risk, it’s never too early to receive the commitment of players you have been recruiting for what is often years at a time. Thursday afternoon at ABC Prep in Albuquerque, Lobo fans received such a recruiting win.

La Cueva High School senior Dylan Chavez chose to stay home & play for his hometown New Mexico Lobos. He’ll join the team for the 2024-2025 season as a preferred walk-on.

The Lobos have a rich history of local players dawning the signature cherry & silver. And walk-ons have made their impact on the program over the years. Guys like Jordan Arroyo, Clay Patterson & Tim Jacobs all stepped into bigger than expected roles over the past decade. Currently on the roster are some more local hoops stars in freshman guard Shane Douma-Sanchez (Del Norte HS) & junior transfer Deraje Agbaosi (Eldorado HS).

So when asked about why he chose to stay home as a non-scholarship player over a handful of division-I offers, Chavez’s answer wouldn’t surprise you “I wanted to stay home, play in front of my family,”.

“I grew up a Lobo fan. My dad and my grandpa would take me to the games as a kid. So I think it’d be awesome to stay home and play for the city I grew up in,” told the Albuquerque Journal.

Fans might remember the 6’6 shooting guard had previously committed to New Mexico State. But decommitted this past spring after the coaching staff was fired in February in the middle of a tumultuous season in Las Cruces.

Chavez joins Pitino’s first commit for the 2024 class, combo guard Kayde Dotson of Beaumont, TX. The three-star combo guard made his announcement back on September 20th via his Instagram. Choosing the Lobos over a dozen of other D-I offers, including Grand Canyon, SMU & in-state rivals New Mexico State.

Coach Pitino and company are also still in contention for three-star Canadian Jovan Milicevic, whom they had on official visit in early September.

So, the hype surrounding New Mexico’s forthcoming season is real. Not only by fans and traditional media who cover the team, but nationwide. Fans have a chance to get their first glance of the Lobos in person on October 14th at 12:00 PM inside the Pit. They’ll have their home opener on November 6th against Texas Southern.

Larry Muniz covers college basketball as a writer for Mountain West Wire and WAC Hoops Digest. Also as a co-host of the college basketball podcast “Hoops Talk W/Jay & Larry”. He is also a USWBA Member.

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