Who Will Gain Supremacy In The Mountain West: #19 New Mexico At #24 Colorado State
- CoachingNew Mexico is 22-4 in Steve Alford’s sixth year. Alford has won at least 22 games every season and has the Lobos atop the competitive Mountain West Conference at 9-2.The Mountain West is often a conference for second chances, both for players and coaches. In his first season at Colorado State, Larry Eustachy has the Rams at 21-5 and one game behind New Mexico for the conference lead.
- OffenseJunior point guard Kendall Williams leads the Lobos with 13.1 points per game. Sharpshooter Tony Snell is hitting 37 percent from deep. This team does a good job of getting to the free throw line.Colorado State is the best rebounding team in the country—they snatch 41 percent of their own misses. That, combined with their low turnover rate, gives the Rams a very efficient offense.
- DefenseThis is one of the better defensive teams in the country. The Lobos rank first in the conference in turnover percentage and overall defensive efficiency. It is difficult to score on this team inside.Wednesday’s last-second loss to UNLV was the first time all season the Rams were outrebounded, an incredible statistic. This team is sound defensively, though not overly imposing.
- Bench DepthAlford has some capable reserves, including Demetrius Walker, the subject of Play Their Hearts Out, a 2010 book about grassroots basketball.Eustachy gives very few minutes to his reserves. Not surprisingly, one of those players, Daniel Bejarano, averages six rebounds in his 22 minutes.
New Mexico won the first matchup a month ago, 66-61, but the Rams are 14-0 at home this season and have a 27-game win streak at Moby Arena. Because of that, they get the slight edge on Saturday despite New Mexico’s categorical advantage. -Andrew Kahn, College Basketball Contributor