New Mexico Can Strengthen NCAA Tournament Resume With Win Against Cincinnati

By Chris Katje
Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

New Mexico Lobos failed to keep their undefeated season, after a loss to South Dakota State. Tonight, the Lobos face an even tougher test in their matchup against undefeated Cincinnati on the road.

The Lobos are 12-1 on the 2012-2013 NCAA season. Meanwhile, No. 8 ranked Cincinnati remains unbeaten with a perfect 12-0 record. The matchup faces a powerful high-scoring Cincinnati team against a New Mexico team that has struggled to score points and shoot the ball well.

The loss against South Dakota State was especially hard on two Lobos players. Head coach Steve Alford benched starters Kendall Williams and Chad Adams, after they showed up to the game late. They were late getting to the game. “I have no idea how that happens. If you’re a believer in Santa Claus, I hope they get some alarm clocks,” Alford told reporters. Williams would enter the game after six minutes and led the team with 21 points. On the season, Williams leads the team in points (14.8), assists (5.0) and steals (1.3). Now I’m not sure if Santa brought Williams an alarm clock on Tuesday, but I’m thinking he shows up for the game on time. I also think Williams will have a career game for his team and his coach. I’m predicting Williams will drop 30 points on the Bearcats and help lead his team to the upset.

New Mexico shot only 38% against South Dakota State and will need to make the most out of their shots on Thursday night. On the 2012-2013 season, New Mexico is shooting only 42%, which ranks 231st in the country. Cincinnati ranks in the top twenty in points (79.8) and rebounds (46.4), so New Mexico must hit shots to stay in a close game.

Despite starting the season undefeated, New Mexico is still fighting for a spot in the NCAA Tournament. The team plays in a strong Mountain West Conference, where it will face strong competition from Wyoming, UNLV and San Diego State. A win tonight, along with a previous win over ranked Connecticut, could help the team get in if it doesn’t win the Mountain West Conference.

In a previous article looking at the remaining unbeaten teams, I projected Cincinnati to win this game. I guessed that the Bearcats would not lose until a Big East matchup against Notre Dame on January 7th.

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