Close Article Return to stream X
NCAA Basketball

Secrets From Area 51: Alex Kirk Is The Key For New Mexico

Frank Victores-USA TODAY Sports

It’s not easy to miss 7-foot Alex Kirk running down the lane, but New Mexico‘s best kept secret lies with their largest asset.

New Mexico (20-4, 7-2 Mountain West) recently dropped a game to unranked UNLV in Las Vegas when the Lobos shot a horrific 4-for-22 from beyond the arch. One consistent piece throughout the loss, however, was Kirk, who finished with team-high 17 points and 16 rebounds.

Most of Kirk’s field goals came by way of offensive rebounds or when the offensive scheme seemed to hit a standstill in the half court. What the Lobos learned from the loss was that the one player who doesn’t rely on streaks is Kirk.

Granted, he did play 31 minutes for New Mexico, and there was little he could do to reverse the outcome against the Rebels. The loss still serves as a clear example that no one in the Mountain West or possibly the country can contain the Lobos’ big man.

Much like UNLV, many teams in the Mountain West rely on streaky three-point shooting and do not possess a dominant threat in the post. The Rebels have Mountain West leading scorer Anthony Bennett at the four position, but were completely unable to find an answer for Kirk Saturday. Boise StateAir ForceFresno State and Colorado State all rest their futures in the fortune of their three-point shooting, something the Lobos do not have to depend on because of the interior presense of Kirk.

Though the Mountain West has solidified itself as a premier conference in college basketball, the size battle in the post will still be a struggle for the teams that make the NCAA tournament. If New Mexico does in fact make it to the Sweet 16 round of the tournament, they will most likely face an Arizona team that doesn’t leave much room for mistakes. Not only have the Wildcats worked their way to the top of the ruthless PAC-12 Conference, but Arizona has proved how dangerous their perimeter shooting can be. Naturally, Arizona would be the favorite over New Mexico. With a slow night from the three-point line, however, the Lobos could easily steal a win.

New Mexico may not be on the radar of elite college basketball teams yet. But is it even possible to underestimate a man seven feet tall?

Your Favorites
 
 
Close Article Return to stream X
NCAA Basketball Videos

2014 NCAA Tournament Preview: No. 7 New Mexico vs. No. 10 Stanford





Both the New Mexico Lobos and Stanford Cardinal got a tough draw in the 2014 NCAA tournament. Both teams are capable of making a Sweet 16 run, but only one team will have the chance of doing so after this contest.

These No. 7 vs. No. 10 seed matchups are always very hard to predict. You don’t know if it is going to be a close one or a complete blowout, but that’s kind of how the entire NCAA tourney works out.

The Lobos just got done winning the MW tournament and have won nine of 10. The Cardinal have lost four in their last seven.

What to Watch For

Chasson Randle, Kendall Williams and Cameron Bairstow. There will definitely be other talented players on the court in this game, but those three are arguably the best.

Randle is leading Stanford with 18.7 points per game and can drop 20+ on any team in the tournament.

Williams is averaging 16.4 points per game and is shooting 40.4 percent from the three-point line. Bairstow could be the best player in this contest, though. He is putting up 20.3 points per game and has had quite the breakout season for the Lobos.

Prediction

I am going to have to go with the mid-major in this one. Both teams entered the season with relatively high expectations, but it is New Mexico that is coming off of a tournament championship and it is New Mexico that lost in its first game of the  dance last year as a No. 3 seed. You better believe that this team will be trying to avenge its loss from last season.

New Mexico 78 Stanford 62

Trevor Lowry is a Senior Writer and Copy Editor at RantSports.com. If you’re a tweeter feel free to follow him @TheTrevorLowry or add him to your network on Google.

Comment 0 Comments