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Mountain West Conference Tournament Warpath Starts Today for New Mexico Lobos

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Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

The New Mexico Lobos have somehow become a favorite here at the Rant Sports office. Through their MWC awesomeness and a bit of magic, the Lobos are slowly becoming one of our sleeper teams for the NCAA Tournament. Some have talked about the quality play of Kendall Williams while others have resorted to nicknaming them “Beast Mode”. Regardless, New Mexico now holds a special place in our hearts for their over-achievements this season.

Then there is the Wyoming Cowboys, another team that at one point this year overachieved. Wyoming started off the season red-hot and even earned a top 25 national ranking during the year. However, one bar fight and a crowd misbehaving later, the Cowboys are not even on the NCAA Tournament bubble and need to win the conference tourney to earn a birth in the big dance.

The two teams meet later today in the first round of the MWC Tournament. Wyoming had to play their way into this game, beating the Nevada Wolfpack in the (for lack of better description) pre-first round game. But this likely all for not, as Wyoming has been trending downward since January while New Mexico has been steady and successful all season long.

Wyoming will be playing with a sense of urgency that is needed to get into the NCAA Tournament, but that probably won’t be enough to beat a Lobos squad playing for seeding.

If these teams were meeting in December we would all have been anticipating the match-up of two mid-major powers. Unfortunately, it now feels like a case of a down and out Wyoming team just waiting to be slaughtered by a very good New Mexico squad.

They meet tonight at 9:30. The slaughter will be televised on CBS Sports.

Joe is a Senior Writer for Rant Sports. For the love of Sam Cassell, follow Joe on the mean streets of Twitter @JosephNardone and add him to your Google circle things.

 

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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.

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