Bubble Watch: 5 Reasons Why New Mexico Will Make the Tournament
Bubble Watch: 5 Reasons Why the Lobos Will Make the Tournament
The New Mexico Lobos earned a No. 3 seed in last year’s NCAA tournament. Unfortunately, they were upset by an underrated Harvard team in their first game of the tourney. A bunch of talent came back and the Lobos were expected to make the dance once again, and they will. I will be giving you five reasons why.
At the time, a loss to Massachusetts seemed like an upset. New Mexico was ranked No. 19 in the country and the Minutemen were unranked. It turns out that the loss really wasn’t that bad and Massachusetts will more than likely be in the field of 68.
New Mexico would then go on to lose to Kansas and New Mexico State in back-to-back games, but not before the Lobos knocked off Cincinnati. At the time, that did not seem like that big of a win.
Now, the Bearcats are arguably the best team in the AAC and have a top 10 ranking to prove it.
New Mexico is 19-5 overall and has a 10-2 MWC record. That MWC record is good enough for second place in the conference standings. However, the conference title will be settled in head-to-head matchups between San Diego State and the Lobos. The two teams still have to play each other twice.
Talking about earning the conference title.
So although the Aztecs have been the best team in the conference all season long and had a No. 5 ranking coming into this past week, they have not played New Mexico yet.
Regardless, let’s get to those five reasons why the Lobos will make the 2014 NCAA tournament.
Still Might Win the Mountain West Conference
San Diego State holds a one-game lead over the New Mexico Lobos. For better or worse, New Mexico still has to play the Aztecs twice in the regular season. Those two games will decide the Mountain West Conference title.
One of the Most Talented Mid-Majors
That headline should say one of the most talented teams in college hoops, but we will stick to mid-majors.
New Mexico earned a No. 3 seed last year and it brought back a lot of talent from that team.
Two players on the Lobos are averaging 17 or more points per game and three are averaging 14 or more points per game. Cameron Bairstow, Kendall Williams and the rest of the team do not get enough credit.
Pretty Solid Resume
New Mexico has no bad losses. No, the loss to New Mexico State does not count as a bad loss. The Aggies are 20-8 on the season and could end up making the Big Dance.
The Lobos have also beaten the Aggies--teams played twice this year. Other notable wins have come against Davidson, Marquette, Cincinnati, Boise State and Wyoming (twice).
A 19-5 overall record and 10-2 conference record is more than good enough to get New Mexico into the dance.
Close to Being a Top 25 Team
The recent loss to Boise State kind of hurt this, but New Mexico is still close to being ranked in the top 25. The Lobos received the 29th most votes in the AP this past week and the 32nd most votes in the Coaches Poll.
A top 25 team deserves to be in the NCAA tournament. That is the case every single time.
MWC Deserves More Than One Team in the Dance
The MWC deserves to get more than one team into the dance. San Diego State is a lock at this point and New Mexico should not be too far behind. If the Lobos lose the rest of their games, then people can say they don’t belong in the tourney, but that is not going to be the case.
Sure, three or more teams could maybe make it into the 2014 NCAA tournament out of this conference. However, other than San Diego State, no other team is more deserving of making it than New Mexico.