New Mexico Basketball Will Be Very Dangerous Team In NCAA Tournament

By Matthew Sturgeon
Cameron Bairstow, New Mexico Lobos
Troy Babbitt-USA TODAY Sports

The New Mexico Lobos are on a roll.

After tonight’s victory over the Air Force Falcons, they have now won six consecutive games and have the look of a team poised to do great damage in the upcoming NCAA tournament. Cameron Bairstow had 21 points and seven rebounds in the Lobo win; he continues to play at a very high level and is one of the top players in college basketball who nobody talks about.

The same can be said about this entire New Mexico team. First year coach Craig Neal inherited this Lobos squad that many seem to forget earned a No. 3 seed in last year’s NCAA tournament. Sure, they lost Tony Snell, but everyone else of importance returned. With players like Bairstow, Kendall Williams and big man Alex Kirk, UNM has both experience and tremendous talent. They can play with anybody in the country and have shown that in picking up quality wins over Cincinnati and fellow MWC foe, San Diego State.

The thing that I love about this New Mexico team is their incredible versatility and ability to beat their opponents from both outside, as well as in the paint. In Williams, they have a terrific shooter who can really space the floor. Neal’s son, Cullen Neal, adds that same element as a spark plug off the bench. With Bairstow and Kirk, they have two big bodies who can really score down low and rebound effectively too.

Perhaps the unsung hero is point guard Hugh Greenwood, who essentially serves as the team’s “glue guy.” Greenwood can do a little bit of everything and really helps the offense flow.

I’m telling you, this is a team to keep an eye on as the big dance nears. Veteran talent and experience is a lethal combination come March Madness, and that is exactly what New Mexico has. Need a Final Four sleeper? How ’bout the Lobos.

Matthew Sturgeon is a College Basketball Writer for You can follow him on Twitter @OfficialSturg27

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