New Mexico Basketball vs. San Diego State: Who Will Win Mountain West Title?
In a regular college basketball season filled with hype, hardwork and heartbreak, it all comes down to one game out west when Mountain West Conference powers collide in a defacto regular season conference championship that will crown one of the elite programs. While the Mountain West will be a two bid league come tournament time, the two teams have a great shot at making deep runs in the tournament with high hopes of reaching the Final Four in Dallas. How will the New Mexico Lobos fare when the team travels to California to face off against the San Diego State Aztecs in the Aztec Bowl Saturday night?
New Mexico looks to build on its impressive stretch as the team tries to earn the title of Mountain West Conference Champions, but will the Lobos have similar success as the team did earlier in the season dispatching the Aztecs 58-44 at home? The Lobos are led into enemy territory by senior playmaker Kendall Williams, who has lifted the program to new heights since his arrival on campus. While Williams is averaging 16.7 points per game this season, the senior guard leads the team in assists at five a game, but it is his instinctual play that makes him one of the best guards in America. Cameron Bairstow and Alex Kirk headline a list of capable shooters that has the Lobos’ offense boasting a field goal percentage of .459 this season. Bairstow leads the team is scoring with 20.3 PPG, while Kirk is the Lobos’ leading rebounder at 8.6 per game.
Under the direction of head coach Steve Fisher, San Diego State has a record of 26-3 this season and look to return to the Big Dance as a high seed once again; a Mountain West conference championship would go a long way in solidifying one of the top spots in the tournament. After starting the season on fire winning 21 of the first 22 games, the Aztecs have hit some bumps in the road of late, falling on the road to both Wyoming and New Mexico. Xavier Thames and Winston Shepard, who combine for over 29 points a game, look to get the Aztecs back on track when the team hosts bitter rival New Mexico.
While New Mexico will be looking for more of the same, San Diego State will hope to turn the tide in the anticipated rematch that will decide the outright winner in the Mountain West Conference. To the winner goes bragging rights and the spoils of being the conference champions, but more importantly, as the tournament is right around the corner, the possibility of improving tournament seeding and gaining momentum for a stretch run as Selection Sunday is just over a week away.
Greg Douglas is a College Basketball writer for RantSports.com. Follow him on twitter @thegpd93 or add him to your Google Network.