Heading into the ninth game of the season the Lobos are finally starting to find out what kind of team they are. In the previous two games they used smothering defense and their athletic ability to get to the rim and score. This is not you Lobos team of years past that relied on the three point shot this year's Lobos team is filled with size on the wings and players that can make highlight worthy dunks. They cut to the lane and are best from 15 feet in as they .282% shooting from beyond the arc.
In the last game versus Valparaiso Coach Drew of the Crusaders tried to expose the Lobos weakness by going to a zone defense but the Lobos responded with good ball movement and by attacking the heart of the zone with dribble penetration. This led to a complete domination of the Crusaders and gave the Lobos a two game winning streak.
After a week off for finals the Lobos will face a 4-3 University of Louisiana Monroe out of the Sun Belt conference. This game will not be about what the Warhawks do but what the Lobos do. New Mexico will be a heavy favorite and this game so it will be about execution. If the Lobos can stay on task and not look past the Warhawks to Next Saturdays game against NMSU the Lobos will walk out of the pit with a three game winning streak.
The Lobos should be able to get Freshman Joe Furstinger, Sam Logwood and starter Xavier Adams Valuable minutes in this game. The young trio along with junior Tim Jacobs has seen bigger roles than expected this year because of injuries to some of New Mexico's key players in the back court.
Jacobs a preferred walk on has averaged 23 minutes a game through the last three games playing a season high 27 minutes against Valparaiso last week. Jacobs is only scoring 5 points a game during that stretch but he gives New Mexico the ability to move back to the shooting guard position which opens up the Lobos offense. Jacobs is the Lobos only true point guard on the active roster with Cullen Neal injured.
It's looking more and more like Cullen Neal will redshirt this season but he has until January 5th to make that decision. Coach Neal said that as a coach he would not make that decision for Cullen but as a parent he would have some input in the decision. Coach Neal does not think that Cullen will be a 100% recovered from his high ankle sprain this season and that might be the biggest consideration that will be given as to whether Cullen will redshirt. Without him the Lobos do not have a real threat from the outside, Xavier Adams, Sam Logwood and Tim Jacobs will continue to see extended minutes if Neal does not return this year.
Jordan Goodman returned to practice after missing the last two games with a concussion. Thursdays practice was his third on this week but it is not known if he will see time on Saturday as he is still not in game shape. Goodman has missed 34 practices since early October with injuries. In his absence Devon Williams has shined and has been one of the Lobos most constant players. Goodman's injuries have also opened the door for freshman Joe Furstinger who has showed he is a legitimate rotation player for the Lobos. Furstinger has become a fan favorite because of his hustle plays and the scrappy defense he plays. Look for Goodman to be slowly worked back into the rotation until he is fully healthy and in game shape.
Arthur Edwards who fractured a bone in his hand in Puerto Rico is expected to practice next Wednesday. There is still not a date set for when he will return to game action but if he starts practicing as scheduled game action should not be too far behind.