Coming off of a win against Oral Roberts, the New Mexico Lobos (5-1) will look to upset Purdue (7-0) tomorrow on the road in Indiana. This game will be played at 10:15 a.m Mountain Time on the Big Ten Network and I can't help but wonder if the Lobos will come out sluggish because of the time difference. I sure hope not as a worthy opponent like Purdue will be quick to strike. UNM needs to come out ready to go.
Purdue relies on a balanced attack as well, especially down low. Isaac Haas is a 7'2'' big man who is leading the team with 13.7 points per game in only 18 minutes of action. Can Lobos' big man Obij Aget use his long arms to stifle Haas's offensive game? Can he do it to A.J. Hammons as well? That would be Purdue's other seven footer and the team's second-leading scorer at 12.2 ppg. Perhaps Coach Neal will look to Nikola Scekic, the 7'1'', 255 lbs. freshman gargantuan. He has seen little playing time this year, but he could prove to be an effective weapon to counter Purdue's punishers in the paint.
Guard Raphael Davis and forward Vince Edwards round out the rest of Purdue's offensive attack. Both are double-digit scorers that should test New Mexico's man-to-man defense.
For the Lobos to pull out the victory, it would be great if they could put together two halves that resemble the first half that they played against ORU. In those twenty minutes they shot a blistering 59% from the field and 73% from three. Though it is unlikely that they replicate those numbers, they will surely need to shoot well against a tough Boilermaker team. One thing is for certain with this year's Lobo team, their successes and failures depend on the trio of Cullen Neal, Elijah Brown, and Tim Williams. Two of those three will need to have great games for UNM to spoil the boil.
What to Watch:
Can Williams score and rebound down low against a giant Purdue front court?
Can Neal continue his hot shooting?
Can Brown regain his stroke from the first half?
Can a committee of Aget, Joe Furstinger and Scekic contain Purdue's twin towers?
The answer to three of these questions probably needs to be yes for the Lobos to win, but make no mistake about it, an upset is definitely a strong possibility.