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Nevada Basketball: Wolf Pack to host New Mexico in pivotal match-up for first place

Nevada faces off against New Mexico in the first game since the Wolf Pack’s miracle rally against the Lobos .

NCAA Basketball: Nevada at Boise State Brian Losness-USA TODAY Sports

The Nevada Wolf Pack (17-4, 6-2), coming off an impressive road victory against Boise State on Wednesday, return to Reno to face off against the New Mexico Lobos (13-8, 6-3) on Saturday afternoon.

This is the first meeting between the schools since the Wolf Pack came back from a 25-point deficit on the road to beat the Lobos in overtime back on January 7th. It is one of the greatest comebacks in college basketball history and the Lobos are looking to get some revenge from that game today.

And if that is not enough motivation for New Mexico, first place in the Mountain West conference is on the line in this meeting today. Nevada is holding on to a half-game lead on the Lobos and a win by the Wolf Pack would give them the season sweep of the Lobos and would extend their lead in the standings.

For Nevada to win, they must try to contain the duo of Elijah Brown and Tim Williams. When these two teams played three weeks ago, Brown and Williams lit up the Wolf Pack’s defense as they both score 26 points apiece and shot a combined 17 for 31 from the field that night. Nevada’s defense has improved since then but their defense must step their game up against this high scoring duo from New Mexico.

Nevada must also perform well from the three-point line as the Lobos are dead last in the conference in three-point shooting defense as they are allowing teams to shoot 38 percent from three. The Wolf Pack are one of the best teams in the conference at shooting from three as they are shooting 29 percent from behind the arc. This is an area of the game that the Wolf Pack should dominate against the Lobos today.

The Wolf Pack must also keep their team fouls low against the Lobos as they only play seven players so depth is a concern. Nevada must play tough defense and not foul as the Lobos are the best in the conference at getting to the foul line (they average 27 free throw attempts a game) so Cameron Oliver and company must stay out of foul trouble.

This game is going to be a close contest as these are two of the best offenses in the Mountain West but I think the Wolf Pack’s defense will be the difference in this contest as I think Nevada will get the win and extend their lead in the conference standings.