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Howling With the Lobos: UTEP Preview

Rivalry Week begins for UNM

McNeese v New Mexico Photo by Sam Wasson/Getty Images

What: New Mexico Lobos vs UTEP Miners

When: Tuesday November 19th, 2019 at 7 p.m. Mountain

Where: Don Haskins Center in El Paso, TX

Coverage: Fans can watch the game at CUSA.tv, the UNM Sports Radio Network will have the coverage on radio.

Series: This is the 145th meeting between UNM and UTEP. The Lobos hold the lead in the series 78-66, but they are just 27-41 in El Paso. The Lobos won last season’s contest by a final of 84-78. The last time they played in El Paso, back in 2017-18 season, the Miners won 88-76.

Breakdown:

Well it’s rivalry week for the New Mexico Lobos as they will start by taking on the UTEP Miners on Tuesday night in the Lobos first road test of the season. The Lobos sit at 4-0 after defeating McNeese State on Saturday evening by a final of 90-80. The Miners come into the contest with a 3-0 record, and, believe it or not, all three victories have come over New Mexico schools. The Miners beat New Mexico Highlands 93-70, New Mexico State 65-50, and Eastern New Mexico 71-57.

New Mexico will be looking for their first 5-0 start in a season since the 2012-13 season when they started 12-0. The Lobos will continue rivalry week on Thursday night when they meet New Mexico State in the Pan Am Center in Las Cruces.

The real test begins:

Things got close to getting out of hand on Saturday evening when McNeese State was able to hang with the Lobos through much of the contest. In fact, the contest was tied at 78-78 with 2:29 left before the Lobos ended on a 12-2 run to pull it out. This game appears to be the same. The Miners will test the Lobos, and since this is the team’s first true road game, fans should get a good gauge as to where the Lobos stand five games into the season.

Who do the Lobos need to watch:

The Miners boast talent at almost every position; led by two forwards, Bryson Williams and Efe Odigie, along with a pair of quick guards, Daryl Edwards and Souley Boum. Williams, Boum, and Odigie are averaging in double figures in points this season while Edwards averages 9.7 points per game.

This is going to be a great matchup all around with New Mexico’s JaQuan Lyle, Vance Jackson, Corey Manigault, and Carlton Bragg going up against the Miners’ four.

The Lobos sneaky x-factor:

Guard JJ Caldwell will be a sneaky x-factor for UNM in this contest. Caldwell didn’t score against McNeese State, but his 10 assists and four steals were huge on a night that the Lobos struggled shooting, only knocking down 47.5% of their field goals. His quickness and ball handling could come up big versus a team in UTEP that will key on Lyle and Jackson.

Prediction:

Well I didn’t think the Lobos would have much problems with McNeese State, and that ended up going the opposite of what I thought was going to happen, so maybe the same will be here. I do expect a tight one. This is the first road game of the season, the first time the Lobos will be out of their comfort area. UNM lost their last eight road contests of the season last year, and with a lot of players on this team that were on last year’s team the bad taste in their mouths of losing road game after road game is still present. This has the makings of another great UTEP-UNM rivalry game that will come down to the end, but I think this is the game that Vance Jackson shows up in a big way and carries UNM. I got the Lobos-83 UTEP-78.