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Howling With the Lobos: Auburn Preview

It’s Legends Classic Time

McNeese v New Mexico Photo by Sam Wasson/Getty Images

What: New Mexico Lobos vs. Auburn Tigers

When: Monday November 25th, 2019 at 7:30 p.m. Mountain

Where: Barclays Center in Brooklyn, NY

Coverage: ESPNNEWS will have the Television side, while the UNM Sports Radio Network will handle the radio side (770 AM/94.5 FM KKOB, or on the TuneIn app search KKOB)

Series: This is the second meeting between the two schools. The first meeting was back in 2015 in the opening round of the Diamondhead Classic in Honolulu, Hawaii, with the Tigers winning that day 83-78.

Breakdown:

If the fans of the New Mexico Lobos wanted a barometer to measure how good their team was up until this point in the season, they’re going to get it Monday and Tuesday as the Lobos take part in the Legends Classic at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn. The Lobos will play #18 Auburn on Monday night and follow that up with a contest against either Richmond or Wisconsin on Tuesday night. The Lobos are 3-5 in neutral court contests under Paul Weir.

The Tigers come into this game 5-0 on the season; beating Georgia Southern, Davidson, South Alabama, Cal State-Northridge and Colgate. The Lobos are 5-1 after holding onto beat New Mexico State in Las Cruces last Thursday by a score of 78-77. You might recall that the Lobos also beat Cal State-Northridge this season, the common opponent these two teams share.

Get ready for a lot of threes:

If you have never seen Auburn play under Bruce Pearl, and I’d be surprised if you haven’t since they were in the Final Four last year, they are pretty much College Basketball’s version of the Golden State Warriors from previous seasons. They love to shoot the three-point shot. In fact, they will try anywhere between 25 and 35 three pointers a game, which is nearly half of their field goals. And if they are on, they are tough to stop. UNM pretty much has to hope that Auburn is on a cold streak, or at least get someone in the shooter’s face during every attempt, or it will turn into a shootout.

The good thing is:

The Lobos have the quickness, and Paul Weir’s up-tempo style of play is perfect, to keep up with Auburn. UNM will need to use its depth, its defensive quickness, and its offensive quickness because Auburn likes to run, run, run, but the Lobos seem built to do the very same thing.

What about Auburn’s top players:

The Tigers’ leading scorer is Samir Doughty, a 6-foot-4 Senior guard who is averaging 18.8 points per game. Expect a lot of JaQuan Lyle on Doughty. Freshman forward Isaac Okoro is another one to watch. He averages 14.4 points per game. That might be a matchup shared by many in the front court for the Lobos. And lastly Danjel Purifoy, a 6-foot-7 Senior forward also poses a threat for the Lobos as he averages 11.2 points per game.

Doughty, Okoro and Purifoy aren’t the only ones who can score on Auburn’s team, but they will be the three that will garner much of the attention during the game.

Prediction:

Well, this is a true indicator as to what the Lobos have this season. Not only is Auburn nationally ranked, but they are extremely dangerous from the outside, and have big men in the post to help clean up messes. The Lobos are going to need a lot of energy to keep up in this one. I like UNM to stay close, but I think the three-point threat that Auburn possesses will be too much for them to overcome. I got Auburn 92 Lobos 85.