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Howling With the Lobos: New Mexico State Preview

The rematch in The Pit

Boise State v New Mexico Photo by Sam Wasson/Getty Images

What: New Mexico Lobos vs New Mexico State Aggies

When: Saturday December 14th, 2019 at 5 p.m. Mountain

Where: DreamStyle Arena a.k.a. The Pit in Albuquerque, NM

Coverage: AT&T SportsNet will have the television coverage. The UNM Sports Network will have the radio call (770 AM/94.5 FM KKOB in Albuquerque, or TuneIn App search KKOB).

Series: This will be the 224th contest between New Mexico and New Mexico State on the hardwood. The Lobos lead the series 122-101, winning the first time out this season by a final of 78-77 in Las Cruces.

Breakdown:

The New Mexico Lobos will put a couple of streaks on the line when they host the New Mexico State Aggies on Saturday night in The Pit. UNM is riding a four-game winning streak entering the contests and have won eight straight at The Pit dating back to last season.

The Lobos’ 9-2 mark on the season is their best start to a season since the 2012-13 season when they began 12-0.

The Aggies sit at 6-5 on the season, certainly not the type of season that Aggie fans have grown accustom to over the years. NMSU had only five losses all of last season and six each of the previous two seasons. The Aggies are treading on water this early in the season that they haven’t for years.

Lobos Need to Quash Turnovers:

Let’s go ahead and forget the records in this one. It is New Mexico-New Mexico State, fans shouldn’t be surprised if this one is close or not. One thing that will keep it close, as it did in the first meeting, will be turnovers. The Lobos had 16 turnovers down in Las Cruces in their one-point win. The Lobos committed 19 turnovers in their win over Wyoming last Saturday but benefitted in that one by Wyoming only shooting 37% from the field.

Bottom line is that if the Lobos can limit their turnovers, they will put more pressure on NMSU to knock down shots.

Aggies Top Players:

Just as in the first matchup, the Aggies top guys will be familiar to Lobo fans. Jabari Rice, Trevelin Queen and Ivan Aurrecoechea will lead the way for NMSU in this one. Rice scored 18 points in the Aggies previous game, a win over Denver, while Queen and Aurrecoechea also scored in double-figures with 15 and 14 points respectively.

All three of them had double-figures in points when these two met the first time, with Queen going for 23 points. It’ll be tough to slow down all three of them, but the Lobos should key in on Queen, especially with his perimeter shooting ability.

Lobos X-Factor:

Aside from limiting turnovers, the biggest thing the Lobos will need in the contest to win will be none other than the Lobo faithful themselves sitting in the stands. As of this writing there are less than 1,000 tickets remaining. This Lobo squad is an emotional bunch, and over 15,000 fans causing a ruckus will no doubt carry them over the top in this one.

Prediction:

As I stated above throw the records out in this one. The Aggies and Lobos are known for close games with three of the last four between them being decided by four points, or less. New Mexico State is struggling this season, but still have enough shooting to keep them in it. I do feel though that the crowd will help lift this Lobo team to a sweep of the Rio Grande Rivalry. I got the Lobos-82 Aggies-75.