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Howling With The Lobos: San Diego State Preview

Streaks on the line in Albuquerque

San Jose State v New Mexico Photo by Sam Wasson/Getty Images

What: New Mexico Lobos vs. San Diego State Aztecs

When: Wednesday January 29th, 2020 at 7 p.m. Mountain

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

Coverage: CBS Sports Network will have the television coverage, while the UNM Sports Radio Network will be on the airwaves (770 AM/96.3 FM KKOB).

Series: This is the 89th all-time meeting between the two. The Lobos hold the edge with a 48-40 record. UNM is also 30-11 in The Pit against SDSU.

Breakdown:

The New Mexico Lobos will put their 15-game home winning streak on the line when they welcome in the #4 San Diego State Aztecs to The Pit on Wednesday night at 7 p.m. Mountain.

The Aztecs are 21-0 overall and 10-0 in the Mountain West Conference, while the Lobos are 16-6 overall and 5-4 in the MWC. San Diego State beat UNLV last time out, 71-67, in Las Vegas. The Lobos were blown out by Nevada by a score of 96-74.

Lobos depth will an issue:

Just like in the last two games, both JaQuan Lyle and Vance Jackson are listed as doubtful and not expected to play. Lyle practiced this week but doesn’t appear to be cleared by the medical staff to play. He might also be facing discipline for hosting a party over the weekend where one person was shot.

The Lobos are 1-1 in games that both Lyle and Jackson miss. This one will be a big one for both of them to miss as the Lobos really needed all hands-on deck to have a chance in this one.

Who to watch for from the Aztecs:

The Aztecs are led by Malachi Flynn. The 6-foot-1, 185-pound guard is averaging 16.8 points per game this season, to go along with five assists per game. Flynn has been more explosive on the road, averaging 20.3 points over nine road games this season. His game is to drive it and try to draw fouls. Which will be critical in this one because of the lack of front court depth for UNM.

Next up on the list is forward Yanni Wetzell, who averages 12.0 points per game. Wetzell struggled offensively against UNLV, with only eight points, but did grab eight rebounds. He will also occasionally pop out and try a three-point shot.

Lastly, Matt Mitchell will get some attention as well. He is averaging 11.1 points per game. Like Wetzell, Mitchell struggled against UNLV, also scoring eight points. However, he had gone for double figures in points in six of the previous seven games.

X-Factor for the Lobos:

This cannot be stressed enough in this game: stay out of foul trouble. With Malachi Flynn’s driving ability, he will draw some fouls. The Lobos need to play smart defense and try to stay out of foul trouble early. If Makuach Maluach, and, or Corey Manigault get into foul trouble early, there isn’t a lot of experience behind them. That would hurt the Lobos chances as San Diego State would definitely take advantage of that situation.

Prediction:

Back when the Lobos had JJ Caldwell, Carlton Bragg, Jackson and Lyle, I thought they had a chance to knock off the Aztecs. Now all of them are gone for this game, which means it will be an uphill climb. New Mexico did beat San Jose State handily in The Pit without them, but this isn’t San Jose State. This is the only undefeated team left. As of now, the Aztecs are too powerful for an upset. I hope I am wrong, but I got Aztecs-83 Lobos-68.