New Mexico Lobos vs. Fresno State Bulldogs
Game 1: Thursday January 28th, 2021 at 9:00 p.m. MT
Game 2: Saturday January 30th, 2021 at 5:00 p.m. MT
Both games will be held at the Save Mart Center in Fresno, California, as the Bulldogs are finally allowed to play in their home arena.
Game 1 will be broadcasted on television from CBS Sports Network. Game 2 on Saturday will be streamed on the Mountain West Network at themw.com
Both games can also be heard on the Lobo Sports Radio Network. In Albuquerque that is 770 AM/96.3 FM KKOB.
This series will be the 31st and 32nd times that the two schools have met on the hardwood. New Mexico owns a 17-13 record in the series.
Last season the two squads split their matchups, with both schools winning on their own home floor.
The New Mexico Lobos will attempt to get the bad taste of the San Jose State game two loss out of their mouths when they pay Fresno State a visit on Thursday and then again on Saturday.
The Lobos split the series with San Jose State, but the loss on Saturday was pretty embarrassing considering that the Spartans were without leading scorer Richard Washington, the Spartans had yet to beat a Division 1 opponent on the season, and the Lobos had just beaten SJSU by 16 in game one of the series.
The Lobos are hoping that a return home this week for practice is just what the doctor orders to cure this season’s woes. The Lobos had been on the road since early December because of the state’s public health order. That order changed late last week, allowing the Lobos to return to Albuquerque to practice. However, whether the team can play home games in The Pit remains to be seen.
For Fresno State, they are on a three-game losing streak. Dropping both in a series against Nevada, then losing game one of the series to Boise State before game two was canceled due to COVID-19 issues within the Boise State program.
Fresno State sits at 5-6 on the season and 3-6 in the Mountain West Conference. New Mexico is 5-9 overall, just 1-9 in the MWC.
What to expect from Fresno State:
The Bulldogs offense runs through forward Orlando Robinson. The 7-foot-1 sophomore is averaging 17.5 points per game on the year, along with 9.8 rebounds.
Considering the Lobos’ tallest player is Valdir Manuel at 6-foot-10, stopping Robinson will be a handful for UNM in both contests.
Guard Deon Stroud is another key weapon for Fresno State. He did not play in the contest with Boise State, but in the other 10 games this season, Stroud is averaging 13.1 points per game. If he does play in this one, he could be deadly from beyond the arc, especially if the Lobos collapse on Robinson.
X-Factor for UNM:
With Robinson in the middle for FSU, the Lobos will need to not be afraid of trying to attack the inside. UNM shot 32% inside the arc against the next tallest player that they have seen this season in Neemias Queta of Utah State.
The Lobos obviously struggle from behind the arc, so inside shots are where they are going to do their damage. If they can drive to the bucket and get Robison out of position or into foul trouble, the better chance the Lobos will have in this series.
Fresno State is going to be favored heavily in both games. If Stroud doesn’t play in either games, that will be a huge boost for UNM. It will also be interesting to see if the Lobos play better now that they have had time to spend at home and have gotten into a better routine. There is going to be a lot of questions answered with this series as far as the state of the Lobos are. I think they’ll hang around in both games, but Robinson might be too much to overcome.
Fresno State-73 Lobos-68
Fresno State-66 Lobos-63