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Lobo Pack: Florida Atlantic Preview

Basketball season

New Mexico mascot Lobo Louie

What:

Florida Atlantic Owls vs. New Mexico Lobos

When:

Wednesday November 10th, 2021, at 7:00 p.m. Mountain Time

Where:

University Arena, The Pit, in Albuquerque, NM

Coverage:

The game will be streamed on the Mountain West Network, part of the Stadium networks online. The Lobo Sports Radio Network will also carry the game on the airwaves.

Series:

This is the first meeting between the two schools on the hardwood.

Breakdown:

Both the New Mexico Lobos and the Florida Atlantic Owls will begin their 2021-22 regular seasons on Wednesday night in Albuquerque.

This will be the regular season coaching debut for Richard Pitino at New Mexico. The Lobos did play New Mexico Highlands in an exhibition game last Friday, winning 101-72.

The Lobos are coming off a 6-16 season in 2020-21. Last season the Lobos also did not play a game in the state of New Mexico due to the state public health orders related to the COVID-19 pandemic. This will be the first regular season contest since February 29th, 2020, when the Lobos defeated Utah State.

Florida Atlantic ended the 2020-21 season with a 13-10 record and a 7-5 record in Conference USA. FAU played an exhibition game versus Lynn on Monday, November 1st, winning 69-54.

This will be the fourth season under head coach Dusty May for FAU. The Owls are 47-41 under May, with a trip to the CIT in May’s first season at the helm.

What the Lobos will look to do:

The Lobos will no doubt be looking for a little bit of up tempo, similar to what they ran against New Mexico Highlands in the exhibition on Friday. Led by Jaelen House, Jamal Mashburn, Jr. and Jay Allen-Tovar, the Lobos will look to push the ball up the court much of the night, especially in transition.

The Lobos will also rely on Javonte Johnson who scored 18 points and pulled down 11 rebounds in the exhibition victory mentioned earlier.

With Johnson at 6-foot-6 and Allen-Tovar at 6-9, the Lobos will look to use that length on defense and into transition for some easy layups.

What the Owls will look to do:

The Owls are led by 6-foot-1 guard Michael Forrest, who averaged 12.5 points per game last season. Forrest averaged 39.3% from three-point land last season, which was good enough for 42nd in the country.

Outside of Forrest, the Owls also tout Bryan Greenlee, a 6-foot guard who average 10 points and three assists per game last season.

The Forrest and Greenlee tandem will look to push and then kick it out looking for open three-point shots. New Mexico will really need to guard the perimeter in this contest to keep FAU from running away with it.

Quick notes:

There are nine new Lobos this season for new head coach Richard Pitino. Seven players return from last season.

New Mexico is 88-30 in season openers, having won the previous 18 dating back to the 2002-03 season, when they lost to California.

Prediction:

As of this writing the Owls are a two-and-a-half-point favorite, and I can see why. A new head coach for New Mexico, nine new players, which almost all, if not all, of the starting lineup will be newcomers, and a Florida Atlantic team that returns its top two leading scorers from a year ago.

I feel as though the experts that set the lines in Vegas will be right about this one being a close game, however, I feel like the Lobos will be the one’s coming out on top due mainly to the play of Allen-Tovar and Johnson. With those two, the guarding of the perimeter that was talked about earlier will a smidge easier. Although FAU shouldn’t be taken lightly, I got the Lobos-66 FAU-61.