New Mexico Lobos vs. Fresno State Bulldogs in the First Round of the Mountain West Conference Tournament
Wednesday March 10th, 2021 at 5:00 p.m. MT
The Thomas & Mack Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada
The game will be streamed on the Mountain West Network at themw.com/watch
This will be the 33rd time these two have met. Earlier this season Fresno State swept the Lobos with wins of 64-62 and 66-55 in Fresno back on January 28th and 30th.
The season is on the line for both squads on Wednesday night when the sixth-seeded Fresno State Bulldogs take on the 11th-seeded New Mexico Lobos in the first round of the Mountain West Conference Tournament.
The Bulldogs enter the contest as heavy favorites, although they have lost four of their last six contests.
New Mexico is also struggling, being at 6-15 on the season it has been one of the worse seasons in Lobos’ history. Paul Weir is stepping down at the end of the season, meaning this could very well be his last game as the Lobo head coach.
What to expect from Fresno State:
It should not come as any shock to Lobo fans that there will be a three-point shooting barrage that will come from Fresno State. In the first two meetings this season Fresno State attempted a combined 54 three-point baskets, making only 17 of them, but nonetheless it was over half of their attempts from the field.
The Lobos will have to focus much of their attention on Deon Stroud and Junior Ballard. The two combined for half of the 64 points in game one earlier this season and then 29 of 65 points in game two. Stroud loves to take it to the rim and draw fouls, while Ballard sits out on the perimeter and knocks down threes. It’ll be interesting to see how well the Lobos defense does on these two.
What to expect from New Mexico:
One can expect another big game from Makuach Maluach. With it being potentially his last game of his career, you know he would like to go out with a bang. The question will be then: who else wants to step up?
This could very well be the last game of the season and, like we said before, the last game for Paul Weir as the head coach. Do the Lobos players step up and try to give their coach one last win? Or has the trying season drained them so much that they have nothing left? We will have to wait and see on that.
The Lobos had a chance to win game one of the series with Fresno State earlier this season, but let a four point lead with one minute to play in overtime slip away. Then, in game two the Lobos were down by just one point with nine minutes to play before going ice cold from the field and allowing Fresno State to pull away.
It’s tough to gauge where this team is mentally, but given the fact that the Lobos can play Fresno State close, I think a close game is in order. However, don’t be too surprised if the Lobos fall behind quick that they get buried. I am going to lean on the side of it being close and even the Lobos coming through.
Lobos-66 Fresno State-61