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Poke Basketball Preview & Prediction: New Mexico Lobos

Syndication: The Coloradoan Jon Austria/The Coloradoan / USA TODAY NETWORK

What: Wyoming Cowboys vs. New Mexico Lobos

When: Saturday, January 22nd, 2022, 5:30 p.m. MT

Where: Arena Auditorium, Laramie, WY

Network: CBSSN

Line: Wyoming -12

Series: New Mexico leads the all-time series vs. The Cowboys 75-70. Since 2014, New Mexico also has the advantage 11-6, with two of Wyoming’s six wins coming last season.

The Wyoming Cowboys will host the second game of their short two-game homestand on Saturday evening when they host Richard Pitino’s New Mexico Lobos. The Lobos are on a skid, losing their last five contests to Mountain West opponents. They’re coming into Laramie with an overall record of 7-11 and are currently 0-5 in conference play. They did, however, perform well in their last conference game, hanging in until the bitter end against arguably the best team in the Mountain West in Colorado State. Wyoming, on the other hand, has had a much different start to their conference endeavors. The Cowboys are 14-2 overall and 3-0 thus far against conference opponents. Their last win came vs. San Jose State with the Cowboys winning that contest 84-69 over the Spartans, on Wednesday.

What to expect from New Mexico:

The Lobos are off to a rocky start. Richard Pitino’s squad has yet to win a conference game this season, but despite the record, they have played much better basketball of late. In their game against Colorado State they shot extremely well (50% from the field) and made a total of 14 threes. They have two primary scorers in Sophomore Guard Jamal Mashburn Jr. (17.7 ppg) and Junior Guard Jaelen House (16.0 ppg). Both players contributed heavily in the six-point loss, each scoring 18 points. The team averages 76.9 points per game while giving up 78.1 to boot. While the Lobos are more than capable on the offensive end of the floor, they have a defense that lacks discipline and versatility, and are oftentimes exploited, which has led to their downfall. Look for them to be hungry in order to stop their skid in search of their first conference victory against a Wyoming team that they have traditionally had a lot of success against.

What to expect from Wyoming:

The Cowboys are coming off of an impressive victory over San Jose State on Wednesday. They beat the Spartans 84-69 and did so without their top scorer and big man Graham Ike. Hunter Maldonado finished with 20 points and a career-high 12 assists in the effort. The Cowboys shot an impressive 58% from the floor and 50% from beyond the arc with five different players scoring in double figures. Jeff Linder’s team is averaging 77.5 points per game while allowing opponents to 64.1 per contest. Graham Ike is the Pokes’ top point scorer and rebounder, averaging 20 points and 8.5 rebounds per game. There is potential for him to miss this game vs. New Mexico, however the Pokes have shown that they do have the ability to win without him. With the Lobos being a very lackluster team defensively, the Cowboys should be able to survive, even if they are missing Ike.

Prediction:

Wyoming is cruising. However, though the Lobos haven’t been able to win in conference play this far, they shouldn’t be taken lightly. They are a fiery team on offense and can light you up and get ahead quickly if you give them the chance. We know the offense will come, but If Wyoming is able to force the Lobos into difficult shots and stay poised on the defensive end, they should have no problem in this contest, even if Ike and/or DuSell are out.

Score:

Wyoming 80

New Mexico 70