Wyoming Cowboys vs. New Mexico Lobos
Arena Auditorium in Laramie, WY
Saturday December 31st, 2022, at 2:00 pm Mountain Time
The game will be broadcasted on Fox Sports 1. On the radio waves it will be carried on the Lobo Sports Radio Network, 96.3 FM/770 AM in Albuquerque.
This will be meeting number 148 between the two schools in the hardwood. New Mexico has a 76-71 edge in the series. In the last game between the two the Lobos won 75-68 in The Pit.
The New Mexico Lobos will be looking to continue their undefeated start to the season when they pay the Wyoming Cowboys a visit on Saturday afternoon.
The Lobos enter the contest with a 13-0 record and 1-0 in the Mountain West Conference after clobbering Colorado State on Wednesday night by an 88-69 final.
In that one Jaelen House led the way with 26 points for New Mexico, while Jamal Mashburn Jr. added 19 points.
The Lobos are off to their best start since the 1967-68 season when they opened 17-0 before their first loss.
The Wyoming Cowboys are 5-8 on the season and 0-1 in the MWC. Their last game out was a 58-53 loss to the Fresno State Bulldogs in Fresno. That loss made it three consecutive on the season for the Cowboys.
What to watch for:
Wyoming has just two players that average in double digits in points scored this season.
Noah Reynolds leads the way with 14.8 points per game, while Hunter Maldonado goes for 12.3 points per game.
Reynolds has been on a hot streak lately, scoring 16 points or more in six straight games. In five of those games, he has scored more than 20 points. He will be the key for a Wyoming victory.
Maldonado is a name that Lobo fans know all too well. The 6-foot-7 senior has had some big game against UNM. Just last season in Laramie he went for 25 points. He also had 27 points in a loss to the Lobos in the 2019-20 season. He can break free for a ton of points, it will be tough to guard him with his ability to play every position on the floor.
The question for UNM will be if they are any hangover effects from the blowout win over Colorado State. In the last several seasons the Lobos have struggled on the road in conference. This appears to be a team that can overcome that.
The key in this one will be the Lobos transition offense. That was huge in the win over Colorado State and has potential to be in this one too. Wyoming is prone to a lot of turnovers, having 11 against Fresno State and 19 against St. Mary’s. If House and company can force a ton of turnovers and take the crowd out of the game early, then it should be a walk in the park for UNM.
Final Thoughts and Prediction:
The Lobos have been prone to being upset in Laramie, especially when being ranked. However, I think this year is a different story. Lots of depth, great shooting and stingy defense is what the Lobos bring to the table.
The Cowboys are in rebuilding mode and as evident by their turnover issues in contests, inexperienced as well. I expect the Lobos to try and bust it open early, but it will be in the second half where the Lobos talent will take over. I’ll go Lobos 77-67.