San Diego at New Mexico
Game Time: 12:00 p.m. PST
Teams Records: USD – 7-1 – UNM – 4-1
Leading Scorers: USD – Dee 16.6 – UNM – Kirk 20.8
Leading Rebounders: USD – Kramer 6.6 – UNM – Kirk 12.2
Leading Distributors: USD – Anderson 5.8 – UNM – Williams 6.8
Fresh off an appearance in the Gulf Coast Showcase, the Toreros are faced with an extremely tough challenge. That challenge is facing the New Mexico Lobos, a team that is barely outside the AP top 25.
AP Poll: 26
Coaches Poll: 27
Don’t let that high RPI deceive you, the Lobos are a very talented team.
The Lobos are an NCAA Tournament caliber team that has brought back 4 starters from last year’s team that was a 4 seed in the big dance last season. Among those returners, Alex Kirk is the most prominent. The junior center is averaging a double-double this season (20.8 points and 12.2 rebounds), and has not shown any signs of stopping. Senior point guard Kendall Williams is another notable returner; Williams is averaging 18.2 points and 6.8 assists this season. Hugh Greenwood is a “glue-guy” that does a little bit of everything. The junior guard is averaging 5.6 points, 5.0 rebounds, 3.0 assists, and 1.0 steals this season. Cameron Bairstow is the Lobos jack-of-all-trades, as he is second on the team in scoring (19.6 PPG), rebounds (6.6 RPG) and assists (3.0 APG).
New Mexico is an unselfish team that scores a great amount of points. The Lobos are 22nd in the NCAA in points per game with 87.6, and 10th in the NCAA in assists per game with 18.2. Even better, New Mexico is the 8th best rebounding team in the country with 46.6 per game.
New Mexico has some quality victories over UAB and Davidson. However, the Lobos were whooped by UMass by 16 points.
Keys to the Game
Keep up with the Big Dogs
Facing a frontline comprised of Cameron Bairstow and Alex Kirk is intimidating. Although Jito Kok and Dennis Kramer have played well this season, the duo will need to have one of their better games of the season to keep up with these two. The matchup of Kirk on Kok is an intriguing one in itself.
Johnny Dee (a.k.a. Johnny Buckets) will need to score 20-30 points in order to keep the Toreros in this game. The Lobos are a disciplined team with a ton of talent on the offensive floor. The Toreros best offensive weapon will need to have a nice game in order for the Torero’s to have any chance against New Mexico.