Coaches and players get criticized anytime they get caught looking ahead, talking about a game down the road before they’ve played the one’s immediately before them.
Journalists, on the other hand, get criticized regardless.
So here we go…
If the Lobos beat NMSU on Wednesday in Las Cruces and hold serve Saturday against a tough South Dakota State team that played in the Pit in March in the NCAA Tournament, then UNM would be sitting pretty at 13-0 heading into a Dec. 27 game against Cincinnati with the possibility of being ranked in the Top 15 in next week’s polls.
The Bearcats, meanwhile, are No. 11 in both the AP and USA Today coaches polls and take a 10-0 record into a Wednesday rivalry game with Xavier (7-2). They then play Wright State (7-3) on Saturday. Those are tough games, but certainly winnable, meaning Cincinnati could be 12-0 and hovering around the No. 10 spot in the polls when the Lobos come to town.
The last time a ranked UNM team played another ranked team was just nine months ago when No. 21 UNM lost to No. 17 Louisville in the NCAA Tournament.
A more comparable game to what the Dec. 27 matchup could become based on both teams potentially being ranked in the Top 15 and it being a true road game for the Lobos came in the 2009-10 season. On Feb. 27, 2010, No. 10 UNM played on the road at No. 13 BYU, beating the Cougars 83-81.