For years, that’s been the harsh reality for Lobos basketball which for a little more than a half century has benefitted from one of the best home-court advantages in college basketball when playing in the Pit.
While the home crowds aren’t what they once were, the advantage in Dreamstyle Arena still seems to be in place with this year’s University of New Mexico men’s basketball roster, at least offensively. And, despite coach Paul Weir sticking to his guns that his team’s defense is more of a concern than the offense, even he is starting to acknowledge there is a statistical difference for his team outside of Albuquerque that can’t be ignored.
“The road and away, right now, is a little bit of a discrepancy and we have to find out a way to generate better offensive games on the road right now,” said Weir, whose Lobos (3-5) play at Colorado in Boulder on Wednesday night. “Obviously at home, we’ve been having some pretty good outputs.”
Here is a look at some of the statistical home/road splits for the Lobos this season, which has had four home games and four games outside of Albuquerque (two road games, two neutral court games):
• Points per game: 106.0 at home/66.0 on the road
• Field goal percentage: 50.3 percent at home/35.7 percent on the road
• 3-point field goal percentage: 43.1 percent at home/29.1 percent on the road.
The defensive differences aren’t as apparent, even if the competition has been tougher out of Albuquerque. The Lobos have allowed 77.5 ppg at home, 78 out of Albuquerque.
“We’re still working through some new guys that think a 2-point jump shot is a good shot, and it’s just not,” Weir said. “We need to get the ball inside out more. … Right now we just have a couple guys on the road whose percentages are just down. I think that’s just a combination of some team things we can adjust for those guys and also just their individual growth.”
Troy Simons is at the top of that list, shooting 51.3 percent at home (50.0 percent on 14-of-28 from 3-point range) and 13.8 percent (18.8 on 3s) on the road.
SHARE THE LOVE: Weir opened Monday’s news conference wanting to share a little bit of love.
First he praised the UNM women’s basketball team and coach Mike Bradbury for its 9-0 start and road sweep last week of rivals UTEP and New Mexico State.
Second, he congratulated his friend and former NMSU coaching colleague Doug Martin and the Aggies football team for its season and getting invited to its first bowl game since 1960.
ON TROY: Simons was pulled from his starting role at UTEP on Saturday.
“Punctuality,” Weir said when asked why.
Asked to elaborate or if punctuality was a continuing concern with the junior, Weir said, “I wouldn’t say anything that I’m overly concerned about, just young kids still trying to learn how to approach things in a championship way.”
ON CONNOR: Senior forward Connor MacDougall (sprained ankle/bone bruise) participated in most, though not all, drills at Monday’s practice with constant monitoring from team trainer Corey DeBarbrie, who was making the call on what drills MacDougall could participate in.
POLL POSITION: Defending Mountain West champion Nevada (8-0) on Monday broke into the Associated Press Top 25 poll at No. 22. It is the first time since finishing the 2006-07 season ranked No. 15.
Nevada had 119 points and appeared on 45 of 65 ballots with a high ranking of 15 by two voters.
MW POW: Boise State’s Chandler Hutchison was selected on Monday as the MW Player of the Week. Hutchison, who was voted the league’s preseason Player of the Year, helped the Broncos (8-1) to a 3-0 week, including a road win at Oregon on Friday and he posted the program’s first triple double (23 points, 10 rebounds, 10 assists) in a Sunday win over Portland.
Wednesday: UNM at Colorado,7 p.m., Pac-12 Network, 770 AM/94.5 FM