ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — 11-0 UNM moves up to 16th in latest media poll
A win over instate rival New Mexico State on Saturday pushed the New Mexico Lobos to 11-0.
It also bumped the team up one spot in the Associated Press Top 25 men’s basketball poll and three spots USA Today Coaches Top 25 poll.
The Lobos are ranked No. 16 in the latest AP Top 25 and No. 17 in the coaches poll, both of which were released Monday morning. UNM was No. 17 in last week’s AP poll and No. 20 in the previous coaches poll.
No. 16 UNM at NMSU, 7 p.m., Pan American Center (Las Cruces)TV: AggieVisionRADIO: 770 AM, 101.7 FM, 103.9 FM (Las Cuces)
On Monday, the Lobos received 548 points in the AP poll, 31 behind No. 15 Georgetown (9-1) and 18 ahead of No. 17 Creighton (10-1). In the coaches poll, UNM’s 219 points put the Lobos 54 points behind No. 16 Minnesota (11-1) and just three points ahead of Mountain West rival No. 18 UNLV (8-1).
UNM is the top-ranked Mountain West team in the AP poll with San Diego State (18) and UNLV (21) close behind. In the coaches poll, SDSU is ranked No. 15.
Wyoming (10-0) received votes but was unranked in both polls.
This week marked the first time all 65 AP voters had UNM on their ballot, with two of them ranking the Lobos as high as No. 12. The Lobos were the only Mountain West team to appear on every AP ballot as San Diego State (two), UNLV (11) and Wyoming (58) still had some voters leaving them unranked.
MOUNTAIN STRONG: Jeff Sagarin’s weekly rankings, a popular read through USA Today for many hoops junkies, has the MWC ranked No. 2 in the nation trailing only the Big Ten.
Sagarin’s ratings are based on a mathematical formula weighing, among other factors, wins, losses and schedule strength.
His team rankings have five Mountain West teams in the top 35: Wyoming, 15; UNLV, 18; UNM, 19; Boise State, 29 and San Diego State, 35.
TOUGH STRETCH: From the looks of things, league play won’t exactly provide many nights off come January and February for the Lobos. Nonetheless, the team may be in the midst of its toughest stretch on the schedule all season with five consecutive games against teams in the NCAA Tournament last March, three of which are road games.
The Lobos play at bitter rival NMSU on Wednesday, vs. South Dakota State (which played in the Pit in last season’s NCAA Tournament), at No. 11 Cincinnati on Dec. 27, at St. Louis on Dec. 31 and vs. No. 21 UNLV to open league play Jan. 9.
The Lobos have set up their NCAA Tournament resume nicely through 11 games to weather two or even three losses in this stretch. Those still wondering about how good this team is will have plenty of answers in the next three weeks.
LOOKING AHEAD: Coaches and players get criticized anytime they get caught looking ahead, talking about a game down the road.
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, 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.
MWC POW: A second Boise State Bronco has earned MWC Player of the Week honors.
On Monday the league announced sophomore guard/forward Anthony Drmic, a former teammate of Lobos Hugh Greenwood and Cameron Bairstow at the Australian Institute of Sport, was the league’s top player last week after scoring a career-high 34 points in Friday’s 89-70 win over previously undefeated LSU. The 6-foot-6 Drmic hit six 3-pointers in the game.
Drmic’s teammate Derrick Marks was named the league’s Player of the Week on Dec. 3. Only one Lobo – junior Tony Snell – has earned the league’s weekly honor this season when he shared the award with Nevada’s Deonte Burton on Nov. 19.
LEAGUE STAT OF WEEK: Colorado State leads the nation in rebounding margin at plus-16.1 per game. The Rams (6-2) have out-rebounded all eight of their opponents by at least 10 this season.
— This article appeared on page D1 of the Albuquerque Journal