2007 New Mexico Lobos Basketball Preview
In 2006- 2007, the New Mexico Lobos (15- 17 overall, 4- 12 Mountain West) tied for eighth in the league and sat out both tournaments. Despite the low finish, the Lobos’ fans are optimistic. The reason being that New Mexico has brought in a new coach who is used to winning college basketball odds. Steve Alford (308- 183 overall in 16 years), former Iowa coach, replaces Ritchie McKay.
On the statistical surface, the Lobos of last season don’t look so bad when it can to making baskets, putting up 75.3 PPG (third in Mountain West). But New Mexico was one of the worst shooting teams in the league, hitting only .459 of their field goals and a mere .661 of the team’s free throws. Their scoring defense was ranked eighth as the club allowed 73.3 PPG, notching a weak PF/PA margin of plus-2. Their rebounding margin was at minus-1.6, making them eighth. The Lobos were third in turnovers (12.3 TPG) and assists (15.1 APG).
Senior forward Tony Danridge (12.5 PPG, 2.5 RPG), who had an astounding summer season, looks to be a major contributor this season for the club and the college basketball betting odds. Danridge is a great jumper. Forward Daniel Faris (4.8 PPG, 3.4 RPG) blocked 25 shots in 10 starts last season. Frosh forward Monquel Pegues has a big body that the Lobos can use.
At the guard spot, there are solid performers. Senior J.R. Giddens (15.8 PPG, 6.5 RPG, 2.3 APG) could be an all-conference guy. A talented athlete, Giddens missed 10 games under McKay due to discipline problems. Two returning seniors—Jamaal Smith (8.0 PPG, 1.9 APG) and Darren Prentice (8.9 PPG, 3.3 APG)—will alternate at point guard.
The New Mexico Lobos have a new coach, a solid foundation provided by four returning starters and some talented new guys; this club could go to the conference tournaments. Although Alford comes to New Mexico with a fine overall record, he was only 61- 67 in the Big Ten and won just one NCAA tourney contest. It’s almost certain that these Lobos will be better than last season’s. But just how much better will the team be? Sixth, fourth or second place are all possibilities.