NCAA BK

Wed, Feb 6, 2013 - 9:00 PM ET
Game Preview
 

Air Force-New Mexico Preview

Share This Story

   
 

It's probably not a big surprise that No. 15 New Mexico is in first place near the midpoint of the Mountain West season.

The fact that Air Force is aiming for the top spot is simply stunning.

The Lobos have beaten the Falcons 12 straight times, including three dominant victories last season, as the teams head into Wednesday night's showdown in Albuquerque.

New Mexico (19-3, 6-1) has three returning starters from a squad that tied for the regular-season MWC crown and won the conference tournament title.

Air Force (14-6, 5-2) tied for last place in the league last season and was picked to finish at the bottom again in 2012-13.

Instead, the Falcons are in a second-place tie with Colorado State, one game behind New Mexico. Air Force is shooting a conference-best 48.4 percent behind top scorer Michael Lyons, second in the MWC with 18.1 points per game.

"They are coming to Albuquerque for first place," coach Steve Alford told New Mexico's official website. "They are loaded with seniors and this is the last go-around for these guys and they are hungry. They are a huge challenge to our defense because of the way they shoot the ball."

Air Force's last win in the series was a 60-51 victory Feb. 10, 2007. The Lobos took the three matchups last season by an average of 28.0 points as Lyons averaged 10.7 points and 27.0 percent shooting.

"We haven't had success against New Mexico, we've not beaten them," Falcons coach Dave Pilipovich said. "And that's an unbelievable venue to play in, it's just great for college basketball, it's great for the Mountain West. So we're looking forward to that game."

Air Force won its fifth straight Saturday, 70-67 over then-No. 22 San Diego State despite a 37-23 rebounding disadvantage.

That's a concern for Pilipovich, who starts one player taller than 6-foot-6. The Lobos have three starters at least that tall led by 7-footer Alex Kirk.

"When things go bad for us, it's usually because the lack of size and strength and usually the rebounding advantage will really hurt us," Pilipovich said.

"It's a good thing that New Mexico is pretty small, right? Their size and strength and depth inside is definitely a concern."

Alford, though, doesn't see his team's edge in size as a major advantage.

"We've got a 7-foot center who I think is really, really good," Alford said. "They may have experience. Every team has different tendencies, good and bad, but in this league, your bad isn't real bad."

The Lobos have won 10 straight MWC home games after a 75-62 victory over Nevada on Saturday. Hugh Greenwood scored 15 points and reserve Demetrius Walker added 12 in 18 minutes.

Air Force guard Todd Fletcher totaled 32 points in two victories last week. He's part of a senior class eager for its first win over the Lobos.

"We know how great New Mexico is but we're going to prepare like we always do," Fletcher said. "I mean, we were picked ninth in the league, so we have nothing to lose."

Tagged: Air Force, New Mexico

Related Stories

Member Comments

Please note by clicking on "Post comment" you acknowledge that you have read the Terms of Use and the comment you are posting is in compliance with such terms. Be Polite. Inappropriate posts may be removed by the moderator.

powered by



NCAA BK Videos

Georgetown, Syracuse to renew CBK rivalry Posted: Jun 10, 2014
Georgetown basketball coach John Thompson III on the renewal of the rivalry betw...

Cuonzo Martin new head coach at Cal Posted: Apr 16, 2014
Cuonzo Martin is introduced as Cal's new head coach.

UConn tops Notre Dame in women's final Posted: Apr 09, 2014
Hear from Geno Auriemma and his players after their National Championship victor...

More Than Sports on MSN

Fox Sports Store

    itemName itemURL imageSrc price itemDescription
    Nike Florida Gators #1 Replica Elite Basketball Jersey - Black http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Florida_Gators/browse/featuredproduct/885881/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_885000/ff_885881_xl.jpg&w=100 74.95 Nike Florida Gators #1 Replica Elite Basketball Jersey - Black
    Nike Georgetown Hoyas #22 Hyper Elite Road Performance Jersey - Navy Blue http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Georgetown_Hoyas/browse/featuredproduct/1030243/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_1030000/ff_1030243_xl.jpg&w=100 119.95 Nike Georgetown Hoyas #22 Hyper Elite Road Performance Jersey - Navy Blue
    Nike Duke Blue Devils #5 Tourney Takeover Replica T-Shirt - Duke Blue http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Duke_Blue_Devils/browse/featuredproduct/1032710/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_1032000/ff_1032710_xl.jpg&w=100 27.95 Nike Duke Blue Devils #5 Tourney Takeover Replica T-Shirt - Duke Blue
    Nike Oregon Ducks X-Ray Ball T-Shirt - Green http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Oregon_Ducks/browse/featuredproduct/1052002/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_1052000/ff_1052002_xl.jpg&w=100 24.95 Nike Oregon Ducks X-Ray Ball T-Shirt - Green
    Nike Ohio State Buckeyes Road Warrior Tri-blend T-Shirt - Scarlet http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Ohio_State_Buckeyes/browse/featuredproduct/1052645/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_1052000/ff_1052645_xl.jpg&w=100 29.95 Nike Ohio State Buckeyes Road Warrior Tri-blend T-Shirt - Scarlet
    Indiana Hoosiers 2013 NCAA Men\'s Basketball Road to March Madness T-Shirt - Crimson http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Indiana_Hoosiers/browse/featuredproduct/1124528/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_1124000/ff_1124528_xl.jpg&w=100 19.95 Indiana Hoosiers 2013 NCAA Men\'s Basketball Road to March Madness T-Shirt - Cri..
    adidas Louisville Cardinals 2013 March Madness #10 Premier Swingman Jersey - Red http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Louisville_Cardinals/browse/featuredproduct/1127200/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_1127000/ff_1127200_xl.jpg&w=100 89.95 adidas Louisville Cardinals 2013 March Madness #10 Premier Swingman Jersey - Red
    adidas Notre Dame Fighting Irish 2013 March Madness #45 Premier Swingman Jersey - White http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Notre_Dame_Fighting_Irish/browse/featuredproduct/1127218/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_1127000/ff_1127218_xl.jpg&w=100 89.95 adidas Notre Dame Fighting Irish 2013 March Madness #45 Premier Swingman Jersey ..
    Nike Gonzaga Bulldogs March Madness Bracketville T-Shirt - Navy Blue http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Gonzaga_Bulldogs/browse/featuredproduct/1155821/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_1155000/ff_1155821_xl.jpg&w=100 24.95 Nike Gonzaga Bulldogs March Madness Bracketville T-Shirt - Navy Blue
    Top of the World Miami Hurricanes 2013 NCAA ACC Men’s Basketball Tournament Champions Adjustable Hat – Green http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Miami_Hurricanes/browse/featuredproduct/1177723/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_1177000/ff_1177723_xl.jpg&w=100 25.95 Top of the World Miami Hurricanes 2013 NCAA ACC Men’s Basketball Tournament Cham..