Basketball, like all sports, is a game of numbers.
The Lobos (10-2, 2-0) are in the midst of their best start to a season since the 2012-13 campaign. They’ve already completed a season sweep of the Aggies, upended their first Power 5 school since 2012, and opened their conference schedule with two wins.
In this time the Lobos have:
- Three Mountain West Player of the Week honors,
- Rank 2nd in the nation in free throws attempted and made,
- Rank 14th in total assists,
- Have three players in the top 30 in the nation across multiple categories.
All things considered, the Lobos have everything going for them. And on the horizon is the imminent debut of Vante Hendrix. While that will compound the playing time issues surrounding the current roster, the introduction of another weapon gives the Lobos even more depth.
In the meantime, the Lobos are staring down a very favorable stretch of games before conference play starts up again in January. The first of those opponents is Grand Canyon University (4-8, 0-0). The Antelopes enter play on Tuesday having lost three of five and are looking to right the ship before they enter their WAC schedule. Center Alessandro Lever leads the team with 14.3 points per game but is only one of four players averaging double figures.
GCU and UNM have met four times previously, with the Lobos leading the series 3-1. The lone with for the Antelopes came back in 2014 on their home court.
Reigning Mountain West Player of the Week Carlton Bragg is just one of the reasons the Lobos should win on Tuesday night. The 6′ 10″ forward is averaging a double-double through the first dozen games of the season. Bragg’s physicality and ability to make plays off the glass will be difficult for anyone on the GCU roster to handle.
If UNM can maintain their level of intensity through the next three games, they stand a very good chance of finishing undefeated in December. Potentially carrying a 13-2 record into conference play will no doubt give the Lobos plenty of confidence.
The game is scheduled for a 7 p.m. tip-off from DreamStyle Arena. The game will be broadcast live on the Mountain West Network and the Mountain West app.