It may be flying under the radar, but Oklahoma State and New Mexico will end your basketball Saturday at 9:30 p.m. on ESPN2. The Cowboys have a good opportunity to get a quality win in front of what will undoubtedly be a pro-Cowboy crowd in Oklahoma City.
UNLV by virtue of their win over North Carolina would seem to be the Mountain West favorite at this point. But New Mexico should be right behind them along with San Diego State.
The Cowboys are in the middle of a pretty tough non-conference stretch. After tonight they’ll play Alabama and Virginia Tech (who they’ve lost to already) before New Year’s day.
Obviously there are enough big games on the schedule for the Cowboys to make up for a mediocre non-conference record, but winning tonight is still important. If they were to lose tonight it is very possible they’d enter conference play at 7-6.
One of New Mexico’s best players is UCLA transfer Drew Gordon (10.9 ppg, 9.6 rpg), a 6’9” forward and efficient rebounder. The challenge for the Cowboys will be to not allow Gordon to dominate the glass like Pitt’s bigs did. But then again rebounding has been Pitt’s calling card lately.
I’d like to see Le’Bryan Nash continue his improvement tonight, especially by getting to the free throw line more. He got there 11 times against Tulsa and eight against Missouri State, but only three times against Pitt. New Mexico sophomore Tony Snell (6’7”) is in the same sort of highly-versatile, wing-type player mold as Nash, so that should be a matchup to keep an eye on.