#48 New Mexico Men's Basketball 2018-2019 Preview

New Mexico Lobos
2018-2019 Overall Rank: #48
Conference Rank: #2 Mountain West
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The expectations were very low for New Mexico during Coach Paul Weir’s debut season. But the Lobos finished third in the Mountain West with a 12-6 record, one game ahead of San Diego State who reached the NCAA Tournament. UNM got hot at the right time, winning seven straight games to finish the season until their 82-75 loss against San Diego State in the conference tournament final. But now Coach Weir will have to rebuild the program again with the loss of four starters. However, there is a lot of experience coming into the program and if Coach Weir can take last year’s team to a third place finish, he can take this team to the NCAA Tournament.
2017-18 Record: 19-15, 12-6
2017-18 Postseason: None
Coach: Paul Weir
Coach Record: 19-15 at New Mexico, 47-21 overall
Key Departed Players:
Sam Logwood, Guard/Forward, 13.0 ppg
Joe Furstinger, Forward, 10.4 ppg
Antino Jackson, Guard, 10.4 ppg
Chris McNeal, Guard, 9.5 ppg
Troy Simons, Guard, 9.9 ppg
Jachai Simmons, Guard/Forward, 3.4 ppg
Key Returning Players:
Dane Kuiper, Senior, Guard/Forward, 6.4 ppg
Anthony Mathis, Senior, Guard, 12.7 ppg
Makuach Maluach, Sophomore, Guard/Forward, 9.6 ppg
Vladimir Pinchuk, Sophomore, Forward/Center, 3.1 ppg
Key New Players:
Jordan Arroyo, Freshman, Forward
Drue Drinnon, Freshman, Guard
Karim Ezzeddine, Junior, Forward, JC Transfer
Vance Jackson, Sophomore, Guard/Forward, Transfer from UConn
JaQuan Lyle, Junior, Guard, Transfer from Ohio State
Corey Manigault, Junior, Forward, JC Transfer
Keith McGee, Sophomore, Guard, JC Transfer
Tavian Percy, Freshman, Guard
Zane Martin, Junior, Guard, Transfer from Towson, not eligible
Dane Kuiper is the lone returning starter. The senior wing averaged 6.4 points per game, but fellow senior Anthony Mathis is also ready to emerge as a leader of this team after averaging 12.7 points per game last season. Mathis connected on an impressive 47.3 percent of his 207 attempts from beyond the arc. If he can keep knocking down shots like that, Mathis will be one of the most dangerous shooters in the country. Makuach Maluach was a part-time starter as a freshman and proved to be a capable scorer from anywhere on the floor. The newcomers are what New Mexico fans are most excited about and three former five-star recruits could suit up for the Lobos this season. JaQuan Lyles comes from Ohio State where he averaged 11.4 points and 4.6 assists as a sophomore back in 2016-2017. Vance Jackson spent one season at Connecticut, where he averaged 8.1 points as a freshman in 2016-2017. UNM could also add Carlton Bragg, who spent time at Kansas and Arizona State. If Coach Weir clears him to play, he will likely be eligible in December after the first semester is over. Add in a trio of junior college transfers, including Keith McGee, and there is plenty of talent on this team. Coach Weir put together a solid team last year with less proven talent than this roster could have. If he can do that again, New Mexico will be pushing for a tournament berth.
Projected Postseason Tournament: NIT
By the Numbers:
Scoring Offense: 82.2 (22nd in nation, 3rd in conference)
Scoring Defense: 77.7 (297, 8)
Field-Goal Percentage: 45.5 (135, 6)
Field-Goal Defense: 48.4 (335, 11)
Three-Point Field Goals Per Game: 10.8 (9, 1)
Three-Point Field-Goal Percentage: 37.5 (60, 4)
Free-Throw Percentage: 77.7 (13, 1)
Rebound Margin: -4.2 (320, 10)
Assists Per Game: 15.9 (39, 3)
Turnovers Per Game: 12.4 (125, 4)