A preseason poll released Wednesday morning has the University of New Mexico men’s basketball team ranked 9th in the Mountain West Conference, ahead of only San Jose State. The same poll places Nevada at the top of the conference, followed by San Diego State and Boise State.
No Lobos were to be found in Mountain West preseason individual awards either. Preseason Player of the Year went to Boise State’s Chandler Hutchison; Preseason Freshman of the Year went to UNLV’s Brandon McCoy; and Preseason Newcomer of the Year went to Nevada’s Caleb Martin.
It should come as no surprise that the Lobos rank near the bottom of preseason predictions. Most analysts predict UNM to struggle this season as they adapt to a surplus of fresh faces. The team has struggled for the last several years and have entered a bit of a rebuilding era. Head coach Paul Weir is in his second season as a head coach and his first at UNM. In addition to a new coach, the Lobos will start 4 first-time starters as Sam Logwood is the only returning starter.
However, a new roster and coaching staff do not seem to discourage the Lobos much. The team’s goal during this offseason has been to reinvigorate a shrinking fan base. They have held open practices at local high schools and even proposed that fans help them rename their student section. Both the coaching staff and players appear to be confident in the team’s capabilities, with Sam Logwood and Paul Weir recently telling reporters that they feel the team will do much better than expected.
Fans also seem optimistic in the upcoming season. Though the preseason scrimmage Cherry and Silver game did not fill too many seats, it still had more fans in attendance than expected. Also, the Lobos gained many young fans and potential recruits in their open practices. Regardless of where UNM finishes, they will likely regain many of the fans they lost during the lackluster performances of the last three seasons.
The Lobos will have to wait until December 27 when they face Air Force to prove themselves against Mountain West opponents, but games against the likes of New Mexico State and TCU early on in the season should give fans an idea of how good UNM’s basketball team really is.
UNM hosts their first game against Northern New Mexico on November 11.Like this story? Sign up for our daily newsletter to get more of our best original news.