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COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. – This season, the University of New Mexico Lobos will be attempting to become the first team to win five Mountain West men’s basketball titles in the last six years.
And looking at the media poll, many people think the Lobos can do it.
UNM, with four starters returning for first-year head coach Craig Neal, was a near unanimous selection to win the Mountain West.
The Lobos picked up 23 of 24 first place votes and are the preseason pick for the league title, according to media members from around the league.
Along with the poll, UNM earned two big preseason individual honors. Kendall Williams was named the preseason Player of the Year, and he and Alex Kirk were both named preseason All-Conference.
Kirk, a former standout for the Los Alamos Hilltoppers, was an All-MW second-team selection following the 2012-13 season. He was also a U.S. Basketball Writers Association All-District selection and named to the MW All-Defensive team.
Kirk accomplished that after sitting out the 2011-12 campaign following back surgery. He is the top returning rebounder in the MW, ranking third last season with 8.8 rebounds per contest and was 13th in scoring (12.9 points per game) in Conference-only action.
In addition, Kirk was also second in the league with 36 blocked shots in MW play.
Joining Kirk and Williams on the preseason all-conference team were Anthony Drmic and Derrick Marks of Boise State, Khem Birch of UNLV and Deonte Burton of Nevada.
This year six players made the preseason all-conference team due to a tie in the voting.
San Diego State transfer Josh Davis was named Newcomer of the Year and point guard Kendall Smith of UNLV was voted Freshman of the Year.
In the media poll, the Lobos picked up 23 of 24 first place votes to finish with 263 points, easily ahead of Boise State and UNLV, which tied for second with 214 points.
UNLV picked up the only other first place vote.
San Diego State was right there with Boise State and UNLV with 212 points.
2013-14 PRESEASON MEDIA POLL
Rk. Team (First-Place Votes) Pts.
1. New Mexico (23) 263
2. UNLV (1) 214
Boise State 214
4. San Diego State 212
5. Utah State 156
6. Colorado State 142
7. Wyoming 112
8. Fresno State 96
9. Nevada 84
10. Air Force 61
11. San José State 30