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It was a good day for national exposure for the University of New Mexico and even a better day for Steve Alford and his Mountain West Champion New Mexico Lobos as they were handed a No. 5 seed and shipped to Portland, Ore.
Thursday, the Lobos will battle Long Beach State, the No. 12 seed.
The value for a program falling into the NCAA bracket was reflected even before the NCAA Selection show began on CBS. Alford was the last live interview heading into the national show.
The Lobos didn’t have to wait long as his team was called early in the show.
The Lobos (26-9) will have to deal with the two-time Big West Conference Player of The Year, Casper Ware, who roared for 33 points to lead his Long Beach State 49ers (25-8) to a 77-64 win over UC Santa Barbara this past Saturday in the Big West title game.
Ware, a flashy senior guard, posted his third 30-point game of the season. The Lobos probably can’t expect Casper to be a friendly 49er, but Ware also will meet an extremely unfriendly Lobo defense.
UNM’s defensive pride was flashed this past week in Las Vegas when the Lobos slapped down Air Force and UNLV and routed San Diego State in the tournament championship game.
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