UNM men’s b-ball picked 9th in MW

-A A +A

The University of New Mexico men’s basketball team has been tabbed to finish ninth in the Mountain West this season, the conference announced Wednesday morning. Defending regular-season and tournament champion Nevada has been predicted to repeat.

The Mountain West preseason poll is comprised of votes by conference media members and was announced by the league at the 2017-18 Media Summit, being held at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino – Las Vegas.
The Wolf Pack received 19 of a possible 24 first-place votes and 257 points to earn the top spot.

Nevada was followed by San Diego State which garnered two first-place nods and 229 points while Boise State also received two first-place votes, 211 points and landed in third place.

Fresno State collected 188 points for the fourth spot in the poll followed by Colorado State (5th, 154), UNLV (6th, 138), Wyoming (7th, 133) and Utah State (8th, 102). UNM (93), San José State (41) and Air Force (38) rounded out the poll.

Under first-year head coach Paul Weir, the Lobos return just five players from last season’s squad that finished 17-14, 10-8 MW, and welcome nine talented newcomers that include six transfers.
Senior guard Sam Logwood is the only regular starter returning, along with seniors Joe Furstinger and Connor MacDougall as well as juniors Dane Kuiper and Anthony Mathis.

The five returners combine for less than 35 percent of last season’s points, rebounds, assists, blocks, steals, three-pointers and free throws. The stat shake up offers an exciting opportunity for this season’s newcomers to contribute immediately.

Four of UNM’s standout transfer players will be eligible in 2017-18 including junior Chris McNeal (Indian Hills CC/Western Kentucky), senior Antino Jackson (Akron), junior Jachai Simmons (Midland College) and junior Troy Simons (Polk State).

The newcomers look to add to the mainstay Lobo talent. Accolades for the transfers include McNeal’s status as the all-time freshman assist leader at Western Kentucky and Simons’ season at Polk State last year which saw him as the national junior college scoring champion in 2016-17.

The Lobos will kick off the season on Nov. 11 when they host Northern New Mexico at Dreamstyle Arena in UNM’s season opener.