NCAA Tournament Predictions: West Region 5. New Mexico vs. 12. Long Beach State

By: Kels Dayton

 5 New Mexico (27-6, 10-4 Mountain West)- The Lobos rolled through the Mountain West tournament, winning three games in three days and dispatching San Diego State in impressive fashion in the final. New Mexico has won 12 of 14 games, and has gone 25-4 over its past 29 games.

Forward Drew Gooden (AP Photo/Jake Schoellkopf)

New Mexico is led by a trio of capable scorers, including 6-8 senior power forward Drew Gordon, a UCLA transfer who averaged 13.4 points and 10.4 rebounds per game this season.

Sophomore guards Kendall Williams (12 ppg) and Tony Snell (11 ppg) make up a quality backcourt.

The Lobos could be a dangerous team in this region, especially if they survive Long Beach State and advance to the Sweet 16, where they will be much closer to home in Phoenix than top-seed Michigan State.


10th Assists per game (16.4)

29th Rebounds per game (38.0)

54th Points per game (73.2)

Stats courtesy of


 12 Long Beach State (25-8, 15-1 Big West)-Long Beach State has prepared all season for this moment, and now it’s time to put their money where their frequent flier miles are. The 49ers played the No.1 rated non-conference schedule in America, traveling to Pittsburgh, Louisville, Kansas, North Carolina, San Diego State and Montana, and playing Xavier on a neutral site. Long Beach only won one of those games–at Pittsburgh–but represented themselves incredibly well in every game they played. (LBSU lost by six at Carolina and by eight at Kansas.) 

Guard Casper Ware (AP Photo)

This type of schedule is reminiscent of Davidson in 2008, who also went on a traveling road show at some of the nation’s best teams, losing close games before coming back and whacking Gonzaga, Georgetown and Wisconsin en route to an appearance in the Elite Eight.

The 49ers are led by NBA prospect Casper Ware (5-10, 174 lbs), who averages 17.4 points per game. Senior guard Larry Anderson isn’t too shabby, either (14.0 ppg, 5.0 rpg, 3.1 apg).


1st Non-conference Schedule Ranking

40th Field Goal Percentage (.469)

43rd Points Per Game (74.1)

PREDICTION: Long Beach State 

Stats courtesy

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