Missed Opportunities for New Mexico at Colorado

Colorado Buffaloes

Rainman M.

Wednesday, December 6, 2017 3:04 PM GMT

Wednesday, Dec. 6, 2017 3:04 PM GMT

Colorado (6-1) hosts New Mexico (3-5) tonight at 9 ET. The Buffaloes are favored by 8.

New Mexico Lobos vs Colorado Buffaloes

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Free NCAAB Pick: Colorado -8Best Line Offered: at HeritageNew Mexico

Elijah Brown with his 18 points per game is New Mexico's greatest departure. The Lobos miss three starters from last year including their top two scorers. Their coach, Paul Weir, is a new, unproven arrival from New Mexico State, who prefers a much more up-tempo play style.

Anthony Mathis is the Lobos' only true returning guard. He's finally able to stay on the court this season and develop his shooting numbers. Mathis ranks 113rd in averaging 48% from three.

Chris McNeal arrives from community college with the objective from Weir to shoot a lot of threes. He leads the team in three-point attempts, but is only hitting 37%. Weir intended Dane Kuiper to start at forward, but he is hitting only 21% of his threes. His poor shooting leaves the starting lineup with a question mark, with Troy Simons and Antino Jackson shooting 35 or 36% from three.

Power forward Sam Longwood is New Mexico's top returning scorer. He leads the team with 16 points and 5 rebounds per game.

Colorado

Four starters departed from Colorado, three of whom were seniors, including point guard Derrick White, who led the team with 18 points per game.

Freshman McKinley Wright came to Colorado because he wanted to start immediately. White's replacement leads the team in minutes and possession and is second in shots. The versatile playmaker is shooting 43% from three and distributing the ball, ranking 162nd in assist rate.

White, and now McKinley, bumped Dominique Collier from point guard. Collier has struggled in transitioning to shooting guard. So Deleon Brown starts at the position and will try to bounce back from two consecutive poor shooting nights. Another unproven guard, Namon Wright, a transfer from Missouri, is more successful with 11 points per game. Collier, Brown and Wright would benefit from shooting fewer threes and driving closer to the basket, where they are more effective.

Senior George King is Colorado's leading returning scorer and top shot-taker. The versatile forward shoots 40% from three and 60% from two. He leads the team with 8 rebounds per game.

The Verdict

New Mexico loves to shoot threes. They rank 14th in three-pointers attempted per field goals attempted. Colorado, who defends the perimeter poorly, ranking 273rd in opposing three-pointers attempted, will give the Lobos ample opportunity. However, the Lobos' shooters aren't reliable. Their top 4 players in terms of minutes played average less than 40% from three.

Without the guard play to exploit Colorado's defensive weakness from the perimeter, the Lobos will miss their opportunity.

Colorado should dominate the interior. Due to their lack of size and strength inside, New Mexico's defense ranks 319th in free throws allowed. Colorado's offense ranks 78th in drawing free throws, led by 246 pound center Tory Miller-Stewart, who ranks 329th in fouls drawn. Colorado enjoys a similarly great statistical advantage in rebounding. Colorado can dominate inside with King, whose counterpart Longwood is much more of a scorer than a defender, and Miller-Stewart against a Lobos' defense that ranks 215th in opposing 2-point %. If Collier, Brown and Wright drive more frequently inside to exploit the Lobos' defensive weakness, then Colorado can dominate even more clearly on our NCAAB Picks.

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