New Mexico Primed for Final Four Run: Fear the Lobos!

Jacob Vander LoopContributor IMarch 1, 2010

LAS VEGAS - FEBRUARY 10:  Darington Hobson #1 of the New Mexico Lobos celebrates on the court after the team's 76-66 victory over the UNLV Rebels at the Thomas & Mack Center February 10, 2010 in Las Vegas, Nevada.  (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)
Ethan Miller/Getty Images

Kansas, Kentucky, Syracuse, Kansas State, Duke, Villanova, and Ohio State are all teams that have been regarded as being Final Four good. 

Why has no one talked about the possibility of New Mexico being a Final Four contender?

New Mexico is my more than a dark horse Final Four contender. For those of you who don't know much about New Mexico let me try and fill you in on what impresses me about the Lobos. 

To begin with, they are an impressive 27-3, first place in the super competitive Mountain West Conference. They are 11-2 vs the RPI top 100, including seven top 50 wins.

They have an out-of-conference win against Texas A&M while they still had Derrick Roland.  They beat California, Dayton, and Texas Tech while all were playing well. 

They have an incredible 10-2 road record showing their poise and ability to adapt to diffucult environments.  This was shown recently in their victory at BYU where the Cougars have one of the best home court advantages in all of college basketball. 

The Lobos are also a pretty experienced team, starting two juniors and a senior.  They have four players who score in double figures.  They have three guys in particular that can be "special."

Likely player of the year in the Mountain West Conference is Darington Hobson, the 6'7" long lefty who reminds me a lot of Michael Beasley. He is a double double waiting to happen.  Hobson averages nearly 16 points and 9 rebounds a game but more impressively averages 4.5 assists a game. 

Dairese Gary at the point guard position has put up back-to-back 23 point performances and can split defenses with blazing speed. 

Roman Martinez averages 14 points and 6 boards a game and shoots an absurd 42.6 percent from beyond the arc and has shown he can get a double-double on any given night. 

As a team the Lobos shoot an impressive 38 percent from three, averaging eight three-pointers a game, good for 19th in the country. They don't just settle for the three seeing as they rank ninth in the country in free throw attempts. They average 77 points a game. 

They grab 39 rebounds a game a ridiculous stat since their tallest player is 6'8". They are also a fantastic offensive rebounding team. They've shown they can go up and down with a team by beating Cal and sweeping BYU and they can also slow it down, as they did when they beat Texas A&M at full strength. 

Being coached by Steve Alford doesn't hurt either, who I think deserves a tie for Coach of the Year with Jim Boeheim of Syracuse.  The Lobos were predicted to finish fourth or fifth in the Mountain West and they have already clinched at least a share of the MWC title which is saying something seeing as BYU, UNLV, and San Diego State are tough teams to beat this year.

New Mexico is looking at a possible three seed in the NCAA Tournament, which would keep them out west for the first two rounds.  If they win out they could possibly sneak out a two seed giving them a chance at a great tournament run. 

They have proved that they deserve to get Final Four recognition.  If you discredit this team just because they play in the Mountain West or are not a big brand name team you could find your bracket in a whole lot of trouble. 

Fear the Lobos!