20. New Mexico (17-3)
If we’ve learned anything this season it’s that it’s hard to win ball games in Albuquerque. It’s great to see Richard Pitino has this Lobos program back in business with a fantastic run these first few months of the season. They lost a few games to tough teams on the road but sit here a legitimate contender in the Mountain West with the calendar nearing February.
This week’s lone matchup came back on Wesneday, as the Lobos secured a 95-75 win at San Jose State. In securing a second straight impressive road victory, New Mexico asserted that they’ve be a player in this tough conference’s race. The Lobos got double-digit scoring efforts from all five starters in that win, led by 18 points from Jaelen House and a 14-point, 10-rebound affair from JT Toppin.
During this current four-game winning streak, the Lobos beat San Diego State and Utah State, perhaps the two best teams in the league, and then handled their business away from home. Competing with tough teams away from The Pit will be key for a team that certainly looks like an NCAA Tournament team here in late January. They get two more major chances at home, welcoming Nevada and Boise State to town in the week to come.