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New Mexico at Purdue Preview, Odds, How to Watch

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A very dangerous New Mexico team comes to Mackey Arena Saturday afternoon.

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Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

After a pair of quality wins over Florida and Pittsburgh away from the cozy confines of Mackey Arena, Purdue has a nice, long, easy stretch of games until Butler in the Crossroads Classic, right? Well, not quite. This weekend the New Mexico Lobos come to West Lafayette, and as we will see, this is not a game to automatically mark in the win column. In fact, if Purdue suffers a letdown this could be very dangerous.

Opponent:

New Mexico Lobos

From:

Albuquerque, NM

Date:

12/5/2015

Venue:

Mackey Arena (14,846), West Lafayette, IN

TV/Streaming:

BTN

Radio Stream:

TuneIn

Satellite Radio:

SIRI 136, XM

Odds:

Purdue by 14

Tickets:

As low as $19 on Stubhub

Tipoff:

2:15pm

Blog Representation:

Mountian West Connection

2015-16 Record:

5-1

All-time series

New Mexico leads 1-0

Last Purdue win:

None

Last New Mexico Win:

12/23/1963 at New Mexico 63-61

2014-15 Record:

15-16, 7-11 Mountain West

Last NCAA appearance:

2014 (Lost 58-53 in First round to Stanford. 15 all-time appearances, never made a Sweet 16)

Coach:

Craig Neal (47-24 in 3rd year at New Mexico)

This might be one of the longest gaps ever in a home and home. The only previous meeting between Purdue and New Mexico came in Albuquerque Almost 52 years ago, which the Lobos won by two. That was long before Walter White built a Meth empire in the area.

Purdue fans might remember some more recent pain in Albuquerque. I am referring to Purdue's most recent Elite 8 appearance in 2000, when Wisconsin beat the Boilers 64-60 to deny us a spot in the Final Four in nearby Indianapolis. That game took place on New Mexico's home floor and still stings over 15 years later.

The Lobos themselves are an NCAA regular. They have never won more than one game in their 15 appearances, but last season broke a streak of three straight trips to the Dance and four in five years. They have been 12 times since 1990, so just about every other year they are in the Dance. In 2014 they were 27-7 and were a first round exit against Stanford.

Because of all that, they are a very good mid-major program. They are not going to be afraid to come into Mackey. So far their only loss was by 8 at USC on the road. Last year they were 14-7 and were a bubble team before falling apart and losing 9 of their last 10. The year before they won the Mountain West Tournament and had some nice wins over Marquette, Cincinnati, and No. 6 San Diego State (twice).

I think I am going to go ahead and sound the upset alert horn here, because they Lobos have some very good guards AND they have the size to match Purdue. First off, they also have a pair of seven-footers in Obij Aget and Nikola Scekic. Aget gets far more playing time and he averages 7.7 points and 7 rebounds per game. Joe Furstinger at 6'9" also plays a considerable amount, along with 6'8" Tim Williams, who is the team's leading scorer.

Williams, along with guards Elijah Brown and Cullen Neal, each average more than 17 points per game. Neal also adds 4.3 assists per game, but this is one of the best scoring trios in America. Here is what the Mountain West blog had to say about Neal and Brown:

Cullen is averaging 17 points 2.8 rebounds and 4.3 assists in 31.2 minutes per game while Elijah scores 17.3 points 5.8 rebounds and 3.5 assists per game in 31.3 minutes per game. They have become a potent scoring duo for the Lobos Brown had his career high of 31 points on 11/15/2015 against New Mexico State while Neal scored his career high of 29 points against Oral Roberts on 12/1/15.

During the first half of the Oral Roberts game in which Cullen Neal had his career high Lobo fans got a glimpse of how potent of a scoring offense the Lobo have when both players are clicking Neal had 19 points and Brown had 14. Both players are still in the infancy of their college careers but both have skills that can translate to the next level.

Neal stands at 6'5 while Brown stands at 6'4 both can player either of the guard spots which benefits the Lobos because when they are on the court they have two guards that can handle and distribute the ball while being able to get open without the ball.

Both Brown and Neal are the Lobos' top three-point shooters with 14 and 15 made triples, respectively. Sam Logwood, a former teammate of Rapheal Davis and Jay Simpson at LaPorte Lalumiere, relieves them off the bench with a nice 6.7 per game average. Aget also played with Davis at LaLumiere, so it is basically a class reunion on Saturday. Brown is also familiar with Indiana as he played a year at Butler in 2013-14 and had 9 points in 19 minutes in the Bulldogs' win over Purdue in the 2013 Crossroads Classic.

That experience from Purdue may help, as we have at least seen him before. For the rest of New Mexico, this is a dangerous game. They are 10 deep in their rotation and they have the size that can actually be a concern if you're a Purdue fan. Brown is the son of NBA coach Mike Brown and a legitimate next level type of talent. They have size, speed, scoring ability, and they like to get after it on defense. In fact, it might be fair to call them a Purdue-esque team. They also take care of the basketball and do well at the line.

Purdue needs to be focused tomorrow. New Mexico is capable of earning an at large bid to the NCAA Tournament and beating Purdue on the road would be a very nice feather in their cap. This is the type of game where, if Purdue has a letdown, it will lose.