UNM Basketball

V.22 No.13 |


All Hail Coach Noodles

Former assistant coach to Alford steps up to run the Lobo pack

It's official. Previously-titled UNM men's basketball assistant coach Craig "Noodles" Neal will take the reigns as the program's head coach heading into the 2013-2014 season. Neal quickly became a favorite for the position following Steve Alford's sudden departure from the position as he accepted the title of head coach for the UCLA Bruins.

Neal, who followed Alford to New Mexico from Iowa, has received an overwhelming vote of confidence from college basketball experts, as well as from players, fans and students at UNM.

Here's hoping Noodles' noodle is up for the challenge!

V.22 No.14 | 4/4/2013


Lobos Lose Steve Alford to UCLA Bruins

For how long shall we weep?

The news started pouring in on Saturday morning, first broken by Andy Katz via Twitter. The University of New Mexico men's basketball head coach Steve Alford will resign his job at UNM to take the reins at UCLA. Andy Katz, for those who might not remember, has a history in Albuquerque and seems like a natural voice to break this sort of news. Alford had, merely days before, signed a contract extension with UNM, furthering his time in Albuquerque by a decade. As the rumors flew back and forth regarding buyouts, betrayal and hurt feelings all around, both UCLA and UNM moved quickly to offer their official statements. Alford held a noontime press conference to get his side of the story out and it became official.

In the ensuing days, Athletic Director Paul Krebs named former assistant coach Craig Neal as the interim head coachand people have begun to speculate. Will Neal get that interim tag removed and become the next head coach of the Cherry and Silver? There are rumors that prized center Alex Kirk has told the University that he will transfer to UCLA if that's not the case. Of course, there are always clamors from all over the city to hire a big name.

The biggest question, beyond the next coach and the impact that will have on which players leave and which players stay, though, is the effect this will have on the team and its relationship with the city. Lobo fever was near its all-time high as the NCAA Tournament rolled around this year. People who hadn't cheered for the Lobos in years picked them as a Final Four team and bought tickets to the newly-renovated Pit in record numbers, averaging 11,000 season tickets sold per year. After yet another disappointing early exit from the post-season and the departure of a nearly uniformly revered coach, how will the fan base handle the change? Alford has already confirmed that he will take his son, Bryce Alford, with him to UCLA after graduation from La Cueva High School. And the reigning MWC player of the year, Kendall Williams, was himself plucked from UCLA by Alford, after the Bruins pulled his scholarship. In fact, the only other player, so far, to have committed to UNM for next year comes from California.

While UNM begins its search for the next person to guide the men's basketball team, Alford will be moving on to what he called, "the premier basketball program in the country." No matter how hurt any fan's feelings may be today, Alford should be recognized and commended for the job he did in establishing a winning culture in Albuquerque. As a fan of basketball, it should be acknowledged that this is probably a step up for him. As a fan of the Lobos, I'll look for a continuation of the success that Alford reignited in our city. And with a little bit of a grudge, I'll look forward to a UNM-UCLA match up.

V.22 No.11 | 3/14/2013


The (Late) Daily Word in a new pope, another bad cruise, MWC tournament

The Daily Word

Pope Francis’ first day on the job.

Also, apparently the election of Pope Francis has resurfaced a decades-old controversy surrounding the The election of Pope Francis, previously Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio, has resurfaced a decades-old controversy surrounding the kidnappings of two Jesuit priests.

Gov. Martinez has signed into law two bills to better protect police dogs.

Another Carnival cruise ship with another problem.

Another alternative paper bites the dust.

The president of Albuquerque’s city council thinks it’s time for police chief Ray Schultz to go.

It’s Mountain West tourney time, kids.

This map shows where all of your favorite TV shows take place.

V.22 No.9 | 2/28/2013


Lobos Continue to Rise in National Rankings

Alford’s pups aim for Mountain West Conference perfection

The University of New Mexico Lobos basketball team has continued to climb in the national rankings, rising to number 12 this week in the AP top 25. With only two games left in their regular season, now is the right time for the Lobos to be making that climb. On Wednesday, UNM plays at Nevada. While no team should ever be overlooked, nor any game looked past, the Wolf Pack currently sit in the basement of the Mountain West Conference rankings and have only won 12 games all season. If the Lobos can get past Nevada, the Air Force Falcons wait in Colorado Springs on Saturday night for the conference finale. If both of those games fall in the W category, things will look pretty good come Monday, when the next rankings are released, and it would be reasonable to expect a little bump before the MWC Tournament begins in Las Vegas on March 12.

The focus in the team's locker room, of course, will remain solidly committed to the sports cliché of “one game at a time” and never looking past any opponent. But that's not something that we have to pretend to indulge in, so let’s let the speculation run rampant! If UNM does what they should and wins out in Nevada and Colorado Springs, they'll have a clear path to a 1 seed in the MWC Tournament—not to mention the early rumblings of their deserving a 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament. If they can manage to run the gamut of the MWC, they'll earn the automatic berth into the Big Dance, and Selection Sunday will be an interesting day to say the least.

Of course, nothing is automatic. Nothing is promised or guaranteed. But, if the standings stay as they are, UNM will play either Nevada or Fresno State on March 13, followed by either San Diego State or Boise State on March 14. The path to the MWC Championship Game and the automatic berth looks possible. More appealing than the auto-entry to the tournament, though, is the prospect of reeling off all those wins in a row and entering March Madness with all that momentum on the side of the Cherry and Silver. While there will always be anonymous commentators who dismiss any non-major conference team's placement in the national rankings (don't even think about reading the comments on Gonzaga's recent ascent to number one if you want to retain faith in your fellow humans), the numbers are pretty solid on the side of the Lobos in this case. With an RPI of 2 right now, and a strength of schedule of 3, the data-driven amongst the selection committee have to be looking very hard at UNM.

College basketball is a game of runs and momentum. UNM taking care of business in its non-conference schedule was the first step. The Lobos are now close to finished with taking care of business during the in-conference schedule. Next up, the MWC conference tournament. After that, who knows how far these boys could go? With the right momentum, match-ups and seeding, it could be an unprecedented time.

V.22 No.3 |


The Daily Word in Charlie Brown arrest, tipsy parenting, what's the bird?

The Daily Word

Griego family offers a statement on 15-year-old Nehemiah, say he was a " bright, curious, and incredibly talented young man."

Man charged in shooting at a community college in Houston that left 4 injured.

Manti Te'o chats with Katie Couric.

Lobos host the CSU Rams at the Pit tonight.

Is it a turkey, is a crane? Mystery bird spotted at Bosque del Apache Wildlife Rescue.

Charlie Brown voice actor arrested with charges of stalking.

Tipsy mother of three got stuck in her son's high chair following a girls' night and had to be rescued by local fire department.

Who's excited for Iron Man 3? Could just be me.