I don't have a lot of time today, so I'm just going to copy and paste what I wrote about this game in the Cougar Sports Weekly I just sent out. If you'd regularly like this sort of analysis delivered to your inbox, you can help me feel better about this shameless plug by subscribing here.
I actually know the Lobos pretty well, having previewed them for College Basketball Prospectus 2011-2012. I expected more out of them this season, but they've missed Dairese Gary more than I expected -- the speedy point guard was their unquestioned leader. Still, there are plenty of excellent players left behind, and the danger is that at some point it just sort of clicks for them, maybe even starting tonight.
Guys to watch out for include Drew Gordon, Tony Snell and Kendall Williams. You might recognize Gordon's name; he played at UCLA for a year and a half before transferring to Albuquerque. He was a monster on both ends of the floor after sitting out the first couple of months of last season, efficiently scoring around the basket and rebounding everything in sight. However, he's been slow out of the gate, as New Mexico has struggled to get him the ball in solid scoring positions.
Snell is a guy the Cougars would do well to always know where he his, as he's an expert marksman from deep. He's tall, too, which makes him hard to disrupt when he catches and shoots. And Williams is a guy who will attack the rim with impunity, one of many Lobos who will do so.
It's going to be a tough game for WSU to win. If the Cougs can take advantage of New Mexico while they're still figuring things out, this likely will be a quality win down the road.