New Mexico comes into the tournament as one of the hottest teams in the country. They have won 20 of their last 23 games, the most impressive win coming in the conference championship game against eventual 4 seed San Diego State. This team has the vast majority of its team returning from last season’s team that had hype going into the tournament only to suffer a first round loss to Harvard. The Stanford Cardinal were a bubble team headed into the PAC-12 conference tournament. It appears as if a run to the semi finals was enough to earn them an at large bid.
Stanford is led by star Chasson Randle who averages nearly 19 points per game while logging 35 minutes per game. He is a versatile player who scores in bunches and went to the foul line over 200 times on the season while shooting over 76%. He is a lethal outside shooter as evidenced by the 62 three pointers he hit throughout the season. Dwight Powell is a strong interior presence scoring over 14 points per game to go along with nearly 7 rebounds per game. He forms a dangerous big man combination with Josh Huestis who averages over 11 points and 9 rebounds per contest. The two are tough on the boards and require the full attention of opposing defenses. Anthony Brown is the team’s final double-digit scorer. He is a glue guy that keeps the team together, especially in tough situations. They are also a reflection of their coach Johnny Dawkins who had to pick of the pieces of the program and basically start from the beginning. He learned a lot over his years as a Duke assistant and his value shows in the production and execution his team displays.
At any level of basketball, point guard is a vital position and the Lobos have one of the best in Kendall Williams who averages over 16 points per game and just shy of 9 assists per game. He is a pass first point guard who is also more than capable of putting the ball in the basket himself. He is someone who can break down the defense late in the shot clock and create a play for teammates or score the ball himself. He will be the best player on the court at all times. They also have an intimidating big man in senior Cameron Bairstow who averages over 20 points per game while pulling down over 7 rebounds per game. He forms a good combination with Alex Kirk who is a & footer who alters shots around the basket and anchors the teams defense. Hugh Greenwood is somebody whose contributions will not show up on a stat sheet however he will dive on loose balls and create opportunities for teammates. This is the type of team that could go to a final four just as easily as they could lose in the first round.
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