Men’s basketball to challenge New Mexico

Fresh off their Saturday night win over Colorado State, the Horned Frogs are facing a schedule that will make it hard to close out the season as a showdown against No. 8 New Mexico on Wednesday night in Albuquerque looms large.

The then-No. 23 Lobos defeated the Horned Frogs (13-16, 5-9 Mountain West) in Fort Worth in January, 73-57. New Mexico (27-3, 13-2 MWC) is currently ranked first in the conference and defeated No. 14 BYU on Saturday, 83-81.

Horned Frog head coach Jim Christian said he hopes to use the Frogs’ last two games of the season, at New Mexico and versus BYU at home, as experience for his team heading into the Mountain West Conference Tournament, the winner of which receives an automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament.

“We’ve just got to keep getting better and get ourselves ready for the conference tournament,” Christian said.

Even with wins against New Mexico and BYU and two losses apiece by Colorado State and Utah, the Horned Frogs could enter the tournament at no higher than a No. 6 seed and no lower than No. 7.

With a loss to TCU, New Mexico would still be the No. 1 seed in the conference tournament.

New Mexico enters the game with the fourth-best winning percentage in the country at 90 percent.

The Lobos also have the conference’s second-best scoring offense behind BYU and have the conference’s third-best scorer in junior guard Darington Hobson, who averages 15.7 points per game. Hobson is also the Mountain West’s second leading rebounder with an average of nine per game and the third-best assist man in the conference with a 4.5 assists per game average.

TCU’s ball movement could provide the key to victory for the Frogs, as sophomore guard Ronnie Moss averages 6.2 assists per game, a rate that puts him at first in the conference. A big night from Moss could keep the Frogs in contention.

While the Lobos possess Hobson and a handful of other talented players on both sides of the ball, Horned Frog senior forward Zvonko Buljan said his team is up to the challenge.

“They’re the best team but they’re not unbeatable,” Buljan said. “We have to play hard, play together and make some shots.”

TCU vs. New Mexico

When: 6:30 p.m. tonight

Where: Albuquerque, N.M.

Follow the action on The Mtn. and KTCU FM 88.7 “The Choice.”