Originally posted on The Sports Bank  |  Last updated 11/2/12
Welcome to The Sports Bank’s third annual college basketball season preview series.  Two years we looked at 99 teams in 99 days.  Last year, we were slightly more aggressive and expanded to 111 teams in 111 days and will do so again as we look ahead to the 2012-2013 season. We will rank the 75 power conference teams and top 36 mid-majors in reverse power ranking order.  We’ll break down rosters, transfers, incoming freshmen, non-conference schedules, and pick a player to watch for each team. With perennial top ten teams San Diego State and UNLV, the Mountain West Conference will be extremely competitive at the top this year.  The New Mexico Lobos figure to once again be in the title picture and should remain a player on the national scene. NEW MEXICO LOBOS Last Season: T-1st, 10-4 in MWC, 28-7 overall Predicted MWC Finish: 3rd Projected Depth Chart F/C: Cameron Bairstow (Jr)/Alex Kirk (So)/Nick Banyard (Fr) G/F: Tony Snell (Jr)/Chad Adams (Sr)/Devon Williams (Fr) SG: Hugh Greenwood (So)/Kory Alford (Fr) G: Jamal Fenton (Sr)/Demetrius Walker (Jr)/Cleveland Thomas (Fr) PG: Kendall Williams (Jr) Gone: F/C-Drew Gordon, PF-A.J. Hardemann, G/F-Phillip McDonald, SG-Dominique Dunning (transfer-UC-Irvine) 2012-2013 Outlook: The strength of the Lobos will be their deep and versatile collection of guards and wings led by Kendall Williams.  The 6’4 point guard can do a little bit of everything; distribute the rock, get to the rack off the bounce, shoot it from three, defend, and rebound well for his size.  Sophomore shooting guard Hugh Greenwood is another multi-faceted option who is actually the team’s top returning rebounder.  He is a better three-point shooter than he displayed a year ago and can also run the point if needed. If Steve Alford decides to use a smaller, more athletic starting five, Jamal Fenton or Demetrius Walker are the candidates.  Both players are quick combo guards capable of breaking down defenders and stroking it from deep.  Alford’s son Kory could factor into the equation after redshirting last season as can true freshman off guard, Cleveland Thomas. Due to his ability to play several positions, Tony Snell will be a vital piece of the puzzle as well.  Since he can play anywhere from the two-four, it allows Alford to use different line-ups.  Snell can also light it up from distance which makes him a tough defensive match-up for opposing defenses.  Chad Adams and Devon Williams provide more versatility on the wing. New Mexico doesn’t have a whole lot of size inside.  Cameron Bairstow was a valuable reserve a year ago and figures to compete with seven-footer Alex Kirk for the lone starting post position.  Kirk returns after missing all of last season due to a back injury.  He already suffered a sprained ankle injury during practice that forced him to miss the Lobos’ first exhibition game and keeping him healthy will be a key to New Mexico’s success since he is their only true center on the roster.  Freshman Nick Banyard is the only other real frontcourt option. Alford picked up a key transfer in 6-7 wing Merv Lindsay from Kansas.  He barely saw the court last for the Jayhawks and must sit out this season per NCAA transfer rules but should have a bright three years remaining beginning in 2013-14. The Lobos don’t have the talent that the Aztecs or Rebels do this year but I certainly wouldn’t count out Alford from keeping New Mexico tight in the conference race. Player to Watch: Tony Snell Because New Mexico doesn’t have a whole lot of size or depth inside, Snell’s ability to play some four might be the x-factor this season.  Defensively he may struggle guarding bigger, stronger posts but his ability to handle the ball on offense will allow his quickness to take advantage of those slower bigs.  He showed solid development from year one to year two and if that trend continues during his junior campaign, Snell will really make a name for himself. Key Non-Conference Games: 11/13 vs. Davidson 11/16 vs. UC-Irvine (Paradise Jam) 11/18 vs. George Mason/Mercer (Paradise Jam) 11/19 vs. UConn/Wake Forest/Iona/Quinnipiac (Paradise Jam) 12/1 at Indiana State (MWC/MVC Challenge) 12/5 vs. USC 12/8 vs. Valparaiso 12/15 vs. New Mexico State 12/19 at New Mexico State 12/27 at Cincinnati 12/31 at St. Louis OTHER 111 IN 111′S: #31 Georgetown Hoyas #32 North Texas Mean Green #33 Ohio Bobcats #34 Texas Longhorns #35 Miami Hurricanes #36 Purdue Boilermakers #37 Alabama Crimson Tide #38 St. Joseph’s Hawks #39 Murray State Racers #40 VCU Rams #41 Davidson Wildcats #42 Stanford Cardinal #43 UMass Minutemen #44 St. John’s Red Storm #45 Butler Bulldogs #46 Florida State Seminoles #47 Drexel Dragons #48 St. Louis Billikens #49 West Virginia Mountaineers #50 BYU Cougars #51 Temple Owls #52 Washington Huskies #53 California Golden Bears #54 Kansas State Wildcats #55 Nevada Wolfpack #56 Colorado Buffaloes #57 Iowa State Cyclones #58 Northern Iowa Panthers #59 Colorado State Rams #60 Iowa Hawkeyes #61 South Florida Bulls #62 Valparaiso Crusaders #63 Illinois Fighting Illini #64 Arkansas Razorbacks #65 Wichita State Shockers #66 George Mason Patriots #67 Virginia Cavaliers #68 Villanova Wildcats #69 Maryland Terrapins #70 Marshall Thundering Herd #71 Iona Gaels #72 Northwestern Wildcats #73 Oklahoms State Cowboys #74 Rutgers Scarlet Knights #75 USC Trojans #76 UConn Huskies #77 Harvard Crimson #78 Xavier Musketeers #79 Ole Miss Rebels #80 Clemson Tigers #81 Oregon State Beavers #82 Texas A&M Aggies #83 Providence Friars #84 Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets #85 Oklahoma Sooners #86 Lehigh Mountain Hawks #87 Washington State Cougars #88 Long Beach State 49ers #89 Belmont Bruins #90 Vanderbilt Commodores #91 Dayton Flyers #92 Houston Cougars #93 UCF Knights #94 Old Dominion Monarchs #95 Oregon Ducks #96 LSU Tigers #97 South Carolina Gamecocks #98 Seton Hall Pirates #99 Georgia Bulldogs #100 DePaul Blue Demons #101 Boston College Eagles #102 Penn State Nittany Lions #103 Arizona State Sun Devils #104 Virginia Tech Hokies #105 Texas Tech Red Raiders #106 Auburn Tigers #107 Wake Forest Demon Deacons #108 TCU Horned Frogs #109 Mississippi State Bulldogs #110 Utah Utes #111 Nebraska Cornhuskers David Kay is a senior feature NBA Draft, NBA, and college basketball writer for the Sports Bank.  He also heads up the NBA and college basketball material at Walter Football.com and is a former contributor at The Washington Times Communities.  David has appeared on numerous national radio programs spanning from Cleveland to New Orleans to Honolulu.  He also had the most accurate 2011 NBA Mock Draft and the most accurate 2012 NBA Mock Draft on the internet (Yup, repeat champ… #humblebrag.) You can follow him on Twitter at David_Kmiecik.
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