While it was Thanksgiving week, it was still a work week for the Lobos. Head coach Paul Weir said this week was for helping his team prepare for Saturday’s game against UTEP, but also to turn the page as a team. The Lobos had Tuesday off, but Weir held his weekly press conference that day.
The UTEP Miners are coming to Albuquerque for a 5:30pm game on Saturday.
New Mexico leads the all-time series 77-66. During their meeting in 2017, the Lobos left Texas with an 88-76 loss. However, when the Miners were in the 505 in 2016, the Lobos pulled a 78-77 victory. For the home team, Saturday will be all about defending the territory, since UTEP’s last win at The Pit was on Jan. 6, 2008 (73-60).
The Miners are currently 2-2. Their last result was a 66-59 victory over Easter New Mexico.
Trying to break a pattern
It’s a small sample size, but there’s something about the first four games of the season for Paul Weir.
Weir is in his second year as a head coach at UNM. During preseason, the coach said he did not want a repeat of last year when the Lobos went 6-15 through November and December. That season began in a similar way as this one.
New Mexico was 2-0 in 2017 until facing the New Mexico State Aggies and walking away with a 75-56 loss. This was the first of a four-game losing streak that kind of set the tone for the next few months. However, the season did turn around and the Lobos ended up making it all the way to the championship game in the Mountain West Tournament.
During his 2016-17 season at NMSU, Weir also went 2-2 during the first four games. After this, the Aggies went on a 20-game winning streak and eventually made an appearance in the NCAA Tournament.
Weir has been paying attention to how the first four games of the season seem to have a pattern of going 2-2. He said he is trying to make sure slow and inconsistent starts don’t become a pattern throughout his coaching career.
“You studied what I studied. I’m struggling. I did the same thing at New Mexico State,” Weir said. “I don’t know what it is about the first three or four games of the season, but clearly it’s something I need to work on. I felt the same way when I was the head coach at New Mexico State, I felt the same last year and right this minute I feel this same way… I gotta become a better coach in the first three or four games of the season.”
Weir was asked about senior Anthony Mathis and foul trouble. This is something he was also asked the week before.
“He gambles and does things he’s not supposed to do… we have to continue and coach him out of those,” the coach said.
He believes the point guard position is going to be ok. Not only does he believe in Mathis’ ability, there are also two other players who he thinks will improve with time. Drue Drinnon began the season having to sit out because of an injury. Weir said this slowed things down when it comes to his development and playing time, but that he expects to see a lot more from him as time passes. The third point guard is Keith McGee, who Weir said is still learning but that there is no doubt has a lot of talent.
Drinnon technically made his debut on Tuesday against Iona (only two minutes) but today he’s actually making his presence felt. pic.twitter.com/wXcxaHd1vl
— The Lobo Lair (@TheLoboLairFeed) November 17, 2018
It was a busy week when it comes to birthdays. Strength & Conditioning coach Tyler Stuart had one on Monday, Assistant Director of Communications Chelsea Pitvorec on Wednesday and Mathis closed the week with his 22nd birthday on Friday.
Lobo Talk schedule
The UNM athletic department released the Lobo Talk schedule for the men’s and women’s basketball teams.
Rio Bravo Brewery 7-8 p.m. featuring UNM women’s basketball head coach Mike Bradbury and men’s basketball head coach Paul Weir live with Robert Portnoy.
Call-in number: 866-350-4309