Dec. 5, 2010
Whenever you think of New Mexico's men's basketball team and head coach Steve Alford, one tends to immediately think defense. In your face, nasty, tenacious defense. While the Lobos have been true to that mantra for the most part this season, New Mexico has been super tough in defending beyond the arc. The weekly NCAA stats list UNM as No. 3 in the nation in three-point field goal defense, allowing opponents to shoot just .227 from beyond the arc.
The Lobos have allowed just one team to shoot over 28% from the arc, and that was California, who went 7-for-20 in the only loss of the season for the Lobos. Four times this year UNM has forced opponents to shoot just 20% or worse, including three of the four games with Phillip McDonald back in the starting lineup.
"His presence," said head coach Steve Alford in referring to McDonald on the postgame show Saturday night, "and having him back in our lineup has been huge."
The Lobos also are among the nation's elite in defensive effective field goal percentage, allowing opponents to hit just 42.3 percent from the field, ranking UNM in the No. 27 spot.. Effective field goal percentage is a statistic that is gaining a lot of favor in college basketball, in which three-point field goals count as a 1.5 field goals to account for the fact that they are worth more than a two-point shot.
Many of these stats can be found at www.kenpom.com, one of the nation's top statistical college basketball sites on the internet.
This week's NCAA stats list UNM No. 43 in overall field goal defense with a 38 percent mark. The Mountain West has another team in the Top Five in that category: Air Force at No. 5 with a 34.8 percent defense. UNLV cracks the D-I Top 10 falling into the No. 9 spot at 36.0 percent and Brigham Young is No. 39 at 37.9 percent.