Coach Steve Alford has broken this college basketball year into four seasons, and he is happy with the way his young New Mexico Lobos team has played in the first season.
``We've finished season one. In our first 15 games, we got to 12 wins again. When we make our shots,'' we're a very good team,'' Alford says of his team, which opens play in the Mountain West Conference on Saturday.
Alford considers the non-conference schedule one season, the MWC games as the second season, the MWC tournament the third season and the post-season tournament as the fourth.
Alford might just know what he's talking about. New Mexico is 11-1 when it shoots better than its opponent and 1-2 when the other team shoots better.
The Lobos are 12-3, and they are getting better. They start two freshmen, a sophomore, a junior and their only senior. UNM is classified as the youngest team in the Mountain West. Using the Ken Pomeroy experience formula, New Mexico is rated at 1.25 of experience, which puts them near the bottom in D-1 basketball nationally.
By comparison, San Diego State is rated with a 2.02 average of experience on the floor at any time. BYU is 1.86 and Colorado State is rated at 1.83.
But the Lobos haven't shown their inexperience at home. UNM has an 8-0 home record and has led every home game by at least 20 points. The road, where experience really counts, is a different matter. New Mexico is 4-3 away from the Pit.
In his four seasons at UNM, Alford has an impressive 36-2 record in the Pit against non-conference opponents.
Senior Dairese Gary has started in 112 consecutive games for the Lobos, the longest current streak in the nation. Gary has started every game for the Lobos since Nov. 21, 2007. But Kevin Anderson of the University of Richmond is only two games behind Gary and Michael Thompson of Northwestern is only three behind.