South - No. 7 New Mexico vs. No. 10 Stanford
Posted Mar 16, 2014

2014 NCAA Tournament Preview, Breakdown & Pick: South Region – No. 7 New Mexico vs. No. 10 Stanford

Line: New Mexico -3.5
Why To Pick Stanford: New Mexico might have done a great job of clamping down when needed to witn the Mountain West title, but can the defense handle the Cardinal O if it's working? Stanford might have been flaky over the last few weeks, but they've occasionally gotten red hot – blowing away Arizona State and getting by UCLA within the last month.
Why To Pick New Mexico: Will the Stanford that didn't show up in the Pac-12 tournament loss to UCLA struggle against the Lobo pressure? The New Mexico interior might be too tough for the Cardinal to deal with. If Stanford's shots aren't falling early, this could be ugly.
The Pick: New Mexico 67-62. The Cardinal will suffocate against the Lobo defense that will overcome a few long droughts. It'll be a streaky, low-scoring game.

New Mexico Lobos
Head coach: Craig Neal Record: 27-6 Conference: Mountain West

What You Need To Know: If you're looking for a sleeper in the NCAA Tournament, you've found it. After winning the Mountain West title, the Lobos have all the tools needed to make a deep run. They feature an athletic, slashing guard in Kendall Williams, a big, tough center in Alex Kirk and a wicked scorer in the halfcourt in Cameron Bairstow who can get teams in foul trouble and is relentless. Bairstow boasts an array of post moves that will confuse opposing bigs, but he also has a step-back jumper that is incredibly effective. Williams is a great passer and a solid defender who forces teams to guard the perimeter, and Kirk is a banger who cleans up the glass and won't back down from anyone. New Mexico isn't the most athletic team around and needs to play its style to win, but the Lobos are going to be a tough out.
Strengths: Assists, Assist-Turnover Ratio, Field Goal Percentage Defense
Weaknesses:Steals, Turnover Margin, Three Point Field Goal How Far Will They Go?: The Lobos will get past the inconsistent Cardinal, but the defense won't be enough to handle Kansas.

Stanford Cardinal
Head coach: Johnny Dawkins Record: 21-12 Conference: Pac-12

What You Need To Know: Stanford plays solid defense, while the offense has enough quality scorers to get by and does a good job of knocking down open shots. So why weren't the Cardinal more effective during the regular season? The team can get selfish during the course of games, and things tended to fall apart quickly. Guard Chasson Randle is a creative scorer who can get to the rim and is a solid three-point shooter, and he's a decent defender. But he can also allow his offensive struggles to get the best of him if he's having an off-shooting night, and that's where Stanford's trouble starts. Forwards Dwight Powell and Josh Huestis provide good size inside and help control the glass, and Anthony Brown is the kind of versatile player who can hurt opponents who forget about him.
Strengths: Three Point Shooting Percentage, Blocked Shots, Field Goal Percentage
Weaknesses: Steals, Assists, Free Throw Shooting
How Far Will They Go?: Even if Johnny Dawkins' club could fight its way past New Mexico, it's not going to get by Kansas. It's not going to get by the Lobos to get a shot a the Big 12 star.