Undefeated Lobos remain unranked

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ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – The Lobo men’s basketball team is picking up major speed this year. After the father-son Pitino vs. Pitino matchup Sunday, the Lobos grabbed another win, and they remain undefeated at 11-0. 

The Lobos aren’t ranked yet, but they’re inching closer and closer each week.

So, what will it take to get the team ranked?

There are a few things that factor into getting ranked like the strength of schedule — who the Lobos have played compared to other ranked college teams. But, aside from that, this basketball team is still having a historic season already this year.

Last year, under coach Richard Pitino’s first season leading the Lobos – New Mexico finished 13-19. This year, the Lobos are undefeated, 11-0. We haven’t seen a Lobo team like this since the 2012-2013 season under Steve Alford.

Aside from their record, more proof of this historic run is the fans themselves. The Pit was nearly sold out with 14,534 screaming fans in cherry red – the largest number of fans UNM has seen since 2016.

“I just thought their energy just from the start, getting here early, creating that game day environment,” said Richard Pitino, Lobo head coach. “If we want to get back to where we’re trying to be it will be because of them.”

Even Richard’s dad, Rick Pitino, was amazed by the fans at The Pit. 

“It was a great atmosphere, I love this place. Not crazy about it tonight, but I do love this place, the fans are awesome,” said Rick Pitino, head coach of Iona basketball. 

The Lobos didn’t sneak into the top 25 this week, but they’re right on the bubble. Right now, the Lobos sit just five teams out from being ranked.

Lobo hype is taking to the metro too. Before Sunday’s game, fans were swarming a local store to gear up.

“We had a lot of people getting basketball stuff,” said Omari Wade with The New Mexico Look. “People just kept coming in telling me like ‘oh we’re going to go to the game.'”

Whether it’s the fans at the game, the community, or the Lobos winning record, this basketball season is just beginning.

Again, the Lobos sit next to just five undefeated teams in the country, and one of those teams is Mountain West neighbors – Utah State. 

Now, out of those five unbeaten teams, Utah State is the only team that plays Monday night. So we’ll see if they can pull off a win or if that number of teams drops to four.

The Lobos have another home game this Tuesday where we’ll see if they can keep that winning streak alive.