The Wyoming Cowboys haven't won in conference play and have yet to win a true road game this season.

On Saturday, the University of New Mexico men's basketball team will try to keep it that way.

For all the recent problems the Lobos have faced, Wyoming has almost certainly had things worse. And New Mexico (8-9, 2-3 MW) probably couldn't ask for a better opponent to "get right" against and end its current three-game slide.



The Lobos have an opportunity to even up both its overall record and in Mountain West play if they can secure a win against Wyoming, which is tied for last place in the conference standings.

Wyoming is 4-13 overall on the season and has lost four straight games entering Saturday — all of which were in conference and all double-digit losses. The Cowboys most recent blemish was a 71-55 home defeat at the hands of Utah State, spoiling a 27-point from senior guard Justin James — who led all scorers.

New Mexico began the Mountain West slate 2-0, including a blowout win over the conference's top squad, Nevada. But three straight double-digits losses has buried the Lobos in the bottom half of the standings. UNM has held in check on the road by San Diego State, which bested the Lobos 97-77 on Jan. 15.

The game will feature two of the more prolific scorers in the Mountain West. James leads the conference in scoring average with 21.1 points per game, while UNM's Anthony Mathis checks in with a 16.2 point average — doing so in far fewer minutes played. Mathis is the top 3-point shooter in the league, registering nearly four makes from long range per contest.

UNM has appeared to struggle on both sides of the ball, relenting the paint due to its lack of ability to stop penetration and consistently rebound the basketball. James is also the Mountain West's third-highest rebounding player — hauling in 9.3 boards per game.

New Mexico's depth got thinned out a little bit after the university announced junior transfer Karim Ezzeddine's decision to leave the program and pursue opportunities to play overseas.  Ezzeddine averaged just 4.3 points and 3.6 rebounds per game, but also saw a drastic reduction in minutes over the past four games compared to earlier in the season.. 

But the game could come down to which of those two men get more help from the supporting cast. Both are streaky shooters who can get a hot hand and carry a team, but haven't gotten many positive results when either has gone cold and needed teammates to help carry the load.

One area of concern for the Cowboys has been ball protection.

Wyoming has committed 15 or more turnovers in three of the last four games and its opponents have capitalized on the mistakes. That could bode well for New Mexico, which generates over seven steals per contest.

A couple of players to keep an eye on include Vance Jackson and Makauch Maluach — a pair of UNM scorers that have the ability to get into a rhythm. Hunter Thompson has been the team's second most productive scorer, but Trevon "TJ" Taylor has registered a couple of solid performances recently and might be a factor on Saturday.

One team will be fortunate enough to end its losing skid, while the other will have things that much tougher after suffering another setback.

The matchup will take place at Dreamstyle Arena aka The Pit and is scheduled for a 4 p.m. tip-off. The game will be televised on ESPN3 and will be broadcast on the radio on 770 KKOB.

Robert Maler is the sports editor for the Daily Lobo. He primarily covers basketball and baseball and contributes content for various other sports as well. He can be contacted at sports@dailylobo.com or on Twitter @Robert_Maler.