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23. New Mexico

Craig "Noodles" Neal couldn't ask for a softer landing pad for his first head-coaching gig. Steve Alford left his former assistant a whole lot to work with, including Mountain West Player of the Year Kendall Williams. The Lobos will roll out an experienced starting five -- three juniors and two seniors -- anchored by Williams, the savvy court leader. Maybe the only dicey obstacle for Neal will be dealing with expectations. The Lobos are loaded and anything less than a Mountain West title -- and preferably this time, a longer March run -- could be a problem. -- Dana O'Neil


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