The first two and last three seeds for the Mountain West Conference Tournament are set, with Nevada and Boise State at the top and Air Force, Colorado State and San Jose State at the bottom.
Fresno State could be a No. 3, it could be a No. 4 or it could be a No. 5, but with all of the machinations to come on a busy Saturday in the Mountain West, coach Rodney Terry is worried only about New Mexico, which has put up an average of 99.0 points in a four-game winning streak and poses a lot of problems for the Bulldogs in their second game without injured point guard Jaron Hopkins.
"Good team playing really well, probably playing the best of any team in our league right now," Terry said. "That team is well-coached, they can score the basketball. They'll put a lot of pressure on us. They're going to play hard for 40 minutes, we're going to have to try to play hard for 40 minutes ..."
New Mexico also is deeper than it was in the middle of January, when the Bulldogs beat them 89-80 at the Save Mart Center.
Guard Sam Logwood is back in the rotation, as is Troy Simons, and the Lobos in that winning streak have hit 54.5 percent of their shots, 42.1 percent of their 3-pointers and have taken 27.5 free throws per game.
New Mexico also has forced 17.8 turnovers per game, which could be the most pressing problem for the Bulldogs with Hopkins off the floor due to the right foot injury he suffered against Wyoming.
Over the past three full halves of basketball the Bulldogs have turned it over on 19.3 percent of their possessions, up from 15.2 on the season.
And the Lobos can magnify any mistake, quickly.
New Mexico is coming off a 108-87 victory at Colorado State and the Rams didn't put much into that game — the Lobos were up by 11 less than five minutes in, up by 20 less than 10 minutes in and hit 26 of their first 36 shots, a ridiculous 72.2 percent.
But here's the stat line that worries Fresno State: New Mexico scored 34 points off 19 turnovers.
"They pressure you up the floor the whole time," Terry said. "You have to be strong with the ball. You have to have a short memory, too. You can't turn it over, but when you do or you have a bad play you have to move on to the next play.
"All of our guys are going to have to handle the basketball, even Bryson (Williams) is going to have to handle the basketball. We played them the first time around, their pressure is good and it's probably a little more at home. You have to be able to handle it."
A victory at Dreamstyle Arena and the Bulldogs will be the No. 3 seed — Fresno State and the Lobos are tied for third at 11-6 in conference play.
A loss and Fresno State would drop to No. 4, and a loss and a Wyoming victory at Boise State would put the Bulldogs into the No. 5 seed.
"We just control what we can control," Terry said. "We control our own destiny in terms of what we do and where we go. We can't depend on anyone else. We have to do our own deal.
"We've been playing tournament basketball for the past two weeks. You can't just wait until March and say, 'Oh, we've got to start playing tournament basketball.' I've tried to get these guys' minds to where it's, 'We're playing right now.' This time of year you have to finish and advance."
Fresno State: 21, 9, 11-6 in the MW
New Mexico: 16-14, 11-6
The line: Pick 'em
Deshon Taylor the past two games: 3 of 18, 2 of 10 at the 3-point line, 8.0 points per game. He scored nine in a loss to Wyoming and seven in a victory at Air Force, the first time he has not been in double-digits in back-to-back games since he became a fixture in the Bulldogs' lineup six games into conference play, a year ago.
He also has been playing banged-up, with a left hand injury and an assortment of bumps and bruises big and small. Not all have been caused by the opposition: In the Bulldogs' game against Wyoming, Taylor went to give Sam Bittner a high-five after a nice defensive play and caught Bittner's slap on the forehead instead of his hand.
Taylor's production and the injuries are why he was given time off his feet in the five-day break between a Monday game at Air Force and Saturday's game at New Mexico.
"He has had two days where we've had a chance to give him some time to rest and rehab so he'll be ready to roll," Terry said. "He was sharp (in practice Thursday). He's fine. Ray (Bowles Jr.) has had two days. Those are two guys that have logged a lot of minutes all year, so I think it's going to help both of those guys.
"They were a little nicked up so I think it will help those guys be fresh."
FRESNO STATE AT NEW MEXICO
- Saturday: 6 p.m. at Dreamstyle Arena/The Pit, Albuquerque
- TV/radio: ESPN3/KFIG (AM ESPN 940)
- Records: Bulldogs 21-9, 11-6 Mountain West; Lobos 16-14, 11-6
- Of note: The Lobos moved into a tie for third in the Mountain West with the Bulldogs by beating Colorado State 108-87 on Wednesday, New Mexico’s fourth straight win after a stretch of losing three of four. The Bulldogs won the first meeting 89-80 on Jan. 13 at Save Mart Center. Deshon Taylor led the Bulldogs with 22 points, going 9 of 12 from the foul line. But the Lobos didn’t have an answer for Bryson Williams inside. The Roosevelt High School grad hit 7 of 9 shots in scoring 15 points and had three assists. Fresno State hit 32 of 49 shots, 65.3 percent, in the victory. The Lobos are 12-4 at home, including an 89-73 loss to Arizona, one of four Power Five conference opponents this season (all losses).