Lobos Draw Texas A&M in NCAA Tournament First Round
INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. — The University of New Mexico will travel to College Station, Texas to take on the No. 8 seed Texas A&M in the opening round of the NCAA Tournament. It’s UNM’s first trip to the NCAA Tournament since taking on Oklahoma State in College Station in the 2015 Tournament.
The Lobos and Aggies will meet on Friday at 1 p.m. Mountain Time. Oklahoma and Denver will battle in the other match, which will start at 10 a.m. Mountain Time. The winner of the pod will advance to the Sweet 16 in Florida May 20.
“Why not us?” said head coach Ben Dunbar when asked about UNM’s chances. “We have a lot of momentum. We were 6-1 in conference, we won the championship again. We’ve crossed the finish line plenty this year and the ones that we didn’t, we were extremely close against a lot of ranked teams. We are excited to represent New Mexico on the national stage.”
Senior Dominic West, a four-time All-Mountain West selection and the first-ever five-year letterman for the men’s tennis team, is excited for his first trip to the NCAAs, especially after the momentum UNM’s athletic department has had in 2021.
“Honestly, it’s great to see the success that everyone has had with everything that has gone on. It’s unbelievable,” said West. “To get the support from people like the football coach and the basketball coach and then you just feed off of all the other successes of the other teams, you feel like you want a piece of that.”
Overall, UNM is in its 13th NCAA Tournament, and the Lobos are 6-12 all-time in the NCAA Tournament. UNM and Texas A&M have never met in the NCAA Tournament. Texas A&M leads the all-time series 6-4, and the two teams haven’t met since 2007 when the Aggies took a 5-2 win over the Lobos in College Station.
The Lobos went 8-9 overall and 6-1 in the Mountain West, winning its second straight conference title. The Lobos also swept the 2021 postseason awards, winning Coach of the Year for Ben Dunbar and Player of the Year and Coach of the Year, which was won by Raul Dobai. Dobai became the first player in the league to sweep those two awards in 18 years.
Texas A&M went 16-8 overall and 7-5 in the SEC. The Aggies did go 8-1 at home and the lost in the SEC semifinals 4-3 to No. 1 Florida. The Aggies went 11-7 vs. nationally-ranked opponents, with the lone loss to an unranked foe being a 4-3 loss to Arkansas.
New Mexico went 1-5 against teams in the NCAA Tournament, defeating Grand Canyon and losing by 4-3 scores to Denver and Oregon and 4-2 scores to Texas Tech, Arizona and Arizona State.
“We go to College Station with confidence and belief and with motivation to put ourselves out there. We don’t want to be done yet,” said West.
New Mexico NCAA Tournament History
|1991||Mississippi State||L 3-5|
|Fresno State||L 3-4|
|Fresno State||L 1-4|
|1996||Boise State||W 4-1|
|South Alabama||W 4-2|
|1998||San Diego State||W 4-2|
|Boise State||W 4-2|
|2015||Oklahoma State||L 0-4|