As San Diego State rang up its huge win streak on the way to a top-10 national ranking, it seemed almost forgotten that 2014 was supposed to be the year of the Lobo.

New Mexico had been picked to win the Mountain West. The Lobos were bringing in three starters who could start for any team in the conference. They would be fueled on disappointment following an embarrassing early postseason exit thanks to some Harvard boys.Yes, people seemed to forget. But as New Mexico pounded the Aztecs into submission on Saturday, they remembered.

Utah State (15-12, 5-10) heads to Albuquerque to take on the Lobos (21-5, 12-2) in their lair, as the No. 25 team in the nation seems to be coming into its prime. New Mexico is healthy and as formidable as ever. And the Aggies, on a three-game losing streak, are fully aware of the challenge ahead.

"I think right now, they’re probably playing better than anybody," coach Stew Morrill said. "They are just so effective at every position. They’re very, very good offensively and very solid defensively."

It might not be exactly right to compare the program to Goliath — it’s more like the Hydra: Cut off one part of its attack, and it’ll hurt you another way.

There’s Cameron Bairstow, the CBS national player of the week, who muscles his way into the paint with bulk unparalleled in the conference. If he’s stopped, which isn’t often, he can find playmaking point guard Kendall Williams, who can drive to the rim or pull it up. New Mexico has shooters who can get very hot from deep, or simply load up on points from the free-throw line.

The Aggies are painfully familiar with all of these weapons, which dismantled them at the Spectrum in a 78-65 loss last month. And the Lobos will have another option in 7-footer Alex Kirk, who has some touch for a player his size.

In the paint, Utah State will have to be ready to bang with the best big men in the league.

"We’re just going to have to make sure we’re on top of them," center Jordan Stone said. "We’re going to have to play better defense than we have. We’re definitely going to be physical and just try to keep the ball out of there. That will be the plan, I guess."