New Mexico vs. Utah State Preview & Score Prediction
Check out the New Mexico vs. Utah State game preview and score prediction
No. 3 New Mexico vs. No. 7 Utah State Game Preview
Date: Friday, March 9th
Tip-off: 9:30 p.m. (MT)
Venue: Thomas & Mack Center, Las Vegas, NV
TV/stream: CBS Sports Network
Projected New Mexico Lineup
G Sam Logwood
G Antino Jackson
F Troy Simmons
F Dane Kuiper
F Vladimir Pinchuk
Projected Utah State Lineup
G Koby McEwen
G Sam Merrill – scored 28 against Boise State in quarterfinals
G Diogo Brito
F Alex Dargenton
F Daron Henson
Why New Mexico Will Win
Apparently senior Joe Furstinger wasn’t ready for his college career to end Thursday night, knocking down 8-of-13 from the floor to hold off Wyoming in the conference quarterfinals. Furstinger’s game-high 23 points accentuates one of New Mexico’s biggest weapons – depth. The Lobo bench unit dominated the Cowboys 47-17, making all the difference in a hard-fought game.
New Mexico promises to test a Utah State team hot off an upset over Boise State. The Lobos split the season series against USU 1-1, losing to the Aggies on the road by nine and beating them on their home court by 15. Both of these teams like to mess around with sluggish starts in the first half only to clamp down defensively in the second, and Utah State is especially prone to prolonged scoring droughts when its backcourt is out of sync. Look for the Lobos to neutralize McEwen and Merrill early and seek a semifinal victory with key contributions from the bench.
Why Utah State Will Win
Koby McEwen might have the higher projected ceiling, but right now Sam Merrill is Utah State’s best player. Not that it matters to either of those two; the Aggie backcourt will steal the confidently-beating heart out of your chest and punt it into the rafters if you aren’t careful, and Thursday night Boise State let them hang around for far too long.
Utah State now enters uncharted waters, playing in its first Mountain West semifinal since joining up in 2013. Coach Duryea has caught flak all year for committing hard to the three-ball and dropping winnable games, but after coming up clutch Thursday night he’s garnered a fair amount of positive momentum. And what’s more – the Aggies have appeared to finally find their shooting touch in Vegas, notching 14-of-25 from beyond the arc against the Broncos. The Aggies are riding high on yesterday’s win, and that confidence mixed with regular second-half cold-bloodedness from their stars means USU is a nightmare matchup for anyone at this point.
New Mexico -2, o/u: 156
Utah State 83, New Mexico 78