New Mexico vs. Utah State: Preview, TV schedule, live stream, radio, odds
The Aggies are looking for their third conference road win in four tries
Utah State currently sits at fourth in the conference.
WHO: New Mexico Lobos (8-9, 3-4 MW) vs. Utah State Aggies (14-5, 5-2 MW)
WHEN: Saturday, Jan. 25 — 2:00 PM MT/1:00 PM PT
WHERE: Dreamstyle Arena – The Pit; Albuquerque, New Mexico (15,411)
TV: CBS Sports Network
STREAM: Get a one-week trial of FuboTV.
ODDS: Utah State -8
Mountain West Wire lead basketball writer Eli Boettger recently pointed out a startling fact: only “five of the first 32 Mountain West conference games have been decided by single digits. The MWC is 32nd among 32 conferences in KenPom’s close game percentage metric (three of 32 games decided by four points or less or overtime)“.
In a league of blowouts, it almost seems more apt to ask which team will be the benefactor of the blowout win, rather than simply wondering which team will win.
But it’s not just a league of blowouts. It’s perhaps the most head-scratching, unpredictable year the league has seen in its 20-year history.
It’s a league where an Air Force team that went 4-7 in non-conference play (against Division I competition) has beaten San Diego State, UNLV and Boise State by wide margins in Clune Arena to move to a 3-4 start in league play. Two games prior to the 14 point loss at Air Force, Boise State had lost to Nevada 72-71 on a last-second three-pointer by Cody Martin. And of course, New Mexico pummeled Nevada and has since lost four of their next five games by 11 or more points while Utah State lost to the same Nevada team by 23 points.
Despite the general sporadic nature of the league, Utah State is clearly playing better basketball than New Mexico at this point in the season, but who will win between the Aggies and the Lobos largely depends on which New Mexico team shows up.
The big issue for New Mexico so far has been a staunch lack of defense, and an offense that has been progressively less efficient. If the team with sub-par offense and lackluster defense shows up, you can expect a big win for the Aggies. If the team that played Nevada shows up and adjustments are made throughout the game, the Lobos might surprise.
Meanwhile, Utah State has begun making a name for itself this season under first year head coach Craig Smith. With a newly implemented high tempo offense (95th in adjusted tempo per KenPom metrics) and a solid defense (25th in adjusted defensive efficiency per KenPom), Utah State has played the part of a top three conference contender this year with good consistency throughout both the non-conference and conference seasons.
Leading Utah State is junior guard Sam Merril, who is averaging 18.7 points per game on the year.
New Mexico is led by Anthony Mathis at just over 15 points per game.
Notably, the Lobos will be without forward Karim Ezzeddine, who decided to leave the program to play professional basketball overseas.