Utah State heads to The Pit to face New Mexico on Senior Night

Utah State heads to The Pit to face New Mexico on Senior Night

Mountain West Basketball

Utah State heads to The Pit to face New Mexico on Senior Night

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Utah State at New Mexico: Game Preview, TV, Radio, Live Stream, Odds, More


Aggies can clinch #2 seed in MW Tournament with win


Contact/Follow @andrewdieckhoff & @MWCwire

GAME DETAILS

WHO: Utah State (23-7, 12-5 MW) at New Mexico (17-13, 6-11 MW)

WHEN: Saturday, February 29 – 8:00 p.m. Mountain

WHERE: Dreamstyle Arena, Albuquerque, New Mexico

WATCH: CBS Sports Network; Get a free 7-day trial of FuboTV.

LISTEN: ListenLive

ALL-TIME: The Aggies lead the series, 26-11.

ODDS: Utah State -6, per KenPom

GAME PREVIEW

Utah State will descend into The Pit on Saturday as they wrap up their Mountain West regular season against New Mexico. The Aggies can clinch a second-place finish in the league with a victory, but the Lobos’ seniors will be looking to make their final game in Albuquerque a memorable one.

The Aggies came into the season as the clear-cut favorites to win the Mountain West, but the team struggled to meet those expectations as they dealt with an extended absence from Neemias Queta and traversed some rocky terrain as they worked to reincorporate the Portuguese big man into the fold.

Despite those midseason bumps, Craig Smith has managed to get his club back into the NCAA Tournament conversation. The Aggies were one of the last four at-large teams in the current BracketMatrix projections, which reflect games played through Thursday night.

Utah State may not need to get in with an at-large bid, though. With the Mountain West Tournament on the horizon, the Aggies are looking to lock up the #2 seed and perhaps a slightly easier path through to the finals.

A win over New Mexico might trigger a rematch of the two teams at the Thomas & Mack Center next week, as the Lobos are a good bet to be the #7 seed if they lose. They currently sit tied with Fresno State in the standings at 6-10. The Bulldogs and Lobos split their season series, but New Mexico holds the tiebreaker by virtue of having a better record against Boise State. Fresno State hosts last-place Wyoming on Saturday, in a game they are favored to win.

New Mexico has struggled through the back half of a once-promising season that has been marred by injuries and off-the-court incidents. They have lost five straight games coming into Saturday’s matchup with the Aggies.

For all the turmoil surrounding the Lobos team this year, the team still has two seniors eager to make a good final impression in front of the home crowd at Dreamstyle Arena.

The soon-to-be-departed JaQuan Lyle and Corey Manigault will be honored before the game, but they will be more focused on earning postgame accolades as they look to play spoiler to the Aggies.

If Utah State manages to survive their trip into the vipers’ nest, they will take another leap forward toward securing a second-straight NCAA Tournament appearance. A loss to the faltering Lobos could sink those hopes, though, so the Aggies have much more on the line than just preferential seeding in next week’s Mountain West Tournament.

Andrew is a current USBWA member, covering college basketball for multiple outlets, including Mountain West Wire of the USA TODAY Sports Media Group and Busting Brackets of the FanSided Network. He also runs the Dieckhoff Power Index, a college basketball analytics system, and provides bracketology predictions throughout the season.

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