Utah State advances to the second round!
Which Aggies will win?
Round, one of the Myrtle Beach Invitational, has come and gone – it didn’t lack drama with the first two games. Davidson and New Mexico State went back and forth the entire contest until the Aggies ultimately pulled away late. Speaking of Aggies, how about the men from Logan? Nothing came easy for Utah State as the Penn Quakers responded to every punch in the game. It took two overtimes, but the Aggies prevailed, as Justin Bean notched a career-best 32 points. It also means we get Aggies Vs. Aggies in the second round of the Myrtle Beach Invitational.
Game: Aggies (NMSU) (3-0) Aggies (USU) (2-1)
Time: 12 PM EST
TV: ESPN 2
Spread: Utah State minus one (Per KenPom)
New Mexico State key players:
Teddy Allen: The well-traveled Allen is one of the top bucket getters in College Basketball. Last year, he led Nebraska in scoring and NMSU with 22 points in the victory over Davidson. Allen is the player you want to key in on — he’s a total mismatch against smaller guards with his size and strength. When the 6-foot-6 guard is connecting on shots, it doesn’t matter if anyone defends him or not.
Jabari Rice: The 2020-21 Preseason WAC player of the year doesn’t have o be conference player of the year caliber for the Aggies to succeed. It’s a luxury having Rice as the second option. I’m not sure Utah State has enough guards to limit the scoring punch of Rice & Allen.
Johnny McCants: A super senior born and raised in Las Cruces, has been an integral part of the program for five seasons. He’ll be valuable here trying to contain Justin Bean, who’s formed into one of the conference’s top players.
New Mexico State isn’t only talented, but they’re experienced and incredible depth. Four of the five starters have spent at least three years in college, while two are in year five of college. Expect slow-tempo play with lots of three-pointers — New Mexico State attempted threes on 46% or more of their possessions in the past three years.
It’s clear Utah State goes as their starting frontcourt does — Horvath and Bean dictate whether the Aggies win or lose. Bean had connected on eight three-pointers, only three away from his career-high in made triples as a senior. Utah State’s star forward is one of the country’s most productive players in the first few weeks. Horvath, who followed Odom to Logan, is 8-14 from three this season. Having two bigs with knockdown shooting ability changes everything for Utah State.
When Rollie Worster left for Utah with former head coach Craig Smith, the future of the point guard position was left in question. Utah transfer Rylan Jones answered that question, posting 21 points and four assists in winning over Penn. They’ll need another performance similar if they’re winning against the loaded New Mexico State roster.
Prediction: New Mexico State 78, Utah State 71
I don’t doubt we’ll have a competitive game from start to finish — ultimately, the Aggies’ talent on the perimeter is too much to stop in my eyes.