Nevada vs. Utah State: Game Preview, Odds, How To Watch, More
Nevada seeing if it can keep pace with Utah State
Aggies vs. Wolf Pack an underrated game
Utah State looks to keep the momentum going as the Aggies travel to Nevada to face a Wolf Pack team who is coming off a hard-fought loss against Colorado State.
WHO: Nevada Wolf Pack (9-8, 3-3 in the MW) vs. Utah State Aggies (11-9, 2-5 in the MW)
WHEN: Saturday, January 29, 7:00 PM PT, 8:00 PM MT
WHERE: Lawlor Events Center: Reno, NV
TV: CBS Sports Network
STREAMING: FuboTV — Get a free trial
Line: KenPom, Aggies 1-point favorites
While Nevada and Utah State come into this contest on opposite sides of the win-loss column, both teams are struggling on the year. Before Wednesday, the Aggies only had one Mountain West win and were rapidly sliding down the conference rankings. For Nevada, the Wolf Pack are toying with mediocrity, beating the bottom-tiered Mountain West opponents and falling to top competition (with the exception of Fresno State).
Nevada lost to Colorado State last time out. Nevada finally saw production from Desmond Cambridge Jr, who scored a team-high 23 points. The Wolf Pack will continue to lean on their guard play, hoping either Grant Sherfield or Cambridge Jr. get hot. Kenan Blackshear has emerged as the Wolf Pack’s number three scorer, averaging 13 in the Wolf Pack’s three games before Colorado State. Will Baker also continues to improve, scoring double-digit points in the Wolf Pack’s last four games. Nevada needs to continue spreading the ball around and work on making defense their identity if the Wolf Pack wants to make a push towards the top of the Mountain West.
Utah State had quite the victory when they faced San Diego State in their last game. The Aggies shot over 50% from the field in the second half in what would be a route for Utah State, beating a very good San Diego State team by 18. The Aggies are in their first season of the Ryan Odom era, following the departure of Craig Smith last season, who took Marco Anthony and Rollie Wrooster with him when the head coach left for interstate foe Utah. However, the Aggies show that they are ready to compete with the rest of the Mountain West conference, showing that in Wednesday’s win against the Aztecs.
The Aggies are led by returning 6’7 guard Justin Bean, who returned to Utah State as the team’s second-leading scorer. Bean now leads the squad, averaging a double-double with 18 points and 10 rebounds a contest. Brandon Horvath and Sean Barstow also average double-digit scoring for Utah State. One ace to look out for is Steven Ashworth. Ashworth only averages eight points a game but can heat up quickly. The 6’1 point guard dropped 17 points in Wednesday night’s win and scored a season-high 27 against Weber State. This is a cohesive Utah State team that will not let up and can hurt you in many ways.
Keys for Utah State
Utah State has to continue what they do so well and that is making opposing teams uncomfortable. If the Aggies can shut down Nevada’s scorers, then Utah State can force this game to go in any direction they want. The Aggies need to key in on Sherfield. With Cambridge Jr struggling in previous contests, Utah State really only needs to limit Sherfield to try to keep the Wolf Pack from scoring. This is easier said than done.
Keys for Nevada
Nevada needs to keep feeding people other than Sherfield and Cambridge Jr. While the plan may sound crazy, the Wolf Pack can never find long-term success playing only a 2-man guard game. Will Baker, Warren Washington, and Kenan Blackshear need to get more involved in this Nevada team want to improve and shine in late February and March. The Wolf Pack also needs to try to limit Justin Bean’s productivity. Not only does Bean score, but he also acts as a glue guy who does everything on the court. Either Kenan Blackshear or Desmond Cambridge has a big task ahead of them when looking to lock Bean up.
This will be a hard-fought contest, going down to the wire in Reno. Ultimately, Grant Sherfield and Cambridge Jr. will too much for Utah State. The Aggies will also be too relaxed coming into this contest, coming off their biggest win of the year against San Diego State. The Wolf Pack will take this one, 73-69.