Justin Bean celebrates after sinking a three

Utah State forward Justin Bean (34) celebrates after making a three-point basket during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game against Nevada, Friday, Feb. 26, 2021, in Logan, Utah. (Eli Lucero/The Herald Journal via AP, Pool)

  • New Mexico State clashes with Utah State on Friday (November 19th, Noon ET) in the second round of the Myrtle Beach Invitational
  • New Mexico defeated Davidson in the opening round, while Utah State took down Pennsylvania in double OT to advance
  • Read below for odds, analysis and a betting prediction

It’s the Aggies versus the Aggies on Friday (November 19th) at the Myrtle Beach Invitational. Wait, what? Yes, that’s right, the New Mexico State Aggies will battle the Utah State Aggies with a spot in the championship game of the South Carolina event on the line.

New Mexico rallied to take down Davidson 75-64 in the opening round on Thursday, while Utah State needed doubled overtime to prevail over Pennsylvania 87-79 to advance.

New Mexico State vs Utah State Odds

Team Moneyline Spread Total
New Mexico State Aggies -140 -2 (-110) O133.5 (-110)
Utah State Aggies +120 +2 (-110) U 133.5 (-110)

Odds as of Nov. 19th.

New Mexico opened up as a 2-point favorite, in a game that features a total of 133.5. Tip-off is scheduled for Noon ET at the HTC Center, in Conway, SC with New Mexico State looking to run its record to a perfect 4-0 this season.

Comeback Kids

New Mexico State’s latest victory was cued by a second half comeback. Trailing Davidson by 5 at halftime, New Mexico opened the final 20 minutes on a 13-2 run to establish a lead they would not relinquish.

New Mexico State clamped down on the Wildcats in the second half, holding them to 31 points, and closed the game on a 10-0 run.

Four players hit double figures, led by leading scorer Teddy Allen’s 21. Jabari Rice splashed 17, Donnie Tillman added 14, and Johnny McCants chipped in with 11. They shot 49% from the field, and 44% from three, while controlling the battle on the glass and posting four more assists.

If there’s one area for concern it’s in the turnover department. New Mexico State coughed up the ball 14 times to just seven turnovers for Davidson.

Defensively, they held the Wildcats to 38.3% from the field, while blocking six shots. Defense is New Mexico State’s strength, as they rank 26th in the nation in opponent effective field goal percentage (40.2%), and top-30 in opponent three-point shooting percentage.

Bean Paves the Way

New Mexico State will have its hands full on Friday at the defensive end, trying to slow down Justin Bean. The Senior poured in a career-high 33 points and pulled down 16 boards in Utah State’s thrilling victory over Pennsylvania.

Bean has racked up at least 30 points in back-to-back outings, and is the first Utah State player since the 1980-81 season to post a 30 point, 15 rebound game. Thursday marked the 29th double-double of his career and his third straight to start the season.

He ranks third in the nation in both scoring (26.3 ppg) and rebounding (14.3 rpg), while shooting 64.4% from the field, and 60% from three.

Rylan Jones added 21 points for Utah State, while Brandon Horvath racked up 14 points and 8 boards. Despite Bean’s ridiculous efficiency, Utah State shot only 46% from the field and grabbed just one more rebound than the Quakers. They rank 106th in the country in effective shooting percentage, and 83rd in points per game.

New Mexico State vs Utah State Pick

According to KenPom, this game is virtually a coin flip. Utah State ranks 91st in overall efficiency, while New Mexico State ranks 93rd. New Mexico State holds the offensive advantage, while Utah State is a slightly better defensive team. Utah State has the biggest star in Bean, but New Mexico State has more depth.

Two factors ultimately point me to New Mexico State. For one, they’ve played a tougher schedule to start (UC Irvine, UTEP and Davidson) and have swept it. The second thing working in their favor is rest. Utah State needed two overtimes to outlast Pennsylvania, a team that doesn’t even crack KenPom’s top-200.

Pick: New Mexico State -2 (-110)

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Chris Amberley

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