Utah State center Neemias Queta (23) and BYU forward Matt Haarms (3) go for a rebound during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game Saturday, Dec. 5, 2020, in Logan, Utah. (Eli Lucero/The Herald Journal via AP, Pool)
- Utah State is a 15.5-point favorite over New Mexico on Friday night in a Mountain West Conference game at the Rip Griffin Center in Lubbock, Texas
- Utah State is 5-0 in conference play and New Mexico is 0-5
- A look at the lines and odds can be found below along with analysis
Utah State will look to sweep New Mexico when the teams meet in the finale of a two-game series at 9 p.m. ET Friday in the Mountain West Conference at Lubbock Christian University’s Rip Griffin Center in Lubbock, Texas.
Utah State is 5-0 in the MWC and New Mexico is 0-5 after the Aggies drubbed the Lobos 77-45 on Wednesday night as 12-point favorites.
Utah State have won each of its conference games by at least 19 points and have a seven-game winning streak overall. All of New Mexico’s MWC losses have been by at a minimum of 13 points
Utah State is 8-3 overall and against the spread. New Mexico is 3-5 straight up and 1-5 ATS with two of its victories over non-Division I competition.
Utah State vs New Mexico Odds
|Utah State||-2500||-15.5 (-108)||Over 137.5 (-112)|
|New Mexico||+1200||+15.5 (-112)||Under 137.5 (-108)|
Odds taken Jan. 7 at FanDuel
Queta Leads Utah State
Utah State coach Craig Smith believes Neemias Queta his junior center, is a strong candidate for MWC of the Year.
Queta has played a big role in Utah State’s success this season. He is averaging 12.4 points, 8.4 rebounds, 3.4 assists and 2.6 blocked shots per game a year after being a second-team all-conference pick and making the MWC’s all-defensive team.
Neemias Queta with an amazing game tonight.
He averaged 15 points, 11 rebounds, 6 assists and 4 blocks (playing 33 minutes in a Win over Air Force).
An All Around perfomance by the portuguese Center of Utah State.
-ps: 2 steals in this game.
— Martim Figueiredo (@martimfs) January 3, 2021
The Portugal native led the Aggies to victory Wednesday with 18 points and three blocked shots. That came after he had a double-double in their previous game, scoring 15 points and grabbing 11 rebounds in a win over Air Force last Saturday.
Junior guard Marco Anthony leads the team with a 13.0 scoring average following a 15-point, six-rebound effort Wednesday. He is making the impact Utah State hoped after sitting out last season following his transfer from Virginia.
Though Anthony played sparingly on the Cavaliers’ national championship team in 2019-20, averaging just 5.4 minutes in 22 games, he has brought a winning pedigree to a good mid-major program.
#ProSkills Alumni Update:
Marco Anthony brings championship experience this season to Utah State, he also brings a hunger to get back on the court after sitting a year due to his transfer! You’re up @MarcoJAnthony @USUBasketball
— ProSkills Basketball (@ProSkillsEYBL) October 29, 2020
Though he is not duplicating last season’s performance when he averaged a double-double, junior forward Justin Bean has again been a solid contributor. He has averages of 11.7 points and 7.5 rebounds.
Freshman guard Rollie Worster has made an immediate impact with a 10.1 scoring average. He was a two-time Montana Gatorade Player of the Year while in high school.
In addition to having four double-figure scorers, Utah State is also strong on the other end of the floor. It ranks 38th in the nation in adjusted defensive efficiency, per KenPom.com.
2021 Naismith College Basketball Player of the Year Odds Tracker
Nomadic Lobos Struggling
On the other hand, New Mexico stands 279th in ADE and 240th in adjusted offensive efficiency.
It has not helped the Lobos’ cause, though, that they have spent the season away from their Albuquerque home. They have been playing and practicing in Lubbock because of COVID-19 restrictions in New Mexico.
The University of New Mexico’s basketball teams will be relocating to Lubbock and Amarillo, two coronavirus hot spots in Texas, because of relaxed COVID-19 restrictions https://t.co/yMBAd6c2Ep
— Sports Illustrated (@SInow) November 20, 2020
New Mexico returned only one starter from a team that went 19-14 last season, yet coach Paul Weir was hopeful the Lobos could round into a contender by the latter stages of this season. Progress has been minimal, though.
New Mexico played one of its worst game of the season Wednesday as its losing streak reached five games. The Lobos shot 26.8% (16 of 56) from the field and 25% on 3-point field goals (five of 25).
Reserve senior guard Keith McGee had a team-high 10 points in 20 minutes. McGee has been a rare bright spot recently as he also scored 14 points in 17 minutes in New Mexico’s last game against Nevada last Saturday.
This week’s @KKOBradio Call of the Week: Keith McGee for 👌 to give the Lobos a lead in the 2nd half!
Listen to every @UNMLoboMBB game live on News Radio KKOB. #GoLobos #WeAreNM pic.twitter.com/bBXvpmVcZz
— New Mexico Lobos (@UNMLOBOS) January 4, 2021
Senior swingman Makuach Maluach as the only New Mexico with a double-digits scoring average at 13.9. He also leads the team in rebounding with a 6.3 average.
Aggies Take Control
Wednesday’s victory gave Utah State five wins in the last six games in the series. That comes after New Mexico won three of the previous four matchups.
However, Utah Stat showed Wednesday night that it is clearly the better team.
Look for another lopsided outcome in the rematch.
Pick: Utah State -15.5 (-108)
John Perrotto has been covering and writing about sports for various outlets for over 40 years. His work has appeared in the likes of USA TODAY, ESPN.com, SI.com, Forbes.com, The Associated Press, Baseball Digest, and more. John is based out of Beaver Falls, PA.