UTAH STATE AGGIES

Bovine Blog: Previewing New Mexico Lobos At No. 22 Utah State

Mar 7, 2024, 9:06 PM

LOGAN, Utah— Utah State men’s basketball takes its Mountain West postseason destiny into its own hands when it takes on New Mexico at the Dee Glen Smith Spectrum this weekend. If they pay the rent with a win, USU will enter the Mountain West Championships as the No. 1 seed.

The No. 22 Aggies (25-5, 13-4) host the New Mexico Lobos (22-8, 10-7) on Saturday, March 9. Tip-off is at 6:30 p.m. MT.

RELATED: USU Clinches Share Of Mountain West Regular Season Crown

With the win over San Jose State earlier in the week, the Aggies clinched at least a share of the Mountain West title. Danny Sprinkle became the fourth head coach in Mountain West history to lead his team to a regular season title in their first year leading the program.

  • Danny Sprinkle (Utah State), 2023-24
  • Craig Smith (Utah State), 2018-19
  • Ray Giacoletti (Utah), 2004-05
  • Dick Hunsaker (Utah), 2000-01

USU holds a 27-10 advantage in the all-time series against UNM. Utah State is 13-2 at home against the Lobos but dropped their only matchup this season, 99-86 in mid-January. The loss snapped USU’s 15-game winning streak.

RELATED: Aggie Junior Forward Named Finalist For Karl Malone Award

New Mexico Has Chance To Cause MW Chaos

Led by third-year head coach Richard Pitino, the son of long-time college and NBA coach Rick Pitino, UNM is coming off of its first 20-win season and postseason appearance in nine years.

The Lobos backcourt combination of Jaelen House and Jamal Mashburn Jr. was named to the Preseason All-Mountain West Team this season.

House is the son of former NBA guard Eddie House and nephew of former NBA point guard Mike Bibby. Mashburn Jr. bears his father’s name, Jamal Mashburn Sr., a prolific scorer in 11 NBA seasons. Mashburn Jr. earned All-MW first-team recognition last season, while House was named to the MW second-team.

RELATED: Mountain West Hoops Could See 6 Teams Making March Madness

New Mexico has lost five of nine games since a January 31 loss at home to Boise State. The Lobos hope to keep the momentum from a 21-point win over Fresno State. With a win in Logan, there could be a three-way tie atop the standings at 13-5 between the Aggies, Boise State, and the winner of UNLV vs. Nevada.

The Lobos score 82.5 points per game to lead the Mountain West, nearly three points better than second-place USU (79.6 ppg). The Aggies (69.1 ppg allowed) and New Mexico (71.2 ppg allowed) are sixth and seventh in the league in scoring defense. Mashburn Jr. and House lead a defensive unit that forces just under nine steals per game and turns opponents over 14.4 times per game.

Mashburn leads three Lobos’ in the top-11 MW scorers at 15.1 ppg. House (15 ppg) and Donovan Dent (14.9 ppg) are the others. JT Toppin is the leading shooter in the league, knocking down 63.1 percent of his looks.

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Brian Preece is a KSLsports.com insider covering the Utah State Aggies, Locals in MLB, and Salt Lake Bees. Follow Brian’s Bees, Beehive baseball, and Aggie athletics coverage here.

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Bovine Blog: Previewing New Mexico Lobos At No. 22 Utah State