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New Mexico vs. NMSU: Lobos search for second win against Aggies this month

After dominating the Aggies in Albuquerque on December 2, the Lobos will try to do the same on the road tonight.

UC Santa Barbara v New Mexico Photo by Sam Wasson/Getty Images

We have an in-state rivalry in the Land of Enchantment to look forward to this evening as the New Mexico Lobos head down to the Pan American Center in Las Cruces to battle the New Mexico State Aggies. Tipoff is set for 9 p.m. ET and the game will air on CBS Sports Network. This is their second matchup this month as the Lobos dominated the Aggies in a 106-62 rout on December 2.

New Mexico (9-1) is cruising right along through its non-conference schedule and picked up its eighth straight win in a 93-76 trouncing of Santa Clara at the Jack Jones Classic in Las Vegas last Saturday. The Lobos held control for virtually the entire contest as they forced 26 turnovers and held the Broncos to just 24 points in the paint.

New Mexico State (5-6) has understandably struggled against Division I competition with a brand new roster/coaching staff this season, as four of its wins have come against DIII/NAIA competition. That was the case on Tuesday when it held off Northern New Mexico for 76-71 home victory.

Unsurprisingly, New Mexico heavily overmatches New Mexico State in nearly every statistical category on KenPom, which explains their 44-point blowout against this club nearly two weeks ago. While the Lobos have a decent effective field goal shooting percentage on offense at 53.2%, their Aggie counterparts are among the worst in the country in that same category on defense at 57.5%. That means the Jamal Mashburn Jr. led UNM offense doesn’t have to do anything special to quickly pile it on NMSU.

What this game means for New Mexico

New Mexico is beginning to wrap up its manageable non-schedule and is starting to receive some votes in the AP Top 25. The team is currently ranked No. 24 in NET and would be most likely NCAA Tournament bound if the season ended at this exact moment. As a rising mid-major, these are the type of games where the Lobos absolutely need to bury their opponent six feet deep. Leave no doubt and don’t leave the door open to an NCAA Tournament committee member questioning why you let one of the worst teams in the country hang around back in December.

What this game means for New Mexico State

The last 12 months of New Mexico State men’s basketball have been an absolute nightmare and this is about as hard of a reset that you’ll see in all of DI. This team will continue to take their lumps with first-year head coach Jason Hooten at the helm and there’s a chance that Tuesday’s victory over Northern New Mexico may have been the Aggies’ last win of the season. However, a rivalry game at home can bring out the best in any team no matter the situation. Put up a decent fight against New Mexico here and NMSU will have something it can build on moving forward.

New Mexico vs. NMSU Odds from DraftKings Sportsbook

Spread: New Mexico -14.5
Total: 152
Moneyline: New Mexico -1350, NMSU +800

Pick: New Mexico -14.5