UC Irvine Anteaters (0-0) vs. New Mexico State Aggies (0-0)
November 9, 2021 9:00 pm EDT
The Line: New Mexico State Aggies -5 / UC Irvine Anteaters +5; Over/Under: +138
(Get latest betting odds)
The UC-Irvine Anteaters and the New Mexico State Aggies meet in college basketball action from the Pan American Center on Tuesday night.
The UC-Irvine Anteaters come into the 2021-22 season looking to build on an 18-9 mark including a 10-4 mark in conference play to finish 2nd in the Big West and as the 2-seed in the Big West conference tournament, the Anteaters took down Cal Poly and UC-Riverside before falling to UC-Santa Barbara in the conference championship game, ending their season. The Anteaters bring back the majority of their roster, led by Collin Welp who had 15.1 PPG and 7.6 RPG for UC-Irvine last season while Dawson Baker had 10.7 PPG and 2.3 RPG as a freshman. DJ Davis had 9.1 PPG as well while Isaiah Lee, JC Butler and Austin Johnson make up a familiar core group for the Anteaters. The Anteaters have had eight straight double-digit league win seasons and have finished top-3 in each of those campaigns, and expectations will be to make it nine and pick up the Big West title this time around.
The New Mexico State Aggies will look to take a step forward after a 12-9 mark in 2020-21, including 7-6 in conference play. The Aggies were the #3 seed in the WAC tournament, defeating UTRGV and Utah Valley before falling to Grand Canyon in the conference championship game, ending their season. The Aggies bring back a solid group led by former Utah Ute Donnie Tillman who had 11.6 PPG and 5.6 RPG for the Aggies last year while Johnny McCants averaged 10 PPG and 6.1 RPG. Jabari Rice is the leading returning scorer, logging 13.2 PPG as well as 5.3 RPG and 2.2 APG last season. New Mexico State also hit the transfer portal hard, bringing in three quality transfers, led by Mike Peake who had 10.7 PPG and 5.3 RPG for Austin Peay last year while Yuat Alok had 9.5 PPG and 5.9 RPG for Coppin State and Virshon Cotton had 9.4 PPG, 3.9 RPG and 3.2 APG for LIU. Like UC-Irvine, many are expecting championship or bust for the Aggies as the returning talent surely puts New Mexico State in the preseason driver’s seat in the WAC.
UC-Irvine is 4-12 ATS in their last 16 Tuesday games and 1-5 ATS in their last 6 games as a road underdog while the over is 15-5-1 in their last 21 Tuesday games. The over is 4-1 in New Mexico State’s last 5 games overall.
This should be a fantastic matchup between a pair of teams expected to hoist their respective conference championships this season. With that said, I’m leaning towards UC-Irvine and the points. I’m not sure who wins this game, but there’s so much talent and experience on both sides that you’re really splitting hairs picking a side. I think this one is decided late, so give me UC-Irvine and the points.