SOUTH PADRE ISLAND, Texas — Mention teams like Michigan, Arizona, BYU, Nevada, Utah, Washington and Vanderbilt, and the blood of Utah State guard Jaycee Carroll circulates a little faster — he lives for big games.

Tonight, the all-American candidate and the Aggies have a chance to make an impression on a national stage when they meet Southeastern Conference power Vanderbilt at the South Padre Island Classic.

The game can be seen live on CSTV beginning at 8 p.m. (MST).

The Aggies (3-3), who have lost two of their last three, enter the second meeting all-time with the Commodores (3-0) on a winning note, having beaten Austin Peay 71-68 Tuesday night.

"Coach (Stew Morrill) mentioned momentum going in, and after getting a win we'll be excited and looking forward to playing a good Vanderbilt team," said Carroll, who is averaging 21.2 points a game.

"For me, that's enough excitement and motivation to get us going to play a good, high-quality SEC team."

The Aggies are 0-1 all-time against Vanderbilt. The one-and-only meeting was in the 1988 NCAA tournament, won by the Commodores, 80-78.

"They are big and have SEC size and athleticism. It's a different feel with the size and the athletes," Morrill said. "They execute their stuff really well and defend you and use their size. It will be fun, and we're looking forward to it."

Utah State spent more than 12 hours traveling on Wednesday — the day after beating Austin Peay — and practiced on Thanksgiving Day.

The Commodores, who have advanced to the Sweet 16 two of the past four years, are unbeaten this season with wins over Austin Peay (81-67), Toledo (77-70) and Valparaiso (87-78). Vanderbilt is shooting 50 percent from the 3-point line and 54.1 percent from the field. Six-foot-11 freshman A.J. Ogilvy, who leads the team in scoring at 19.7 and 6.7 rebounds, is shooting Nate Harris-like numbers at 70 percent, as is Alex Gordon, who averages 12.7 points and four rebounds.

Along with Ogilvy and Gordon, Shan Foster (19.0, 5.0) and Ross Neltner (10.3, 6.7) are averaging in double figures in scoring.

The Aggies are shooting 46.9 percent from the field and 36.1 percent from the 3-point line.

FOR THREE: The Commodores have hit a 3-pointer in 668 consecutive games, and join UNLV and Princeton as the only teams in the nation with a 3-pointer in every game since the rule came into existence in the 1987-88 season.

SPEAKING OF THREE: The Aggies hit a season-low two 3-pointers in the win over Austin Peay, but Carroll made one of them, giving him a 3-pointer made in 27 straight games and 94 of his 105 career games with Utah State.

DISHING IT OUT: Utah State guard Kris Clark, who leads the team in assists, has had at least four dimes in every game for the Aggies this season.

MISC: Tai Wesley and DeUndrae Sparaggins scored career-highs against Austin Peay with 12 and 8 points, respectively ... The Aggies are 166-20 over the past nine years when leading at the half ... Carroll is 15th all-time in games played on the USU list with 105, and he is tied with Kendall Youngblood for third all-time in career starts with 103 ... Carroll needs 35 points to pass Cornell Green for fourth on the all-time scoring list ... USU has the second-longest non-conference home winning streak in the nation at 47.

Aggies on the air

Utah State (3-3) vs. Vanderbilt (3-0)

Today, 8 p.m. (MST), South Padre Island, Texas

TV: CSTV Radio: 1230 AM

E-mail: [email protected]