Utah State has become a team that has high expectations year after year and, finishing the 2009-10 season with 27 wins was just par for the course for the Aggies. Anything less than winning the WAC and taking part in the March Madness college basketball tournament has to be seen as a disappointment for the team.
Head coach Stew Morrill is the winningest coach in Utah State history (294-99), has won at least 23 games every year and has been to 11 straight postseasons. This year’s squad returned four All-WAC players to the lineup and they expected to improve on the 27 wins from last season. Unfortunately, the NCAA looks hard at strength of schedule and quality wins and the amazing 30-3 record from this year only rewarded Utah State with a 12 seed in the Big Dance.
Utah State lost two quality games to BYU, by six, and Georgetown by double digits. Their only other loss was to Idaho. On the positive side, they beat St. Mary’s and Long Beach State, two teams ranked in the RPI Top 100. The Aggies rank fourth in the nation in adjusted defensive efficiency at 0.88 points per possession. They also rank higher than their first March Madness opponent in the Pomeroy Rankings, sitting in 16th place. If you are looking for an upset in your March Madness brackets, look no further than Utah State.
Final Record: 30-3, 15-1 WAC
Utah State: 75 St. Mary’s: 65 (2/19/2011)
To put it simply, no win in the WAC is a “big” win for Utah State because they are so much better than their competition. However, St. Mary’s is a quality team and there is no reason they should have been excluded from March Madness this year. The Gaels beat St. John’s and Gonzaga and yet, in a home game against Utah State, they fell by 10 points. It can’t be seen as an upset, though, because Utah State was 25-1 to finish the season.
Utah State Player to Watch: Senior forward Tai Wesley led the Utah State Aggies in scoring for the second season in a row, with 14.7 point per game while pulling down 7.9 rebounds. He was named WAC Player of the Year and all-district first-team in both the NABA and USBWA voting.
- Brockeith Pane, G
- Tai Wesley, F
- Tyler Newbold, G
- Nate Bendall, F
- Pooh Williams, G/F
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