NCAA Bracket Preview: Complete Utah State Tournament Primer

Utah State is a staple of the NCAA Tournament as they have made seven appearances since the year 2000, and even though they have only one NCAA Tournament win this past decade they are a difficult out come March. This year, Utah State has breezed through the WAC by only losing one game with only three overall to make the 2011 NCAA bracket.

It is hard to tell how good Utah State is since they usually play a weak non-conference schedule to go along with their WAC schedule which is not the toughest. Having said that Utah State always has good guard play and has a great defense, on the year the Aggies have the third-best points allowed per game in the country at 58 per game. Head coach Stew Morrill is the best coach that Utah State has ever had and in 12 years Morrill has never had a losing season and 11 seasons with 20 wins or more.

 

Record: 28-3

RPI: 16

Key win: Feb. 19 at St. Marys, 75-65; St. Mary's was ranked 23rd in the nation at the time. Without this win Utah's State best win would have been against Long Beach State who has an RPI of 91. The Aggies did show resilience in this game as they trailed by nine at the half to eventually win by 10 points. Utah State was led by senior Tai Wesley who scored 17 of his 22 points in the second half to lead Utah State past St. Mary's.

Key loss: Feb. 9 at Idaho, 64-56. The loss to Idaho ended Utah State's record-setting 25-game WAC winning streak, but it was worse because Idaho an RPI of 130. Idaho was able to shut down the Utah State offense by holding Tai Wesley to only 11 points, and the rest of Utah State to only 33 percent shooting from the field. With only two wins against the RPI top-100 this loss to Idaho could possibly hurt Utah State's NCAA tournament at-large chances if they do not when the WAC.

Player to watch: Senior forward Tai Wesley leads the Aggies in scoring and rebounding while shooting at 59 percent per game. Welsey has the ability to take over games with his scoring, plus his defense is underrated for a forward as he averages just over one steal and one block per game. Wesley is a player that has the ability to step up his scoring in big games. This year he scored 20 points in games against the upper half of the WAC, BYU and Saint Mary's.

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