Utah State Aggies men's basketball

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Utah State Aggies
2015–16 Utah State Aggies men's basketball team
Utah State Aggies athletic logo
University Utah State University
Conference Mountain West
Location Logan, UT
Head coach TBA (1st year)
Arena Dee Glen Smith Spectrum
(Capacity: 10,270)
Nickname Aggies
Student section The HURD
Colors

Aggie Blue and White

            
Uniforms
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Home jersey
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Team colours
Home
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Away jersey
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Team colours
Away
NCAA Tournament Elite Eight
1939, 1970
NCAA Tournament Sweet Sixteen
1962, 1970
NCAA Tournament appearances
1939, 1962, 1963, 1964, 1970, 1971, 1975, 1979, 1980, 1983, 1988, 1998, 2000, 2001, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2009, 2010, 2011
Conference tournament champions
1988, 1998, 2000, 2001, 2003, 2005, 2009, 2011
Conference regular season champions
1926, 1930, 1935, 1936, 1980, 1995, 1997, 1998, 2000, 2002, 2004, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011

The Utah State Aggies are a Division I men's college basketball team that plays in the Mountain West Conference, representing Utah State University. The Aggies have enjoyed a great deal of success in recent years under head coach Stew Morrill. In the eleven years that Morrill has been at the helm, Utah State has the 4th highest winning percentage in the nation, behind only Duke, Kansas, and Gonzaga.[1] As of the end of the 2010-2011 season, the Aggies have an all-time record of 1,458-1,006 (.592).

History[edit]

The first basketball team on Utah State's campus was organized in 1902 and consisted of only women. A men's team was organized in 1904, at which point the women's club fell into obscurity.

The Aggies enjoyed mixed success early in their history, notching sporadic NCAA tournament appearances and alternating winning in the then-smaller postseason bracket with not winning much at all. Perhaps the most notable event in Utah State basketball history occurred on February 8, 1965, with the tragic death of Wayne Estes. Estes was a 6'6" forward for the Aggies, and was the nation's second leading scorer in 1965, behind only Rick Barry, at 33.7 ppg. He had just amassed 2,000 career points with a 48-point showing in a home victory over the University of Denver, when he stopped at the scene of a car accident in Logan. While crossing the street, Estes accidentally clipped a downed power line with his head and was electrocuted. His full potential remains unrealized. The Los Angeles Lakers had planned on drafting him in the 1st round of the NBA Draft, where he likely would have gone on to win several championships with the team. Following Estes's death, he was posthumously awarded 1st team All-American honors.

The men's basketball team wasn't adversely affected by the constant shuffling of conference affiliations and independent status that blighted the USU football program throughout the mid-to-late 20th century. The program, however, did endure a lengthy stint as an independent program, from 1937 to 1978—although in that period, basketball independence was not the financial and competitive obstacle that it would become in the ESPN era. All the while, it remained the most resilient and popular sport at USU, enjoying steady success for decades. During the 1960s and '70s, the Aggies spent a great deal of time in both major national polls, finishing the season in the AP Top 25 three times and in the Coaches' Poll Top 25 seven times during those two decades.[2] USU reached the NCAA Sweet 16 in 1962, and the Elite 8 in 1970.

The Aggies haven't performed well in the postseason recently, though their success at the regional level and during the regular season is virtually unmatched. They enjoy a particularly strong home-court advantage at the Dee Glen Smith Spectrum, where they are 159-12 in the Morrill era.[1] The Aggies have a difficult time scheduling high-profile opponents, which rarely emerge from the Smith Spectrum victorious. Although that home court has proved not so dominate in the past three years.

Utah State University men's basketball team cutting the nets down in the Dee Glen Smith Spectrum following their fourth-straight WAC regular-season championship. February 26, 2011

Due to the mid-major conference and relatively weak schedule that USU plays each year, the Aggies are often left out of the national spotlight. That being said, their fame continues to grow and spread throughout the country, aided by ESPN appearances, often-epic win streaks, the boisterous Aggie faithful, and the team's statistical rankings. During the 2008-09 season, USU led the nation in field goal percentage with 49.8%. In addition, they were 2nd in win/loss percentage and 5th in assist-to-turnover ratio.[3] Thus far in 2009-10, the Aggies lead the nation in 3-point percentage with an incredible 42.5%.[4]

The Aggies have spent time in the national rankings in two of the last six seasons, reaching as high as #19 in the Coaches' Poll in 2003-04, and #17 in 2008-09. During the 2009-2010, the Aggies reached as high as #26, one spot out of the actual rankings, before falling back to #31 for the postseason poll.[5]

Utah State has also won the Old Oquirrh Bucket nine times, including both of the last two seasons. The Bucket is the award given each year to the best college basketball team in Utah, based on records against in-state opponents.

Post season history[edit]

NCAA Tournament[edit]

Utah State is 6–22 (.214) in its NCAA tournament history. In recent years, the team has won invitations to the tournament in 1998 (under coach Larry Eustachy), 2000, 2001, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2009 and 2010 (all under Morrill). From 1978 to 2005, Utah State was a member of the Big West Conference. In both 2006 and 2010, the Aggies received at-large bids to the tournament after losing in the WAC tournament championship game. Despite a stellar season in 2003-04 and a national top-25 ranking toward the end of the season, the Aggies did not receive an at-large tournament bid after being upset in the conference tournament, making them the last top-25 team in college basketball to be snubbed from the tournament. This decision earned the derision of coach Morrill, as the Aggies held a 25–3 record along with their ranking.

In 2009, USU won the WAC tournament championship game, defeating Nevada in Reno. The team went on to lose in the first round of the NCAA tournament to Marquette, 58-57. The most recent NCAA Tournament success was a first-round upset over fifth-seeded Ohio State University in 2001.[6]

The 2010 team received an at-large bid from the selection committee after losing in the WAC tournament final to New Mexico State. The 12th-seeded Aggies then lost their opening round game to Texas A&M.

Year Round Opponent Result/Score
1939 Elite Eight
Regional 3rd Place Game
Oklahoma
Texas
L 39–50
W 51–49
1962 First round
Sweet Sixteen
Regional 3rd Place Game
Arizona State
UCLA
Pepperdine
W 78–73
L 62–73
L 78–88
1963 First round Arizona State L 75–79OT
1964 First round
Sweet Sixteen
Regional 3rd Place Game
Arizona State
San Francisco
Seattle
W 92–90
L 58–64
L 71–75
1970 First round
Sweet Sixteen
Elite Eight
UTEP
Santa Clara
UCLA
W 91–81
W 69–68
L 79–101
1971 First round BYU L 82–91
1975 First round Montana L 63–68
1979 First round USC L 67–86
1980 First round Clemson L 73–76
1983 First round Iowa L 59–64
1988 First round Vanderbilt L 77–80
1998 First round Maryland L 68–82
2000 First round Connecticut L 67–75
2001 First round
Second Round
Ohio State
UCLA
W 77–68OT
L 50–75
2003 First round Kansas L 61–64
2005 First round Arizona L 53–66
2006 First round Washington L 61–75
2009 First round Marquette L 57–58
2010 First round Texas A&M L 53–69
2011 Second round Kansas State L 68–73

NIT[edit]

The Aggies have appeared in nine National Invitation Tournaments. Their combined record is 2–9.

Year Round Opponent Result/Score
1960 Quarterfinals
Semifinals
3rd Place Game
Villanova
Providence
St. Bonavneture
W 73–72
L 62–68
W 94–81
1967 First Round Rutgers L 76–78
1978 First Round Nebraska L 66–67
1984 First Round Southeastern Louisiana L 92–94
1995 First Round Illinois State L 87–93
2002 Opening Round Montana State L 69–77
2004 First Round Hawaiʻi L 74–85
2007 First Round Michigan L 58–68
2008 First Round Illinois State L 57–61

CIT[edit]

The Aggies have appeared in one CollegeInsider.com Tournament. Their record is 4–1.

Year Round Opponent Result/Score
2012 First Round
Second Round
Quarterfinals
Semifinals
Championship Game
Cal State Bakerfield
Idaho
Loyola Marymount
Oakland
Mercer
W 75–69
W 76–56
W 77–69
W 105–81
L 67–70

Home-court advantage[edit]

Aggies cheering on their basketball team at the Dee Glen Smith Spectrum.

Utah State plays its home games at the Dee Glen Smith Spectrum, a 10,270-seat arena on the Utah State campus. The Aggies are 453-105 (.812) at the Smith Spectrum, which has housed basketball since 1970. Previous to the building of the Spectrum, Utah State's basketball teams played at the George Nelson Fieldhouse on campus. Under head coach Stew Morrill, USU is 194-13 (.937) at home. Until a surprising early-season loss in 2009, USU boasted the second-longest home win streak in the nation, behind Kansas.

The Smith Spectrum features seats at court level, extremely close to the players. The university also reserves an unusually high percentage of seats, including at court level, for its students. This has aided the USU student section in becoming one of the most notoriously loud and raucous (and clever) in the nation, with major publicity in recent years. Various sources have called the Smith Spectrum among the hardest places in the nation for opposing teams to play.[7][8][9] In the '90s, when his teams were reaching the Final Four and competing at the highest echelons of college basketball, University of Utah coach Rick Majerus called the Smith Spectrum the toughest place in the country for his teams to play.[10] After a February 2010 game at the Smith Spectrum, Wichita State head coach Gregg Marshall said “Utah State has 4000 student tickets and they make some type of impression on the visiting team and it's just a party. It is one heck of a party. It's the best I've ever seen. In many, many years I've been at Duke and Kentucky and UConn and Syracuse and it's clearly the best I've ever seen in terms of atmosphere."[11]

The student section's arsenal owes much to an unofficial pre-game publication called "The Refraction", which includes dirt on opposing players and coaches, and contains instructions for cheers and chants. One student fan, known as "Wild Bill", has also gained much renown as of late for his unique techniques to distract opposing free throw shooters.[10][12][13] Other Utah State traditions are their "I believe that we will win" chant and "Winning team, losing team" chant that mocks the away losing team in the last seconds of a game.

USU fans also appear in solid (and loud) numbers at away games, and especially conference tournaments, referring to themselves as the "Spectrum on Wheels".

Notable former players[edit]

Recent results and current standings[edit]

Template:2015–16 Mountain West Conference men's basketball standings

Season Head Coach Conference Overall Postseason
1993-94 Larry Eustachy 11-7 (T-2nd) 14-13
1994-95 Larry Eustachy 14-4 (1st) 21-8 NIT, First Round
1995-96 Larry Eustachy 10-8 (4th) 18-15
1996-97 Larry Eustachy 12-4 (T-1st) 20-9
1997-98 Larry Eustachy 13-3 (1st) 25-8 NCAA, First Round
1998-99 Stew Morrill 8-8 (4th) 15-13
1999-00 Stew Morrill 16-0 (1st) 28-6 NCAA, First Round
2000-01 Stew Morrill 13-3 (2nd) 28-6 NCAA, Second Round
2001-02 Stew Morrill 13-5 (T-1st) 23-8 NIT, Opening Round
2002-03 Stew Morrill 12-6 (3rd) 24-9 NCAA, First Round
2003-04 Stew Morrill 17-1 (T-1st) 25-4 NIT, First Round
2004-05 Stew Morrill 13-5 (2nd) 24-8 NCAA, First Round
2005-06 Stew Morrill 11-5 (T-2nd) 23-9 NCAA, First Round
2006-07 Stew Morrill 9-7 (4th) 23-12 NIT, First Round
2007-08 Stew Morrill 12-4 (T-1st) 24-11 NIT, First Round
2008-09 Stew Morrill 14-2 (1st) 30-5 NCAA, First Round
2009-10 Stew Morrill 14-2 (1st) 27-8 NCAA, First Round
2010-11 Stew Morrill 15-1 (1st) 30-3 NCAA, First Round
2011-12 Stew Morrill 8-6 (4th) 21-16 CollegeInsider.com finalists
2012-13 Stew Morrill 8-6 (T-4th) 21-10
2013–14 Stew Morrill 7–11 18–14
2014–15 Stew Morrill 11–17 18–13
2015–16 TBA

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "Utah State Basketball". Stew Morrill and AllCoachNetwork.com. Retrieved 13 January 2010. 
  2. ^ "2009-10 Utah State University Men's Basketball Media Guide". Utah State University. Retrieved 23 February 2010. 
  3. ^ "2009-10 WAC Men's Basketball Media Guide". Western Athletic Conference. Retrieved 19 February 2010. 
  4. ^ "NCAA Basketball Stats--2009-2010". ESPN.com. Retrieved 19 February 2010. 
  5. ^ "2010 NCAA Men's Basketball Rankings -- Postseason". ESPN.com. Retrieved 22 March 2010. 
  6. ^ CNN Sports Illustrated.com (March 15, 2001). "Utah St. 77, Ohio St. 68". 
  7. ^ "Utah State: Men's Basketball Season in Review". NCAA.com. Retrieved 19 February 2010. 
  8. ^ "Top 10 College Basketball Arenas". BANews.net. Retrieved 19 February 2010. 
  9. ^ "To Utah State". The Argonaut. University of Idaho. Retrieved 19 February 2010. [dead link]
  10. ^ a b "You Want Utah State's Bill". BigBlueCats.com. Retrieved 19 February 2010. 
  11. ^ "The Refraction, Vol. 3, Issue 17". The Refraction. Retrieved 2 March 2010. 
  12. ^ "When It Comes To The Art of Free Throw Distraction, Utah State's Shirtless Bill Sproat Is Without Peers". ESPN.com. Retrieved 19 February 2010. 
  13. ^ "Utah State's Shirtless Bill will jinx your free throw, steal your nachos". NBCSports.com. Retrieved 19 February 2010. 

External links[edit]