• Utah State (15-16, 8-10 MW) opens its 2017-18 Mountain West Championship run this week, facing Colorado State (11-20, 4-14) in the 7/10 game on Wednesday, March 7, at 2:30 p.m. (MT).
• Utah State leads the all-time series against Colorado State 57-40, including a 1-0 mark in games played on a neutral court. USU posted the victory during the 2013-14 season in the 8/9 game of the Mountain West Championships.
• Utah State has entered its conference tournament as the No. 7 seed three times in school history, carrying an overall mark of 0-3 in those games.
• A victory over Colorado State would give the Aggies a matchup with No. 2 Boise State (23-7, 13-5) in the MW Quarterfinals on Thursday, March 8, at 7 p.m. (MT).
• Utah State is 31-15 all-time against Boise State, including a 3-1 record in games played on a neutral court. The Aggies and Broncos split the series during the regular season.
• Utah State last faced Boise State in the postseason in the Western Athletic Conference Championship Game, with the Aggies coming away with a 77-69 victory during the 2010-11 season.
• Merrill is one the top shooters in the Mountain West and in the nation this season, leading the league behind the 3-point line in conference games with a 53.4 percent (63-of-118) clip from deep this year. Furthermore, Merrill is 10th in the nation with a 3-point field goal percentage of 46.6 percent (88-of-189).
Scouting Colorado State
Colorado State is 11-20 on the year and 4-14 in the Mountain West. The Rams finished the season losing 11 of their last 12.
CSU is averaging 72.5 points per game, shooting 41.9 percent (786-of-1,877) from the floor, 32.6 percent (217-of-665) from behind the 3-point line and 72.2 percent (460-of-637) at the free throw line. Prentiss Nixon leads three players averaging double figures, scoring 16.2 points per game, followed by Deion James with 10.5 points per game and J.D. Paige with 10.4 points per game. Nico Carvacho leads the Rams on the glass with 10.4 rebounds per game. Carvacho also leads the team with 69 assists, averaging 2.2 per game.
Defensively, opponents are averaging 79.4 points per game against the Rams and shooting 45.7 percent (851-of-1,862) from the floor, 36.1 percent (295-of-817) from behind the 3-point line and 70.4 percent (464-of-659) at the free throw line. Nixon leads the team with 40 steals, while Che Bob leads CSU with 38 blocks.
Colorado State has been in flux when it comes to its coaching staff as both head coach Larry Eustachy and associate head coach Steve Barnes were released during the year. Assistant coach Jase Herl has served as the interim head coach down the final stretch of the season.
Against Colorado State in Tournaments
Utah State and Colorado State played in the 8/9 game in the Aggies’ first year in the Mountain West during the 2013-14 season. USU outscored the Rams 16-3 over the final 1:35 of the game to post a come-from-behind 73-69 win.
Scouting Boise State
Boise State is 23-7 on the year, including a 13-5 mark within the Mountain West. The Broncos finished the year with wins in three of their last four.
Senior Chandler Hutchison is the star of the Boise State roster, leading the team with 19.5 points, 7.6 rebounds, 3.5 assists and 1.4 steals per game. He is followed in scoring by Chris Sengfelder and Justinian Jessup with 11.7 points per game apiece. Overall, BSU is averaging 78.4 points per game and shooting 46.7 percent (830-of-1,778) from the floor, 38.3 percent (289-of-754) from behind the 3-point line and 73.5 percent (404-of-550) at the free throw line
Defensively, teams are averaging 68.5 points per game against the Broncos and shooting 42.4 percent (742-of-1,748) from the floor, 31.6 percent (201-of-637) from behind the 3-point line and 72.5 percent (370-of-510) at the free throw line. Zach Haney leads the Broncos with 20 blocks, followed by Jessup with 19.
Head coach Leon Rice is in his eighth year at the helm at Boise State, leading the Broncos to an overall mark of 165-94 during his tenure.
Against Boise State in Tournaments
Utah State and Boise State have faced four times in conference tournaments, including three times in the WAC and once in the Big West. USU holds a 3-1 advantage in those tournament games, including a 77-69 victory in the 2010-11 WAC Championship, the last tournament meeting between the two schools.
Utah State swept UNLV for the first time in school history with its 79-67 victory over the Runnin’ Rebels on March 3. The Aggies have swept at least two conference opponents every year since joining the Mountain West in 2013-14.
Where the Points Come From
Utah State has scored a total of 2,267 points this season with 44.0 percent coming from 2-point baskets (998), 38.2 percent coming from 3-point baskets (867), and 17.7 percent coming at the free throw line (402).
All-Time in Conference Tournaments
Utah State is 41-31 all-time in conference tournaments, making appearances in the championship game 14 times. The Aggies are 3-0 all-time in first round games, 16-20 in quarterfinal games, 14-5 in semifinal games and 8-6 in championship games.
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