Utah State Will Be No. 8 Seed For 2014 Reese's Mountain West Men's Basketball Championships
March 9, 2014
LOGAN, Utah - Utah State men's basketball will be the eighth seed for the 2014 Reese's Mountain West Men's Basketball Championships and will play ninth-seeded Colorado State on Wednesday, March 12 at 3 p.m. (MT) at the Thomas & Mack Center in Las Vegas, Nev.
Wednesday's game will not be televised, but will be streamed on the Mountain West Network online, with Rich Cellini providing play-by-play with analysis from Joe Cravens. Fans can access the web streaming by clicking on the "Watch Live" link on USU's website, www.UtahStateAggies.com.
The game will also be aired on the radio and audio streamed online on the Aggie Sports Network by clicking on the "Listen Live" link on USU's website, www.UtahStateAggies.com. Al Lewis serves as the play-by-play announcer, while former USU head coach and athletics director Rod Tueller serves as the analyst.
Utah State finished regular-season play with a 17-13 overall record and a 7-11 Mountain West mark, winning its last two games. USU honored its five seniors before the game Wednesday on Senior Night at the Dee Glen Smith Spectrum, then battled to a 65-54 win over Wyoming in the Aggies' regular-season finale.
USU is in its first season in the Mountain West after eight seasons in the Western Athletic Conference. While in its first Reese's Mountain West Men's Championships, Utah State is 25-9 (.735) in conference tournament play under head coach Stew Morrill, who is 32-20 (.615) all-time in tournament play. Overall, Utah State is 38-27 (.594) all-time in conference tournaments, winning seven of its last 10.
The Aggies are also 14-9 against current members of the MW in conference tournament play, but will be facing Colorado State for the first time in a conference tournament contest.
Despite facing off in the postseason for the first time, as well as on a neutral court for the first time, Utah State and Colorado State will be meeting for the 90th time in school history, which is USU's fifth-oldest rivalry. The Aggies and Rams, who also used to be known as Aggies, first met during the 1925-26 season, with USU winning, 39-23. Wednesday's meeting will be the third this season, after the Aggies swept the season-series with the Rams, winning, 57-50, on Jan. 15 in Logan, and 71-62 on Feb. 11 in Fort Collins. USU holds a 54-35 series advantage, as the Aggies' two wins this season come after a five-game win streak for the Rams.
Morrill and USU associate coach Tim Duryea both coached at CSU, with Morrill serving as head coach for the Rams from 1992-98, posting a 121-86 (.585) record there. Duryea, who is in his 13th season at USU, began his coaching career in 1988 at Colorado State, being on the Rams' bench for the 1988-89 and 1989-90 seasons under head coach Boyd Grant.
Colorado State head coach Larry Eustachy was head coach at Utah State from 1994-98, being replaced by Morrill from CSU after Eustachy left USU for Iowa State. Eustachy posted a 98-53 (.649) during his five seasons at USU.
Utah State's first-round MW Championships game against Colorado State on Wednesday is the Aggies' second game on a neutral court this season, losing to BYU, 84-75, on Nov. 30 at EnergySolutions Arena in Salt Lake City. Under Morrill, USU is 36-21 (.632) when it plays on a neutral court.
Wednesday's USU-CSU game is the opening game of the Reese's Mountain West Men's Basketball Championships. Following the Aggies-Rams match-up, seventh-seeded Fresno State (16-15, 9-9 MW) takes on 10th-seeded Air Force (12-17, 6-12 MW) at 5:30 p.m. (MT) in game two. Game three pits sixth-seeded Boise State (19-12, 9-9 MW) against 11th-seeded San José State (7-23, 1-17 MW) at 8 p.m. (MT). The first-round games will not be televised, but will be streamed through the Mountain West Network.
Thursday's quarterfinals open with the winner of the USU-CSU match-up taking on top-seed and regular-season champion San Diego State (27-3, 16-2 MW) at 1 p.m. (MT). The Aztecs, who are No. 10 in the nation, knocked off 21st-ranked New Mexico, 51-48, Saturday night in San Diego for the regular-season title and the top seed. The second game of the quarterfinals matches up fourth-seeded UNLV (19-12, 10-8 MW) against fifth-seeded Wyoming (18-13, 9-9 MW) at 3:30 p.m. (MT). Second-seeded New Mexico (24-6, 15-3 MW), takes on the winner of the Fresno State-Air Force game at 7 p.m. (MT), followed by third-seeded Nevada (15-16, 10-8 MW) facing-off with the Boise State-San José State winner. All four quarterfinal games and the two semifinals will be nationally televised on CBS Sports Network (Comcast Ch. 269/753HD, Dish Network Ch. 158, DirecTV Ch. 221).
The semifinal round will be played on Friday, March 14, with the winner of the SDSU-game one winner taking on the UNLV-Wyoming winner at 7 p.m. (MT), followed by the UNM-game two winner against the UNLV-game three winner at 9:30 p.m. (MT).
The MW Championship game will tip-off on Saturday, March 15 at 4 p.m. (MT), and will be nationally televised on CBS (Comcast Ch. 2/654HD; Dish Network Ch. 2; DirecTV Ch. 2 in Cache Valley/Salt Lake City).
The MW Tournament has produced six different champions in 14 years. UNLV (2000, 2007, 2008), San Diego State (2002, 2006, 2010, 2011) and New Mexico (2005, 2012, 2013) are the only current MW teams to have won multiple titles, while Colorado State (2003) has captured one crown.
The No. 1 seed has won the tournament just three times in 14 years. UNLV entered the inaugural MW Tournament as the top seed in 2000 and won the title. In 2006, San Diego State became the second No. 1 seed to claim the crown, while New Mexico captured the championship as the No. 1 seed in 2013. Teams seeded No. 2 through No. 6 have all won tournament championships, while the No. 7 seed is 0-1 in title games.
A Mountain West regular-season champion or co-champion has made it to the finals of the tournament 10 times in 14 years, winning the championship seven times. San Diego State (2006) and New Mexico (2013) are the only teams to capture both an outright regular-season title and the tournament crown in the same year.
Last year, top-seeded New Mexico beat third-seeded UNLV, 63-56, in the championship game, as the Lobos won their second-straight MW Championships title after winning the 2012 crown as the second-seed, knocking off top-seeded San Diego State, 68-59.
Under Morrill, Utah State has advanced to the championship game of its conference tournament in 10 of the last 14 seasons and has won seven tournament championships, winning the Big West Tournament five times (2000, 2001, 2003, 2005) as well as two WAC Tournament titles (2009, 2011), playing in five WAC Tournament championship games during its eight years in the league.
Utah State is 38-27 (.585) all-time in conference tournaments, in playing in the first round of a conference tournament for the first time, as well as having a 16-16 (.500) record in the quarterfinals, a 14-5 (.737) mark in the semifinals and an 8-6 (.571) record in the championship. If it makes it to the quarterfinals, USU has won nine of its last 11 quarterfinals games dating back to the 2000 season, having a nine-game win streak in its conference tournament quarterfinal games snapped with a 72-70 loss to Louisiana Tech in the quarterfinals of the 2012 WAC Tournament. Last season, fifth-seeded USU lost to fourth-seeded UT Arlington, 83-78, in the quarterfinals of the WAC Tournament, the Aggies' final WAC game before joining the Mountain West last summer.
For Utah State men's basketball ticket information for the Reese's Mountain West Men's Basketball Championships, fans can contact the USU Athletics Ticket Office over the phone by calling 1-888-USTATE-1 or 435-797-0305 during regular hours of operation, or in person during regular hours of operation at the USU Ticket Office inside the Dee Glen Smith Spectrum.
Fans can follow the Aggie men's basketball program at twitter.com/AggieHoops. USU fans can also follow the Utah State athletic program at twitter.com/USUAthletics, on facebook at Utah State University Athletics or on instagram at instagram.com/USUAthletics.