Basketball Release For The NCAA Tournament
March 12, 2001
Utah State Aggies (27-5)
A Look At Ohio State: Ohio State is 20-10 on the season and finished in third-place in the Big Ten with an 11-5 conference mark. The Buckeyes lost in the first-round of the Big Ten Tournament to Iowa by a final score of 75-66. Junior guard Brian Brown leads the team in scoring at 14.6 points per game, while senior center Ken Johnson is averaging 12.4 points and 7.1 rebounds per contest. In last year's NCAA Tournament, OSU lost to Miami (Fla.) in the second round 75-62.
Versus The Buckeyes: Utah State is 2-2 all-time against Ohio State and will be meeting for the first time since the 1971-72 season. The Buckeyes won that game 71-60 in Columbus, Ohio.
Versus The Big Ten: Utah State is 7-10 all-time against the Big Ten Conference and the last time USU played a team from the Big Ten was in the Preseason NIT during the 1997-98 season as the Aggies won at Minnesota 75-64, the year after the Gophers were in the NCAA Final Four.
In The NCAA Tournament: Utah State is making its second straight NCAA Tournament appearance and third in the last four years. USU lost to Connecticut in the first-round of the South Region last year 75-67. All-time USU is participating in its 14th NCAA Tournament and has an overall record of 5-15. Utah State has lost its last nine games in the NCAA Tournament dating back to the 1970 season when the Aggies defeated UTEP (91-81) and Santa Clara (69-68). Statistical Comparison: The following is a statistical comparison between Utah State and Ohio State.
Winning Record Versus Every Team In The Big West: Utah State is the only team in the Big West Conference that has a winning record versus every team in the league. The following is a list of USU's record versus each team in the Big West Conference.
USU's Record Versus Current BWC Members:
Success In The Big West: Utah State has won 35 of its last 38 games in the Big West Conference over the past two seasons. Before losing at UC Irvine on Jan. 31, 2001, USU had a 26-game winning streak in the Big West which was the second-longest winning streak all-time behind UNLV which won 40 games in a row from 1990-93.
Third Most Wins In The Country: As of Mar. 11, 2001, Utah State has the thrid most wins in the country with 27. Duke has the most wins in the country with 29, while Georgia State and Stanford both have 28 wins. Utah State is the only team in the country with 27 victories on the season.
Four Aggies Named All-Conference: For the second straight year, Utah State had four players earn all-conference honors in the Big West. Senior forward Shawn Daniels became the fifth player in USU history to be named to the league's first-team in back-to-back years, joining Marcus Saxon (1997,1998), Eric Franson (1995, 1996), Greg Grant (1985, 1986), and Dean Hunger (1979, 1980). Daniels led the Big West in blocks (1.69), was second in field-goal percentage (60.5), third in rebounds (6.7), and 12th in scoring (12.1). Senior guard Bernard Rock was also named to the first-team after being an honorable mention selection last year. Rock led the league in assists (4.31), and was fifth in assist-to-turnover ratio (1.56), and eighth in steals (1.24). Junior guard Tony Brown was voted to the league's second-team after being named honorable mention last year and to the all-freshmen team in 1999. Brown leads USU in scoring at 12.2 points per game which ranks 11th in the conference. He leads the conference in assist-to-turnover ratio (2.18), is second in three-point field-goal percentage (43.5), and is fourth in assists (3.38). Senior forward Curtis Bobb was named honorable mention in his first year as a starter for Utah State. He ranks sixth in the league in three-point field-goal percentage (39.5), and is 12th in the league in rebounding (4.9). Utah State was the only team in the conference to have four players named to either the first-team, second-team, or honorable mention team. Prior to last season, Utah State never had more than one player on the league's first-team, but have had two first-team players in each of the last two seasons.
Three Aggies Named To The All-Tournament Team: Utah State had three players named to the 2001 Big West Conference all-tournament team as USU won its second straight tournament championship and third in the last four years. Senior guard Bernard Rock was named the Most Valuable Player of the tournament, while senior forwards Shawn Daniels and Curtis Bobb were members of the all-tournament team. Rock scored a team-high 32 points and had 10 assists in the tournament, while Daniels scored 30 points and grabbed 25 rebounds. Bobb scored 31 points and had 18 rebounds.
Second Best League Mark: Utah State finished the 2001 Big West season with a 13-3 record which ties the 1997-98 team for the second-best league mark ever at Utah State. The 1999-2000 team holds the school record with a perfect 16-0 record.
Quickest Ever To 20 Wins: With its win over UC Irvine on Feb. 8, the 2000-01 Utah State team became the quickest team in USU history to notch 20 wins. The previous record was held by last year's team which won its 20th game on Feb. 17.
Second-Most Wins Ever: With its 27 wins on the season, the 2000-01 team now has the second-most wins in school history. The school record was set last season with 28 wins. Overall, it is the 16th time in school history that USU has won 20 games in a season, and only the fourth time that USU has had back-to-back 20 win seasons. USU has won at least 20 games in four of the last five seasons and 25 wins in three of the last four years.
D-E-F-E-N-S-E: Utah State's defense is in "The Zone" right now as the Aggies have held its last five opponents to under 60 points and less than 40 percent shooting from the field. The following is a look at what USU has done against its opponents over the last five games defensively.
Defense In The Big West Tournament: Looking at the boxscores from the three games in the Big West Tournament, it isn't hard to see why Utah State won its second consecutive tournament championship and third in the last four years. It was defense. The Aggies held all three opponents to under 50 points, marking the first time since the 1949-50 season that an Aggie team has held three straight opponents to under 50 points.
Aggies Overwhelmed The Competition: Utah State overwhelmed its comeptition at the 2001 Big West Tournament as USU limited its three opponents to 43.0 points, 33.5 field-goal percentage, and 15.8 three-point field-goal percentage. Conversely, Utah State averaged 63.7 points, shot 45.1 percent from the field, 43.2 percent from three-point range, and 74.6 percent from the free-throw line.
Several Scoreless Stretches: Utah State put together some unbelieveable stretchs defensively in the 2001 Big West Tournament, and it didn't take long to get going. In its opening round game against Cal State Fullerton, it took the Titans almost five minutes before they scored their first points. USU then had three different stretches during that game where CSF didn't score for over four minutes each time. Against Boise State, USU held the Broncos scoreless the final 12 minutes of the game, and against Pacific in the championship game, the Aggies held the Tigers scoreless for almost eight minutes in the first-half before UOP scored on a put-back at the buzzer.
Best In The Big West: Utah State became the first team in the history of the Big West Conference tournament to hold three straight opponents to less than 50 points and under 40 percent shooting from the field. The 38 points allowed by USU in the championship game was also a tournament low. Utah State also owns three of the top five marks for fewest points allowed in the Big West Tournament. USU's 38 points allowed against Pacific were the second-fewest ever scored in the tournament, and its 43 points allowed against Cal State Fullerton were the fifth-fewest ever allowed. The Aggies held Pacific to 41 points in last year's tournament which were the second-fewest points ever allowed. Utah State has a six-game winning streak in the Big West Conference Tournament and has won nine of its last 10 tournament games over the past four years.
How The Aggies Got To The NCAA Tournament: Utah State finished second in the Big West Conference regular season with a 13-3 record behind UC Irvine (15-1), but won the conference tournament with victories against Cal State Fullerton (74-43), Boise State (67-48), and Pacific (50-38).
Aggies And The NCAA Tournament: Utah State is making its second straight trip to the NCAA Tournament and third in the last four years... It is the 14th time in school history that USU has qualified for the NCAA Tournament... Utah State is making its first back-to-back NCAA Tournament trips since the 1979 and 1980 seasons... The Aggies are 5-15 all-time at the NCAA Tournament and have lost its last nine games... The last time USU won in the NCAA Tournament was in 1970 against UTEP (91-81) and Santa Clara (69-68)... Three of Utah State's last five NCAA Tournament losses have been by five points or less despite the Aggies not being seeded higher than 10th in any of those tournaments... USU played in the first NCAA Tournament back in 1939 and lost to Oklahoma 50-39 in the first round... Utah State has played in the NCAA Tournament five times since seedings started in 1980 and the Aggies were listed as the 11th seed in the west in 1980, 10th in the midwest in 1983, 10th in the midwest in 1988, 12th in the west in 1998, and 12th in the south in 2000 before earning a 12th seed in the east this year.
Coach Morrill In The NCAA Tournament: Stew Morrill guided Montana to the NCAA Tournament in 1991 and Utah State in 2000 and 2001... He lead Colorado State to the NIT in 1996 and 1998... He is 0-2 as a coach in the NCAA Tournament and 0-2 in the NIT... He has posted two 20-win seasons at each of the three schools he has coached and has won at least 20 games in four of his last five years of coaching (two at Colorado State and two at Utah State).
The Big West Conference In The NCAA Tournament: The Big West Conference has not had a team win an NCAA Tournament game since 1993 when New Mexico State beat Nebraska in the first round before losing to Cincinnati in the second round. Utah State is the first Big West school to go to consecutive NCAA Tournaments since New Mexico State went in 1993 and 1994.
12th Seeds In The NCAA Tournament: Over the past 12 NCAA Tournaments, at least one 12 seed has advanced to the second round in all but two of those years. Last year, Utah State was a 12th seed and lost in the first round as did the other three 12 seeds. Since 1980, 10 of the teams that have been 12 seeds have advanced to the Sweet 16. The last team to do that was Southwest Missouri State in the 1999 NCAA Tournament.
Versus The Tournament Field: Utah State played only one team in the field of 65 this year and that was in-state rival Brigham Young University. The Aggies lost that game at BYU by a final score of 69-67.
Utah State Was One Of The Original Eight: Utah State was one of eight schools that participated in the first NCAA Tournament in 1939. The other teams were Oregon, Texas, Oklahoma, Villanova, Brown, Wake Forest and Ohio State. Of those eight teams, Utah State, Ohio State, Wake Forest, Texas and Oklahoma are in this year's field.
Aggies Dominate Big West Conference This Year: Including its three wins in the conference tournament, Utah State went 16-3 in the Big West Conference this season and USU won all 16 of those games by at least 10 points. The Aggies' average margin of victory against league opponents this year in its 16 wins was 19 points.
Aggies Equal Balance: For the second straight season, Utah State has four starters that average double-figures in scoring with its fifth starter averaging 8.8 points. USU has had six different players lead the team in scoring over the last seven games and the Aggies have played at least 10 players in all 32 of its games this season. Eight of those players average at least 10 minutes per contest and the other two average 9.6 and 8.3 minutes per game.
Where The Defense Ranks All-Time In School History: Utah State is allowing opponents just 56.8 points per game which is the best mark in school history since scoring average was calculated in 1958. USU is allowing opponents just 38.7 percent field-goal percentage which is the third best mark in school history and the best since 1962. From three-point range, opponents are shooting just 30.2 percent against USU which is the second best mark all-time, trailing only the 1995 team that limited opponents to just 28.5 percent from behind the arc.
In The State Of North Carolina: Utah State will be playing its first-ever game in the state of North Carolina this Thursday against Ohio State. In fact, the Aggies have only played one team from the state in its history and that was North Carolina State in 1986 in Anchorage, Alaska. USU lost to N.C. State 94-82.
Three Aggies Earn Player Of The Week Honors: Utah State had three players earn Big West Conference player of the week honors this season as Tony Brown, Cutis Bobb and Shawn Daniels won the award. Brown received the award after leading USU to a runner-up finish in the Top of the World Classis in Fairbanks, Alaska. Bobb won his after leading the Aggies to a pair of home wins over Long Beach State and Pacific, and Daniels won the award after guiding USU to two home wins over UC Irvine and Cal State Fullerton.
A Look At The Aggie Offense: Utah State is shooting 49.4 percent from the field which is the best mark at USU since the 1995 season... USU has made 191 threes on the year, which is just three away from tying the school record of 194 set last season... USU is shooting 39.5 percent from three-point range which is the fourth-best mark ever at Utah State... USU's 487 assists tie for the fourth-best mark in school history... USU's 124 blocks are also fourth-best all-time at USU in a single-season.
A Look At The Aggie Defense: Utah State is allowing opponents to shot 38.7 percent on the season which is the third-best ever and the best since 1962 which was also 38.7 percent... USU's 30.2 percent three-point field-goal percentage defense is the second-best ever trailing the 1995 team that allowed 28.5 percent... USU's 56.8 points allowed a game is the best ever at Utah State since averages were calculated in 1958.
Aggies Love Thursdays: Utah State has been unbeatable over the past two seasons when playing on Thursdays. The Aggies are 7-0 thus far this year on Thursdays and went a perfect 10-0 last season on Thursday's. The last time Utah State lost a game on Thursday was in the first round of the 1999 Big West Conference Tournament.
A Look Back At Last Year's NCAA Game: Utah State was rewarded for its 19-game winning streak, 28 RPI, and school-best 28-5 record which included a perfect 19-0 mark in the Big West Conference by playing the defending National Champions Conneticut in the first-round of the 2000 NCAA Tournament in the South Region in Birmingham, Ala. The Huskies built a 12-point lead midway through the first-half and took a 10-point lead into half-time behind 11 points from Khalid El-Amin. Connecticut shot 48.5 percent in the first-half while USU shot just 41.7 percent. The Aggies opened the second-half with an 8-0 run to get within two points at 39-37, but UConn scored eight of the next 10 points to get its lead back up to eight. USU cut that lead to four points at 47-43 with 14:31 remaining in the game, but the Huskies answered with a 23-11 run over the next 11 minutes to put the game away. UConn shot 48.3 percent in the game, while USU shot 45.5 percent. Troy Rolle had a game-high 18 points for the Aggies, while Shawn Daniels added 17 oints. The Aggies were outrebounded by 15 in the game.
Big West Tournament Recaps:
Quarterfinals: Utah State opened the game on a 7-0 run against Cal State Fullerton and never looked back as the Aggies notched its most lopsided win in tournament history 74-43. USU shot 70 percent in the first-half and held the Titans to just 27.6 percent as the Aggies went into the locker room with a 40-17 lead. Cal State Fullerton never recovered from that first-half and never got the USU lead below 20 points. In fact, Utah State extended its lead to 35 points late in the second-half before recording the 31-point win. Utah State got a great performance from its bench with 39 points, while the Aggie starters scored just 35 points. Senior Dion Bailey led the charge off the bench with a career-high 13 points, while sophomore reserve Toraino Johnson scored 11 points, and junior reserve Jeremy Vague added 10 points. Shawn Daniels was the only starter to score in double-figures for USU with 11 points to go along with nine rebounds. Utah State finished the game by shooting 53.1 percent, while Cal State Fullerton shot 30.5 percent.
Semifinals: Utah State was looking to make up for a 78-77 overtime loss to Boise State two weeks earlier. The Broncos were coming off a 25-point win over Long Beach State in the first-round and carried that momentum into the game with the Aggies as BSU quickly raced out to a eight-point lead at 15-7 in the first five minutes of the game. From there, Utah State's defense took over and held Boise to just six points over the next 10 minutes as USU went on a 22-6 run to take a 29-21 advantage. The Broncos cut the lead to three points at the half at 34-31 due to a 10-5 run over the final five minutes. USU shot 43 percent in the first-half but committed 10 turnovers. Boise State opened the second-half with a 4-0 run to take the lead at 35-34 and would later hold a 48-47 advantage with 12:01 remaining. However those 48 points would be all that the Broncos would score as Utah State held BSU scoreless for the remainder of the game and finished the contest on a 20-0 run. During that stretch, Boise State missed 16 straight shots and committed six turnovers. USU finished the game by shooting 46 percent, while Boise State shot 36.2 percent after shooting 50 percent in the first-half. Utah State had four players score in double-figures led by Curtis Bobb's 17 points and six rebounds.
Championship: Defense would be the only word that could describe the championship game as both teams shot in the mid-30s from the field. USU broke the game open late in the first-half and took a 25-15 lead into the locker room as the Aggie defense held Pacific scoreless for almost eight minutes in the opening half. Pacific cut the lead to four early in the second half but USU slowly extended its lead to 17 points late in the game before winning 50-38, which was the lowest score ever in a championship game in tournament history. Dion Bailey had another outstanding game as he led USU with a career-high 14 points off the bench to go along with four rebounds and four steals. Bernard Rock added 13 points, and Shawn Daniels just missed a double-double with nine points and 10 rebounds. The Aggies had just six assists in the game, but UOP had just four. The Tigers also committed 22 turnovers in the game as Utah State notched 10 steals.
Long Range Bomber: Junior Tony Brown is on pace to become Utah State's all-time three-point shooter before his career is over. Brown is currently third all-time at USU in three-pointers made and attempted. The following is a breakdown of where Brown stands as of date on the USU career charts.
Brown Scores 1,000 Points: Junior guard Tony Brown became the 28th player in Utah State history to score 1,000 points in a career on Feb. 17 at Long Beach State, and the first since Eric Franson accomplished the feat in 1995. Brown has 1,076 points in his career which ranks 24th all-time at USU. Brown also surpassed the 200 assist mark this year and is now 14th all-time at USU with 239 assists. He is only the eighth player ever at Utah State to score 1,000 points and record 200 assists in a career.
Keep It Under 60: Utah State has been nearly unbeatable as of late when its opponents score less than 60 points in a game. Thus far this year, USU is 19-1 when its opponents score less than 60 points, and the Aggies were 12-0 last season when its opponents didn't hit 60. The last time USU lost a game when its opponent didn't score 60 points was a 56-51 loss at UC Irvine this year. Utah State is 35-2 in three years under head coach Stew Morrill when USU holds its opponents to under 60 points.
Over At The Half: Utah State had made a habit of winning games on a regular basis when leading at half-time over recent years. In fact, USU had won 39 games in a row when leading at the half before letting a 10-point half-time advantage slip away against Austin Peay State on Nov. 19, 2000. USU has however recorded a 64-2 mark when leading at half-time over its last 66 games, and is 23-1 this season when leading at the half.
Daniels Third All-Time In Blocks: Senior forward Shawn Daniels is third all-time at Utah State with 113 career-blocks, trailing only Gilbert Pete (155) and Nate Wickizer (148). Daniels tied the USU single-season record with 58 blocks last season. His career-average of 1.69 is the best per game block average in school history.
Daniels Ninth In The Country: As of March 5th, senior Shawn Daniels is ninth in the country in field-goal percentage at 58.6 percent. That mark is the second-best in the Big West. He also leads the league in blocked shots at 1.72.
Rock Ninth All-Time In Assists: Senior guard Bernard Rock has moved into ninth place all-time at Utah State with 283 career-assists. He has averaged 4.3 assists in his career which is fifth-best all-time at USU.
Fifth In The Country In Points Allowed: Utah State is among the elite teams in the country when it comes to team defense this season. As of March 5, USU is fifth in the country in points allowed (58.6) and 12th in the country in field-goal percentage defense (39.5). Furthermore, the Aggies are fifth in the country in field-goal percentage (49.8), ninth in winning percentage (.828), ninth in scoring margin (+13.6), and 24th in three-point field-goal percentage (39.1).
Back-Court Tandem: Utah State has been nearly unbeatable over the past two seasons when the back-court tandem of Bernard Rock and Tony Brown outscore its opponent's back-court. The Aggies are 38-1 over the past two seasons when Rock and Brown outscore its opponent's back-court.
Close Losses: Of Utah State's five losses on the season, four have come by a combined total of 12 points. Two of those losses were in overtime (Austin Peay and Boise State), one was by two points (BYU), and the other five points (UCI).
Solid Defense In League: For the most part, Utah State's defense in league has been simply outstanding. In its 19 games, USU held 16 of its opponents to 60 or fewer points and 13 of its 19 league opponents to below 40 percent shooting from the field. Overall, USU has held 21 of its opponents on the season to below 60 points and 20 of its opponents to below 40 percent shooting from the field.
All Or Nothing: It has been all or nothing for USU in the Big West this season as the Aggies won all 13 of its league games by at least 10 points. No other team in school history has won as many league games by double-digits.
What A Group: No other group in Utah State history has had the success that this group of Aggies have had over the last two years. During that time, USU is 55-11 overall and 35-3 in the Big West Conference, both of which are USU records for a two-year span. The previous best for a two-year period at Utah State was accomplished by the 1997 and 1998 teams that went 45-17 overall and 29-8 in league play.
Aggies Among The Best In The Country Over The Last Two Years: Utah State is among some select company over the past two seasons with one of the best records in the country. USU is 55-11 over the past two seasons for a winning percentage of .833. Over the past two years only 12 teams have won 50 plus games, and USU's 55 is tied with Stanford for the fourth most wins in the country. The following is a list of which teams have won at least 50 games over the past two seasons.
Daniels Named To The NABC District 14 Second Team: Senior forward Shawn Daniels was named to the NABC (National Association of Basketball Coaches) District 14 second-team on March 2. Daniels is USU's second leading scorer (12.1) and the teams leading rebounder (6.7). Daniels joined Oregon's Bryan Bracey, Santa Clara's Brian Jones, Gonzaga's Dan Dickau, and Oregon State's Deandre Tanner. The 150 student-athletes selected by NABC, from 15 districts, are now eligible for the NABC/Chevrolet Division I All-American Team to be announced at the conclusion of the 2001 NCAA men's basketball season.
Daniels Named Mid-Major All-America: Shawn Daniels was named to the College Insider.Com Mid-Major All-America team on Mar. 7. The team consists of 20 players in the country from Mid-Major University's.
Daniels Named Big West Conference Defensive Player Of The Year: Along with being a two-time all-Big West first-team selection, senior forward Shawn Daniels was also named the league's defensive player of the year after leading the league in blocked shots (1.72) and finishing third in rebounding (6.8). Daniels was also among the league leaders in field-goal percentage (58.6) and points scored (11.9).
Perfect Record At Home: The 2000-01 team became just the third team in school history to go undefeated at home on the season as the Aggies were a perfect 15-0. The only other two teams to go undefeated at home over the course of a season where the 1997-98 team that went 15-0 and the 1973-74 team that went 14-0 at home. Its 15 win at home on the year tied the 1999-2000 and 1997-98 teams for most wins at home in a single-season with 15.
23-Game Home Court Winning Streak: Utah State has won its last 23 games at home dating back to Jan. 8, 2000. USU's last loss at home was a 82-73 decision to BYU. USU has won 35 of its last 36 games at home. That 23-game winning streak at home is the fourth longest streak in the country. Michigan State leads the country with a 45 game winning streak at home, while Iowa State has won 36 in a row. Detroit is third with 31 wins, followed by Utah State with 23.
22-Game Home Court Winning Streak In League: In league play, Utah State has won its last 22 home games and 41 of its last 42. Over the past two seasons, USU has won 15 of its 16 league games by at least 10 points. The only time USU did not defeat a league opponent at home by 10 or more points over the last two seasons was when the Aggies beat Pacific by nine in the Dee Glen Smith Spectrum on Feb. 17, 2000.
Home Sweet Home: Utah State has had tremendous success at the Dee Glen Smith Spectrum since the building was opened for the 1970-71 season. In its first 30 years, USU has had only one losing season at home, with a 3-8 record during the 1981-82 year. All-time, Utah State is 337-96 (.778) at home. Over the past five seasons, the Aggies have compiled an incredible 68-3 (.958) record at home.
Morrill Comfortable At Home: Utah State head coach Stew Morrill is very comfortable at the Dee Glen Smith Spectrum, and his record would confirm that fact. Since becoming USU's head coach prior to the 1998-99 season, Coach Morrill is 42-3 (.933) at home.
Making You Earn It: Utah State has been very stingy lately in terms of points allowed, and the Aggies aren't giving its opponents any free chances at points. Over the past four games, Utah State has allowed opponents to shot only 19-34 (.559) from the free-throw line, while USU has shot 60-84 (.714) from the charity stripe. That works out to 41 points that USU has outscored its opponents from the free-throw line over the last four games for an average of 10.3 per game. The following is a look at the last four games for Utah State as far as free-throws go.
Since Jan. 1, 2001: Since the calender hit Jan. 1, 2001, Utah State has produced a 20-3 record. However, all 20 of those wins have come by at least 10 points during that span. During those 20 wins, Utah State's average margin of victory is 16.7 points.