Press ReleaseLOGAN -- Utah State University's head men's basketball coach Stew Morrill announced Thursday the upcoming 2009-10 schedule as the Aggies will play a total of 31 games during the regular season, which includes six contests against in-state opponents and a minimum of 13 games against postseason teams from a year ago.
During the 2009-10 season, Utah State will play a school-record 18 games in the Dee Glen Smith Spectrum, a venue where it has registered consecutive 17-0 seasons during the last two years. Overall, the Aggies have posted an incredible 157-12 (.929) home record under Coach Morrill and currently owns the second-longest home winning streak in the nation with 34 straight wins which is a school record.
Utah State's non-conference schedule consists of seven games against postseason teams from a year ago as the Aggies will host Brigham Young, Morehead State, Saint Mary's and Weber State, and travel to Northeastern, Utah and Weber State. BYU, who will be making its first visit to the Dee Glen Smith Spectrum in four years, has played in the NCAA Tournament each of the last three seasons, while Morehead State and Utah also played in the Big Dance last season. Saint Mary's and Weber State both participated in the National Invitational Tournament (NIT) a year ago, while Northeastern participated in the College Basketball Invitational (CBI).
Other postseason teams from the 2008-09 season on Utah State's schedule include Idaho, who played in the CollegeInsider.com Tournament, and Boise State and Nevada who both appeared in the CBI.
"Our schedule begins with a difficult stretch of three road games, two of which are in-state rivalries, and all three are against teams who went post-season last year," said Morrill. "We will find out in a hurry where we are at. The remainder of our non-conference schedule presents many challenges and opportunities. It has a nice mix of teams from a variety of conferences, with quality games both home and away. Our holiday tournament is always a nice event and has a solid trio of teams."
After playing exhibition games against Northwest Nazarene and Trinity Western on Oct. 30 and Nov. 7, Utah State will open the season with three straight road games, all against postseason teams from a year ago, as it begins the season at Weber State on Friday, Nov. 13, travels to Utah on Wednesday, Nov. 18, and plays at Northeastern on Saturday, Nov. 21. Those three road games to start the season are a first for a USU team since the 1981-82 team also played three straight road games to begin its year.
Utah State will play its first home game of the season against Idaho State on Tuesday, Nov. 24, followed by a home game against Southern Utah on Saturday, Nov. 28. The Aggies will then host in-state rival BYU on Wednesday, Dec. 2 and Saint Mary's on Saturday, Dec. 5, before concluding its season-long five-game home stretch on Saturday, Dec. 12 against Utah Valley. During the last nine years, Utah State has posted an impressive 25-9 (.735) record against in-state schools including a perfect 17-0 record at home.
Utah State will play its final two road games of the preseason at Cal State Bakersfield on Wednesday, Dec. 16 and at Long Beach State on Friday, Dec. 18, before concluding its non-conference schedule with four more home games as it hosts Cal State Fullerton, Morehead State and Weber State in the Basketball Travelers Invitational, sponsored by Gossner Foods. The tournament will begin on Monday, Dec. 21 and conclude on Wednesday, Dec. 23. USU will then finish the calender year at home against Western Oregon on Tuesday, Dec. 29.
After winning its second straight Western Athletic Conference regular season championship and first WAC Tournament title last season, Utah State will begin league play with five of its first seven games away from home including contests at New Mexico State and Louisiana Tech during the first weekend of January. USU's first home league game will be against Hawai'i on Monday, Jan. 11 and it will conclude WAC play on Saturday, Mar. 6 at home against NMSU. Other note-able home games during conference play include matchups with Boise State on Saturday, Jan. 16 and Nevada on Saturday, Feb. 6.
"With January comes WAC play and we know as defending champions, we will be targeted by everyone," Morrill stated. "The WAC will be strong with lots of players returning, and as always, it will be a battle every night out."
Utah State will also participate in the annual ESPN BracketBusters for the fifth straight year and host an opponent to be determined on Saturday, Feb. 20. The 2009 WAC Tournament will once again be held in Reno, Nev., from Mar. 10-13. However, this year's tournament will only feature the top eight teams, eliminating the play-in game.
Utah State returns four starters and eight lettermen from last year's school-record setting 30-5 team that advanced to its 10th straight postseason and played Marquette in the first round of the NCAA Tournament. During the last 10 years, USU has averaged 25.2 wins, has the fourth-best winning percentage in the country at 76.4 percent (252-78), and is one of just three teams in the nation to win at least 23 games in each of those seasons along with Gonzaga and Kansas.
Among those returning for Utah State is senior guard Jared Quayle who earned honorable mention All-American honors from CollegeHoops.net a year ago after averaging 13.1 points and 6.0 rebounds per game. Quayle also earned second team all-WAC honors and was named to the league's all-newcomer team as a junior. Junior forward Tai Wesley also returns for USU as he averaged 12.0 points and 6.0 rebounds a year ago while earning National Association of Basketball Coaches All-District Second Team honors. Wesley was also named to the WAC's all-tournament team in 2009 as was Quayle. USU also welcomes back starting junior guards Tyler Newbold and Pooh Williams who combined to average 14.9 points and 6.1 rebounds a year ago.
(Courtesy USU Athletic Department