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LOGAN, Utah - Utah State basketball will make its eighth straight postseason appearance when it travels to Michigan for the first round of the 2007 MasterCard National Invitational Tournament on Tuesday. The game will tipoff at 5 p.m. mountain time and will be televised on ESPN2.
After competing in the NCAA Tournament in each of the last two seasons, the Aggies will make their third appearance in the NIT in the last seven years. USU lost its two most recent first-round NIT games to Montana State in 2002 and Hawai'I in 2004 in its last two tournament games.
In all, the Aggies are 2-7 in seven appearances all-time in the postseason NIT, winning two out three games in 1960 and losing in the first round in 1967 (vs. Rutgers at New York), 1978 (at Nebraska), 1984 (at home vs. Louisiana-Lafayette) and 1995 (at home vs. Illinois State) in addition to 2002 and 2004.
In 1960, the Aggies played three games at New York City beating Villanova 73-72 in overtime, falling to Providence 68-62 and beating St. Bonaventure 99-83.
In addition to the previous two NIT tournaments appearances in this decade, the Aggies reached the NCAA Tournament five times - 2000, 2001, 2003, 2005 and 2006 - for eight straight postseason appearances. USU defeated Ohio State in the 2001 NCAA first round before falling to UCLA in the second round.
Utah State is coming off a runner-up finish at the Western Athletic Conference tournament as the Aggies fell to host New Mexico State 72-70 in the final game Saturday night. It marked the second straight year USU lost the tournament championship game on the opponents' home court as the Aggies lost in overtime at Nevada last season.
Utah State has been led by junior guard Jaycee Carroll, who averages a conference-leading 21.3 points per game, while also pacing the team in rebounding at 6.3 per contest. Carroll has already been selected as a second-team High Major All-America selection by Collegehoops.net, a first-team USBWA all-district and second-team NABC all-district selection.
Carroll was also first-team all-WAC and all-tournament team this season. Forward Chaz Spicer was named to the WAC all-tournament team as well this weekend.
In addition to Carroll's 21.3 points per game, Spicer averages 11.5 points, center Stephen DuCharme averages 10.3 and guard Durrall Peterson averages 9.3 per game.
The Aggies have never played Michigan in basketball. The last time the Aggies played a Big 10 Conference team was a 64-57 win against Northwestern at the Top of the World Classic on Nov. 21, 2004. Prior to that USU posted a 77-68 overtime win against Ohio State in the 2001 NCAA Tournament.
The winner of the USU-Michigan game will face the winner of the Florida State vs. Toledo contest. In November of 1997, USU played in the preseason NIT and faced a similar situation, as the Aggies traveled to Big 10 opponent Minnesota for a first-round game and after defeating the Gophers 75-64, went to Florida State for a second-round game. USU dropped that contest 66-55.
This month, the Aggies defeated 10th-ranked Nevada twice and own a 6-4 record against teams that made the NCAA Tournament this year, as in addition to beating Nevada two times, the Aggies also beat Weber State twice, New Mexico State once and Oral Roberts once.
Utah State is one of just four programs in the country to have won at least 23 games in each of the last eight seasons, joining Duke, Kansas and Gonzaga.
All-time USU is making its 25th postseason appearance having qualified for the NCAA Tournament 17 times and the NIT on eight occasions.