Utah State Men's Basketball 2019 NCAA Tournament Capsule


Utah State Aggies

Mountain West (28-6, 15-3)

Coach Craig Smith wasted no time getting Utah State back to the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2011. He had mild success in his four years at South Dakota, but nobody expected Coach Smith to turn around the Aggies this quickly. But Utah State had a very strong regular season and picked up some nice wins over teams like Saint Mary’s and Nevada.
Big Wins: 11/19 vs St. Mary’s (80-63), 2/5 at Fresno State (82-81), 3/2 Nevada (81-76)
Bad Losses: 12/5 at BYU (80-95), 1/9 Fresno State (77-78), 2/9 at San Diego State (63-68)
Coach: Craig Smith
Why They Can Surprise:
This is one of the best rebounding teams in the nation in large part thanks to the starting frontcourt duo of Neemias Queta and Quinn Taylor. Queta, a 6-11 freshman, has had an amazing debut season, averaging 11.9 points, 8.9 rebounds and 2.4 blocks. Taylor, an experienced senior, has taken a bit of a backseat to Queta, but he is a strong rebounder and a solid scoring threat in his own right. On the perimeter, it is Sam Merrill who deserves much of the credit for Utah State’s impressive ability to share the ball. The junior dishes out 4.0 assists per game, while committing just 1.8 turnovers. Merrill is also the team’s main scoring threat, averaging 21.2 points per game. He has connected on 37.8 percent of his attempts from beyond the arc and he can carry this team quite far.
Why They Can Disappoint:
It remains to be seen if Utah State is a team that can seriously compete in the NCAA Tournament. Their schedule has been relatively easy and the Mountain West has not been that difficult outside of Nevada. In non-conference play the Aggies beat Saint Mary’s and lost against the other stronger teams on the slate…Arizona State, BYU and Houston. The Aggies deserve a lot of credit for beating the teams they should beat and pulling off that great home victory over Nevada, but that may not be enough to prepare this group to face off against one of the top teams in the country.
Probable Starters:
Abel Porter, Sophomore, Guard, 5.4 ppg, 2.7 apg
Sam Merrill, Junior, Guard, 21.2 ppg, 4.0 rpg, 4.2 apg
Brock Miller, Freshman, Guard, 8.0 ppg
Quinn Taylor, Senior, Forward, 8.0 ppg, 6.2 rpg
Neemias Queta, Freshman, Center, 11.9 ppg, 8.9 rpg, 2.4 bpg
Key Role Players:
Justin Bean, Freshman, Forward, 4.0 ppg, 3.7 rpg
Diogo Brito, Junior, Guard, 8.3 ppg, 4.3 rpg
Dwayne Brown, Senior, Guard, 6.3 ppg
By the Numbers:
Scoring Offense: 79.0 (43rd in nation, 2nd in conference)
Scoring Defense: 66.8 (58, 2)
Field-Goal Percentage: 47.4 (40, 2)
Field-Goal Defense: 39.2 (11, 1)
Three-Point Field Goals Per Game: 7.8 (161, 6)
Three-Point Field-Goal Percentage: 35.3 (130, 5)
Free-Throw Percentage: 74.7 (37, 1)
Rebound Margin: 8.6 (7, 1)
Assists Per Game: 17.2 (10, 1)
Turnovers Per Game: 12.4 (111, 4)
Recent Postseason Appearances:
2012CITFirst Round win over Cal State Bakersfield
2012CITSecond Round win over Idaho
2012CITQuarterfinal win over Loyola Marymount
2012CITSemifinal win over Oakland
2012CITFinal loss to Mercer
2011NCAARound of 64 loss to Kansas State
2010NCAARound of 64 loss to Texas A&M
2009NCAARound of 64 loss to Marquette
2008NITFirst Round loss to Illinois State
2007NITFirst Round loss to Michigan
*all team stats through 3/10