Utah State Men's Basketball 2020 NCAA Tournament Capsule


Utah State Aggies

Mountain West (26-8, 12-6)

Utah State got off the mat and maximized their trip to Las Vegas in the MWC tournament, upsetting San Diego State 59-56. Sam Merrill’s three point shot with two seconds left punched the Aggies ticket to the big dance. It also knocked the Aztecs off of the number one seed line as well. Utah State has a couple of solid non-conference wins over LSU and Florida, so they have been battle tested a little bit before the NCAA Tournament.
Big Wins: 11/22 vs LSU (80-78), 12/21 vs Florida (65-62), 3/7 vs San Diego State (59-56)
Bad Losses: 1/1 at UNLV (53-70), 1/7 at Air Force (60-79), 2/29 at New Mexico (64-66)
Coach:  Craig Smith
Why They Can Surprise:
Experience is a strength of this team as Sam Merrill and Diogo Brito lead the backcourt for the Aggies. Merrill is the leading scorer and is averaging 19.7 points per game. Shooting is a big strength for Merrill as he has 46.1 percent of his shots, including 41 percent from three-point range. Brito is averaging 8.5 points per game and has done a nice job on the boards averaging 4.5 rebounds per contest. Justin Bean is going to have to have a big-time performance in the NCAA Tournament. He is averaging a double-double with 11.9 points per game and 10.5 rebounds. The ability as a team to control the boards is going to pay dividends in the NCAA Tournament for Utah State as they have a rebounding margin of plus 9.5. This will allow the Aggies to steal some extra possessions by getting second chance shots if they can keep up such a dominant performance on the glass.
Why They Can Disappoint:
The lack of quality competition in the Mountain West Conference this season could come back to bite Utah State in the first round of the NCAA Tournament. Turnover margin is another potential red flag for the Aggies as they are -0.1 in that category and are averaging 12.5 turnovers per game and only forcing 12.4 turnovers per game. Three-point shooting will be another category to watch as Utah State is only knocking down 33.3 percent of their shots from behind the three-point arc. Thus, if a team can slow down Merrill from the perimeter, it will put the Aggies in a tough spot offensively.
Probable Starters:
Sam Merrill, Senior, Guard, 19.7 ppg, 3.9 apg, 4.1 rpg
Diogo Brito, Senior, Guard, 8.5 ppg, 2.8 apg, 4.5 rpg
Abel Porter, Junior, Guard, 5.6 ppg, 3.2 apg
Justin Bean, Sophomore, Forward, 11.9 ppg, 10.5 rpg, 1.5 spg
Neemias Queta, Sophomore, Center, 13.0 ppg, 7.8 rpg, 1.7 bpg
Key Role Players:
Brock Miller, Sophomore, Guard, 8.4 ppg, 1.0 apg
Alphonso Anderson, Junior, Forward, 8.1 ppg, 3.7 rpg
Sean Bairstow, Freshman, Guard, 2.8 ppg, 1.0 apg
By the Numbers:
Scoring Offense: 76.5 (40th in nation, 3rd in conference)
Scoring Defense: 64.1 (36, 2)
Field-Goal Percentage: 46.0 (56, 4)
Field-Goal Defense: 39.2 (17, 2)
Three-Point Field Goals Per Game: 7.3 (171, 10)
Three-Point Field-Goal Percentage: 33.3 (179, 7)
Free-Throw Percentage: 76.3 (22, 2)
Rebound Margin: 9.4 (2, 1)
Assists Per Game: 16.5 (10, 1)
Turnovers Per Game: 12.5 (116, 5)
Recent Postseason Appearances:
2019NCAARound of 64 loss to Washington
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 3/8