#77 Utah State Men's Basketball 2020-2021 Preview

Utah State Aggies
2020-2021 Overall Rank: #77
Conference Rank: #3 Mountain West
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Utah State would have reached their second straight NCAA Tournament last season. They finished their campaign with an impressive victory over San Diego State in the conference tournament final to earn the Mountain West’s automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament. The Aggies should remain competitive in the Mountain West, but another trip to the tournament will be difficult without leading scorer Sam Merrill.
2019-20 Record: 26-8, 12-6
Coach: Craig Smith
Coach Record: 54-15 at Utah State, 205-99 overall
Key Departed Players:
Sam Merrill, Guard, 19.7 ppg
Abel Porter, Guard, 5.6 ppg
Diogo Brito, Guard, 8.5 ppg
Roche Grootfaam, Forward, 3.3 ppg
Key Returning Players:
Neemias Queta, Junior, Center, 13.0 ppg
Justin Bean, Junior, Forward, 11.9 ppg
Brock Miller, Junior, Guard, 8.4 ppg
Alphonso Anderson, Senior, Forward, 8.1 ppg
Sean Bairstow, Sophomore, Guard, 2.8 ppg
Kuba Karwowski, Senior, Center, 2.7 ppg
Trevin Dorius, Sophomore, Center, 2.7 ppg
Key New Players:
Marco Anthony, Junior, Guard, Transfer from Virginia
Steven Ashworth, Freshman, Guard
Liam McChesney, RS Freshman, Forward
Max Shulga, Freshman, Guard
Karson Stastny, Freshman, Guard
Zahar Vedischev, Freshman, Guard
Matthew Wickizer, Freshman, Forward
Rollie Worster, Freshman, Guard
Szymon Zapata, Freshman, Center
Without Merrill, the Aggies will look inside for more of their scoring in 2020-2021. Neemias Queta and Justin Bean will not have a problem providing it. Queta tallied 13.0 points, 7.8 rebounds and 1.7 blocks and is a dominating seven-foot presence in the paint. Bean had a breakout junior season, tallying 11.9 points and 10.5 rebounds. That junior duo will dominate the USU frontcourt, but there is plenty of depth too. Alphonso Anderson, a 6-6 senior, added 8.1 points per game and Kuba Karwowski and Trevin Dorius are both seven-footers who can fill in for Queta as needed. The problem could be in the backcourt. Brock Miller was the most prolific three-point shooter on a team that did not take too many long balls. He will fill that role again. Sophomore Sean Bairstow, a 6-7 wing, showed some promise during his freshman campaign. The rest of the backcourt will have to be filled in by the newcomers. Most notable is Marco Anthony, a transfer from Virginia. He is not a point guard though and without Merrill and Abel Porter and Diogo Brito, Utah State is lacking in that department. If Coach Craig Smith cannot find a new ball handler to feed Queta and Bean in the paint, Utah State could take a bigger step back than expected.
Projected Postseason Tournament: NIT
By the Numbers:
Scoring Offense: 76.5 (39th in nation, 3rd in conference)
Scoring Defense: 64.1 (35, 2)
Field-Goal Percentage: 46.0 (54, 4)
Field-Goal Defense: 39.2 (17, 2)
Three-Point Field Goals Per Game: 7.3 (169, 10)
Three-Point Field-Goal Percentage: 33.3 (181, 7)
Free-Throw Percentage: 76.3 (21, 2)
Rebound Margin: 9.4 (2, 1)
Assists Per Game: 16.5 (9, 1)
Turnovers Per Game: 12.5 (117, 5)