Utah Media Continues To Call Out Utes

Big Blue Chasing a "Runnin' Ute"
Mike Sorenson from the Deseret News wrote an article yesterday titled “Utah Utes basketball should keep playing Utah State Aggies“. This is the second piece I have seen coming from the Salt Lake City newspapers on the subject, the other written by Kurt Kragthorpe of the Salt Lake Tribune.

Both writers had basically the same view: The Utes should continue the 100+ year rivalry with Utah State in basketball. They also both concurred that the Utes seem to be avoiding the continuation of the basketball rivalry due to the fact that coming to Logan pretty much guarantees them a loss (they haven’t won there since 1995).

For those of you that missed it, I also wrote a piece on this topic a couple of weeks ago titled “The Runnin’ Utes are Runnin’ Scared“.

The one upside to all of this? At least the Aggies won’t take a hit to their RPI and strength of schedule by playing the Utes this coming year. That said, I still think the games should continue. It’s a real shame to see a 100+ year rivalry come to an end like this.

(Image created by Jason Wright.)

New WAC Additions and the RPI

WAC LogoAfter seeing team after team abandon ship, the Western Athletic Conference appears to be scrambling to stay afloat. By the end of next season the WAC will have lost Boise State, Nevada, Fresno State, and Hawaii to the Mountain West Conference. In an attempt to counter these losses the WAC has announced the additions of Texas State, University of Texas-San Antonio, Denver, and Seattle. It appears that the WAC isn’t done adding teams either, as there are now rumblings that University of Texas-Arlington has also accepted an invite to the WAC.

What does this mean for Utah State Basketball? Well, their future in the WAC does not look good. Especially considering the affects that this will have on Utah State’s RPI.

The RPI is a tool used to measure a team’s relative strength in comparison to the rest of the teams in the nation. It is instrumental in gaining admission to the NCAA Tournament at the end of each year.  The Aggies have consistently been in the RPI top-100 over the past several years, most of the time falling in the top-50. In fact, they have an average RPI of 38 over the past five years, far and away the best rating in the WAC:

Utah State:
Utah St. RPI Table

While the past couple of years have seen a down-tick in WAC strength, overall the WAC has been able to produce multiple RPI top-100 teams each season. This has usually provided the Aggies with multiple top-100 opponents and chances at top-100 victories come NCAA Tournament time.

Now, let’s take a closer look at what will happen over the next two years as current WAC members leave and new WAC members arrive. I’ve taken the 5-year RPI average of departing teams versus the announced arrivals. (Source: StatSheet.com)

WAC Departures:
WAC Departures RPI Table

WAC Additions:
WAC Additions RPI Table

The departing squads have averaged an RPI of 152 over the past five years.  Each team has also been in the RPI top-100 at least once over the same time period.

The arriving squads have averaged an RPI of 239 over the past 5 years (Seattle has only been D1 for 2 years).  None of them entered into the top 100, with UT-Arlington coming the closest in 2007-08 at RPI 147.

This turns into a lose-lose situation for the Aggies.  They will now be looking at up to 10 games per season against sub-200 RPI teams.  If you win those games your RPI drops and you pick up a “bad win” in the eyes of the NCAA Committee.  If you lose those games your RPI drops even more and you pick up a dreaded “bad loss”, a serious threat to at-large berth chances.

Will these new WAC members be able to step up their game and provide a meaningful addition to the WAC?  If history is any indication, the answer is no. It’s a good thing that Stew has successfully scheduled some BCS teams over the next few years. His team’s NCAA Tournament Resume will surely need the boost.

Adam Thoseby’s National Team Goes Down to Belgium

Great Britain FlagAdam Thoseby’s Great Britain Under-20 National Team was brought back to reality this week as they registered consecutive losses to Belgium. This comes after going 6-0 in other warm-up games over the past few weeks.

Up until these two games Thoseby had been starting for the team, but against Belgium he came off the bench. In game one he was the 2nd leading scorer behind NBA draft pick Ryan Richards dropping in 13 points in a 94-71 loss. In game two he did not have as much success registering just 3 points, 3 rebounds, 1 assist and 1 steal.

For more information on these past two games visit HoopsFix.

The team will now head to the European Youth Championships in Sarajevo, Bosnia. Great Britain is in Group C and will face the following teams in the opening round:

July 14 vs. Portugal
July 15 vs. Finland
July 16 vs. Luxembourg
July 17 vs. Norway
July 18 vs. Czech Republic

Aggies to face Mississippi State

Mississippi State University LogoTony Jones of the Salt Lake Tribune broke the news today that Utah State has signed an agreement to play a 2-for-1 series with the Mississippi State Bulldogs. The first game will be played at Mississippi State on Dec. 31, 2011. The Bulldogs will make their way to the Spectrum two years later during the 2013-14 season. The Aggies will then play a final game at Mississippi State in 2014-15.

This news is exciting news for Utah State fans who have seldom seen BCS opponents in out of conference play in recent years. They should start to get used to this new trend, however, as there will be BCS opponents on the schedule for many years to come. Let’s take a look at what we know so far:

2010-11 @ Georgetown
2011-12 @ Mississippi State
2012-13 vs. USC
2013-14 vs. Mississippi State & @ USC
2014-15 @ Mississippi State.

There were also rumors of a home and home arrangement with Colorado that apparently has subsequently fallen through. It appears that Stew Morrill is willing to bend his strict scheduling philosophy of only home-and-home agreements. Will this prove to be to the Aggies advantage or their detriment? You make the call.

Utah State Basketball Pictorial Roster 2011-12

Brockeith PaneBrady JardineAntonio BumpusPreston MedlinJordan Stone
It’s that time of year again! Time to try and piece together the team for the upcoming basketball season! We’ve done just that at USUStats.com with our annual “Pictorial Roster“. Check it out by clicking below, and feel free to post questions, comments, or predictions on any of the players you see on the roster.

2011-12 Utah State Basketball Pictorial Roster

Also feel free to reminisce and check out the rosters from past seasons by changing the season in the drop down box at the top of the page (once you click the link above).

Adam Thoseby vs. Denmark

Great Britain FlagAdam Thoseby played a pair of warm-up games over the weekend with his Great Britain under-20 National Team. Great Britain won both games, moving to 6-0 in warm-up play thus far. Thoseby contributed seven points in each of the two games. His team will now have one day off before playing their final two warm-up games against Belgium on Wednesday and Thursday.

Check out the full writeup of the Denmark games at HoopsFix.