Utah State basketball announces 2018-19 non-conference slate

Utah State guard Sam Merrill (3) heads off the court after an NCAA college basketball game against Gonzaga in Spokane, Wash., Saturday, Nov. 18, 2017. (AP Photo/Young Kwak)

LOGAN, Utah – Utah State men’s basketball has released its 2018-19 non-conference schedule, featuring seven home games, contests against three in-state opponents and matchups against a pair of teams that were nationally ranked at the end of the 2017-18 season.

“The previous coaching staff did a great job of putting this schedule together and we just needed to come in and put together a few of the finishing touches,” first-year head coach Craig Smith said. “Overall, I think we have a competitive schedule with games against some strong competition and games that will also allow us to develop some of our younger guys. We can’t wait for the season to get underway.”

The 2018-19 campaign will have an unofficial open when the Aggies host Evergreen State College in an exhibition game on Thursday, Nov. 1. The Geoducks are an NAIA school located in Olympia, Wash., compete in the Cascade Collegiate Conference and finished the 2017-18 season with an overall mark of 5-24.

The season will officially begin on Tuesday, Nov. 6, as the Aggies travel to Montana State for the season opener in Bozeman, Mont., marking the fourth consecutive year that Utah State will have opened on the road. The game renews one of the oldest series in USU history, as the two teams have played 117 times, the third-longest series and longest outside the state of Utah for the Aggies. Utah State posted an 81-73 victory over the Bobcats in Logan last season and the Aggies lead the all-time series 77-40.

Utah State then returns home for three straight games inside the Dee Glen Smith Spectrum, hosting Hartford on Friday, Nov. 9, Mississippi Valley State on Tuesday, Nov. 13, and Utah Valley on Friday, Nov. 16. The games against Hartford and Utah Valley will be part of the MGM Main Event that will take place the following week as the Aggies will play at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nev., facing St. Mary’s on Monday, Nov. 19, and then either Mississippi State or Arizona State on Wednesday, Nov. 21.

The game against Hartford will mark the first of three first-time opponents for the Aggies during the year. The Hawks finished the 2017-18 season with an overall mark of 19-14 and made an appearance in the CIT, losing in the opening round at San Diego, 88-72.

The game against Mississippi Valley State marks a return trip for the Delta Devils to Logan, as the Aggies posted an 83-47 victory inside the Dee Glen Smith Spectrum last season. MVSU finished the 2017-18 season with an overall mark of 4-28 and played 23 of its 32 games away from home.

Utah State and Utah Valley will meet for the 13th time in program history, with the Aggies having never lost in the previous 12 contests. The teams had met annually since 2006 before a break in the series last year. The Wolverines finished the 2017-18 campaign with an overall mark of 23-11 and advanced to the quarterfinals of the College Basketball Invitational, ending the season with a 78-73 defeat on the road at San Francisco.

St. Mary’s received votes in the final 2017-18 poll after finishing the year with an overall mark of 30-6 and making an appearance in the NIT quarterfinals. The game marks the 10th time the team will have met on the hardwood with the Aggies leading the all-time series 5-4.

Utah State wraps up the MGM Main Event with a matchup with either Arizona State or Mississippi State. The Sun Devils finished the 2017-18 season with an overall mark of 20-12, after starting the year a perfect 12-0. ASU ended its season in the first round of the NCAA Tournament, falling to Syracuse, 60-56. Mississippi State and Utah State have faced three times in school history with the Bulldogs taking the latest meeting 71-63 in Starkville, Miss., in 2014. MSU finished the 2017-18 season with an overall mark of 25-12 as its season came to an end in a 75-60 defeat to Penn State in the semifinals of the NIT.

Utah State returns to the Dee Glen Smith Spectrum on Wednesday, Nov. 28, facing Northern Iowa in the annual Mountain West/Missouri Valley Conference Challenge. The Aggies are 1-2 all-time in the challenge with their victory coming on the road at Missouri State during the 2015-16 season. UNI finished the 2017-18 season with an overall mark of 16-16 and will be the second first-time opponent for the Aggies in 2018-19.

Utah State opens the month of December with three games away from home, playing at UC Irvine on Saturday, Dec. 1, at BYU on Wednesday, Dec. 5, and against Weber State at Vivint Smart Home Arena in the annual Beehive Classic on Saturday, Dec. 8. UC Irvine, a former Big West rival for the Aggies, finished the 2017-18 season with an overall mark of 18-17, including a 62-59 defeat against Utah State in Logan.

Utah State and BYU will be meeting for the 235th time, the longest series in USU basketball history, with the Aggies looking to snap the Cougars’ six-game winning streak. BYU finished the 2017-18 season with an overall mark of 24-11 and ended its season in an 86-83 defeat on the road at Stanford in the opening round of the NIT.

The Aggies return to Logan for their next contest, facing Alabama State on Saturday, Dec. 15. The game marks the third first-time opponent for Utah State and the second foe from the Southwestern Athletic Conference (Mississippi Valley State). The Hornets finished the 2017-18 season with an overall mark of 8-23.

Utah State travels to the Lone Star State on Thursday, Dec. 20, for a matchup with the University of Houston. The Cougars finished the 2017-18 season ranked No. 22 in the nation with an overall mark of 28-8 and an appearance in the second round of the NCAA Tournament.

The Aggies wrap up their non-conference slate at home against Eastern Oregon on Friday, Dec. 28, hosting the Mountaineers for the first time since the 1941-42 season, a 56-42 victory for Utah State. EOU finished the 2017-18 season with an overall mark of 21-8.

Utah State men’s basketball news and information is available on Facebook (facebook.com/usumensbasketball), on Twitter (@usubasketball) and on Instagram (@usubasketball). Fans can also get USU men’s basketball highlights on YouTube (youtube.com/utahstateathletics). Aggie fans can follow the Utah State athletic program on Twitter (@usuathletics), on Facebook (facebook.com/usuathletics) or on Instagram (@usuathletics).

2018-19 Utah State Men’s Basketball Non-Conference Schedule

Nov. 1   Evergreen State College (Exh.)   Logan, Utah

Nov. 6   at Montana State             Bozeman, Mont.

Nov. 9   Hartford               Logan, Utah

Nov. 13 Mississippi Valley State  Logan, Utah

Nov. 16 Utah Valley         Logan, Utah

Nov. 19 vs St. Mary’s       Las Vegas, Nev. (T-Mobile Arena)

Nov. 21 Mississippi State/Arizona State  Las Vegas, Nev. (T-Mobile Arena)

Nov. 28 Northern Iowa  Logan, Utah

Dec. 1    at UC Irvine        Irvine, Calif.

Dec. 5    at BYU   Provo, Utah

Dec. 8    vs Weber State Salt Lake City, Utah (Vivint Smart Home Arena)

Dec. 15 Alabama State   Logan, Utah

Dec. 20 at Houston          Houston, Texas

Dec. 28 Eastern Oregon Logan, Utah

-USU-

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