LOGAN, Utah – For the second time in the last three years, Utah State will travel to Moraga, Calif., and play Saint Mary’s as part of the ninth annual ESPNU BracketBuster on Saturday, Feb. 19 at 7 p.m. (MT), in a game that will be televised nationally on ESPN2. USU’s contest against the Gaels will be one of 11 games televised on the ESPN family of networks. “BracketBuster has been a very positive event for us,” said Utah State head coach Stew Morrill. “The television exposure along with quality opponents has given us a home and home scheduling situation that we would struggle to get otherwise. “In addition, sometimes the BracketBuster game comes with NCAA Tournament ramifications, like our Wichita State game last year. Obviously, you would prefer to play at home. It becomes a huge challenge when you’re on the road against a great team.”Utah State is 4-1 all-time in BracketBuster games as it defeated Northwestern State (66-63) at home during the 2005-06 season, won at Oral Roberts (71-65) during the 2006-07 campaign, defeated UC Santa Barbara (72-59) at home during the 2007-08 season, lost at Saint Mary’s (75-64) in 2008-09 and defeated Wichita State (68-58) at home last year. Saint Mary’s is 18-4 on the season and in first-place in the West Coast Conference with a 6-1 league record. The Gaels, who are 11-0 at home this year, return three starters and eight letterwinners from last year’s team that went 28-6, finished in second-place in the WCC with an 11-3 league record, and advanced to the Sweet 16 of the NCAA Tournament with wins against Richmond (80-71) and Villanova (75-68). Utah State and Saint Mary’s will be meeting for the eighth time ever with the Aggies owning a 4-3 all-time advantage. The Gaels have won the last two meetings between the schools including a 68-63 win in Logan on Dec. 5, 2009, snapping USU’s school-record 37-game home winning streak. The last time the two teams played in Moraga was on Feb. 21, 2009 as part of BracketBuster with SMC winning, 75-64. “Saint Mary’s at Saint Mary’s in BracketBuster is a tough assignment,” added Morrill. “I thought we already did this? We know first-hand how good they are. Hopefully, we can play a little better than last time we were there. Saint Mary’s is a talented and well-coached program.” All nine Western Athletic Conference teams will be involved in this year’s event, but Utah State is the only WAC school to have a televised game. Utah State currently ranks 21st in the nation in the latest ESPN/USA Today Coaches’ Poll and 22nd in the latest Associated Press poll. USU is currently 20-2 on the season and in first-place in the WAC with a 9-0 league mark. The Aggies have won 15 straight games, which is the third-longest active winning streak in the nation. Utah State returns to action on Wednesday, Feb. 2 when it hosts Nevada (8-13, 5-3) in a game that will be televised nationally on ESPN2 at 9 p.m. (MT). USU owns the third-longest home winning streak in the nation with 26 straight wins in the Dee Glen Smith Spectrum trailing only Duke (31) and Kentucky (29). The Aggies have also won 28 straight WAC games at home over the last four years.-USU-
Free News Delivery by Email
Would you like to have the day's news stories delivered right to your inbox every evening? Enter your email below to start!