Utah State men’s basketball ranked 17th in latest ESPN/USA Today coaches’ poll and 21st in Associated Press poll

LOGAN, Utah – For the second straight week, Utah State’s men’s basketball team is ranked in both national polls and is now 17th in the nation in the latest ESPN/USA Today Coaches’ poll released Monday and 21st in the latest Associated Press poll. USU was ranked 21st in last week’s coaches’ poll and 22nd in the AP poll. The No. 17 ranking in this week’s ESPN/USA Today Coaches’ Poll is the highest-ever ranking for Utah State in that poll which expanded from 20 to 25 teams prior to the 1990-91 season. USU was also ranked 17th in coaches’ poll during the 2008-09 season. The No. 21 ranking in this week’s AP poll is the highest by an Aggie team since the 2008-09 team was also ranked 21st. USU was also ranked 19th in the weekly AP poll during the 2003-04 season. Overall, it is the second time in the last three years and the third time in the past eight seasons that Utah State has been ranked in both polls. The last time a Utah State team was ranked higher than 17th in any poll was at the end of the 1974-75 season when it was ranked 13th in the final United Press International Coaches’ poll. Along with improving on its national ranking, Utah State also extended its current winning streak to 17 straight games following its 77-49 home win against Boise State Saturday. That current 17-game winning streak ranks as the third-longest active winning streak in the nation behind Ohio State (24) and Coastal Carolina (20), and is tied for the fourth-longest winning streak in school history. Utah State is also the only team in the nation to have at least a 10-game winning streak in each of the last four years as it won 10 straight in 2008, a school-record tying 19 straight in 2009, and 17 in a row in 2010 to go along with its current 17-game winning streak. Utah State, who is 22-2 on the season, is one of just seven teams in the nation with at least 22 wins, and those 22 victories are tied for the third-most in the country behind Ohio State (24) and San Diego State (23). Furthermore, USU is tied with BYU and Coastal Carolina for the fourth-best winning percentage in the nation at 91.7 percent trailing Ohio State (1.000), San Diego State (.958) and Kansas (.957). Utah State’s 22-2 start to the 2010-11 season is the third-best in school history trailing the 2003-04 and 2008-09 teams that started the year with identical 25-2 records. With its 22-2 record, Utah State has now won at least 20 games in each of the last 12 seasons, extending its own school record. USU entered the 2010-11 season as one of just three teams nationally with 11 straight 23-win seasons joining Kansas and Gonzaga. During the last 11 seasons, USU has averaged 25.4 wins and its 77.4 winning percentage since 2000 is the fourth-best in the nation. Overall, USU has won 37 of its last 39 regular season games dating back to last season with its only losses coming on the road to then No. 23 Brigham Young (78-72) and then No. 14 Georgetown (68-51) this year. The Aggies have also won 25 straight Western Athletic Conference games dating back to last season, extending its own WAC and school records. Utah State, who is 11-0 in WAC play, is also one of just five teams across the nation yet to lose a league game along with Texas (8-0) of the Big 12, Coastal Carolina (13-0) of the Big South, Ohio State (11-0) of the Big Ten, and Princeton (4-0) of the Ivy League. Utah State also continues to be one of the best defensive teams in the country as it currently ranks eighth in the nation in rebounding margin (+8.5), eighth in scoring defense (58.2), and 10th in field goal percentage defense (.385). Utah State returns to action on Wednesday, Feb. 9 when it plays at Idaho (13-10, 6-5) in a game that will be televised nationally on ESPN2 at 9 p.m. (MT). USU has won six straight road games and is 8-2 on the road this year. The Aggies have also won 11 straight WAC road games dating back to last season. A win at Idaho will give Utah State a share of the 2011 Western Athletic Conference regular season title and notch its fourth-straight regular season WAC Championship. -USU-

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