Utah State Announces 2011-12 Men’s Basketball Schedule

LOGAN, Utah – Utah State University’s head men’s basketball coach Stew Morrill announced Wednesday the upcoming 2011-12 schedule as the Aggies will play a total of 31 games during the regular season, which includes four contests against in-state opponents and a minimum of 11 games against postseason teams from a year ago. During the 2010-11 season, Utah State will play 17 games in the Dee Glen Smith Spectrum, a venue where it has won 68 of its last 69 contests. Overall, the Aggies have posted an incredible 193-13 (.937) home record under Morrill, which includes a 45-3 (.938) mark in Western Athletic Conference play. USU will enter the 2011-12 season having won 31 straight home games, including 28 straight WAC games, to rank as the third-longest active home winning streak in the nation. Highlighting Utah State’s non-conference schedule will be home games against in-state foe Brigham Young along with Kent State and Saint Peter’s, both postseason teams a year ago. Significant road games include trips to Missouri Valley Conference member Wichita State and to Southeastern Conference member Mississippi State, along with a contest at in-state rival Weber State. Utah State’s matchup against Mississippi State will be the first of a three-game series as the Bulldogs will return to Logan during the 2013-14 season, with USU playing its second game in Starksville during the 2014-15 year. Utah State hasn’t played an SEC school since losing to Vanderbilt (77-56) at the 2007 South Padre Island (Texas) Invitational, and this year’s game will mark its first SEC road trip since losing at LSU (103-71) on Dec. 28, 1984. For Utah State, it will be the second-straight year it has traveled to a BCS school, playing at Georgetown last season. Overall, Utah State’s non-conference schedule consists of five games against postseason teams from a year ago as it will host Brigham Young, Kent State and Saint Peter’s, and play at Weber State and Wichita State. Both the Cougars and Saint Peter’s played in the NCAA Tournament a year ago, while Kent State and Wichita State both participated in the National Invitational Tournament (NIT) in 2011, with the Shockers winning the championship. Weber State concluded its 2011 season in the College Basketball Invitational. In all, Utah State’s non-conference schedule consists of nine teams with winning records in 2011, including four who won at least 20 games. Other postseason teams from the 2010-11 season on Utah State’s schedule include Hawai’i and Idaho who both played in the CollegeInsider.com Tournament, and San Jose State who participated in the College Basketball Invitational. “Our schedule presents lots of challenges in both the preseason and conference play,” said Morrill. “After our exhibition games, we face always strong BYU in our home opener followed by Big Sky favorite Weber State in Ogden. That is jumping right into the fire to start the year.” After playing exhibition games against UC San Diego and Adams State on Oct. 28 and Nov. 5, Utah State will open the season with three straight in-state games including its season opener at home against Brigham Young on Friday, Nov. 11. USU will then play at Weber State on Tuesday, Nov. 15 and host Southern Utah on Saturday, Nov. 19. The Aggies will then play a pair of road games at Texas A&M-Corpus Christi (Nov. 22) and at Idaho State (Nov. 26) before concluding the month of November at home against future WAC member Denver on Wednesday, Nov. 30. Utah State will begin the month of December with a road game at former Big West Conference foe Pacific on Saturday, Dec. 3, before returning home to host Utah Valley on Tuesday, Dec. 6. USU will then travel to Wichita State on Saturday, Dec. 10 followed by a home game against future WAC member Seattle on Saturday, Dec. 17. Utah State will then host Texas-Arlington, Saint Peter’s and Kent State in the 2011 World Vision Challenge sponsored by Gossner Foods which runs from Tuesday, Dec. 20 through Thursday, Dec. 22. Following the Christmas Holiday, USU will conclude its preseason with a road game at Mississippi State on Saturday, Dec. 31. “The preseason is loaded with many interesting matchups. We play future WAC teams Denver and Seattle, and potential WAC member Texas-Arlington. Also, old Big West foe Pacific is on the schedule along with two more in-state rivals in Southern Utah and Utah Valley. Games at Missouri Valley favorite Wichita State as well as SEC opponent Mississippi State in Starksville should help prepare us for WAC play. Our tournament also features a possible top 25 team in Kent State,” added Morrill. One team not on Utah State’s schedule this upcoming season is in-state rival Utah, snapping a streak of 67 straight years that the two schools have met annually. The two teams, who have played each other 223 times overall, will not be facing one another for the first time since the 1943-44 season as USU did not field a team that year due to World War II. In fact, the only other time USU and UU have not played when both schools have had teams was during the 1919-20 campaign. As the calendar turns to 2012, Utah State will return home and begin its quest for a fifth-straight Western Athletic Conference regular season title on Thursday, Jan. 5 against Fresno State, followed by another home game versus Nevada on Saturday, Jan. 7. “For the first time in several years, we will not be the favorite in the WAC. We hope the challenges of the preseason will help us improve enough to be a competitive WAC team. Nevada, New Mexico State and Hawai’i appear to be very strong and we look forward to seeing how it all shakes out,” Morrill said. Following a stretch with six of seven games at home, Utah State will end the month of January and begin February by playing six of eight games on the road, including four in a row away from Logan against New Mexico State (Jan. 12), Louisiana Tech (Jan. 14), Seattle (Jan. 19) and Idaho (Jan. 21). After hosting Hawai’i and San Jose State on Thursday, Jan. 26 and Saturday, Jan. 28, USU will return to the road for games at Nevada (Feb. 2) and Fresno State (Feb. 4). Utah State will then return home for a season-long five-game homestand as it hosts Louisiana Tech on Thursday, Feb. 9 and New Mexico State on Saturday, Feb. 11, before hosting non-conference foe Montana Tech on Tuesday, Feb. 14. USU will then participate in the annual ESPN BracketBusters for the seventh-straight year and host an opponent to be determined on Friday, Feb. 17 or Saturday, Feb. 18. Utah State will return to WAC play on Friday, Feb. 24 as it hosts Idaho in its final home game of the season and then concludes regular season play the following weekend at San Jose State (Mar. 1) and at Hawai’i (Mar. 3). The 2012 WAC Tournament will once again be held at the Orleans Arena in Las Vegas, Nev., from Mar. 7-10, utilizing the same format as last year which rewards teams based on regular season success and giving the top two teams byes into the tournament semifinals. Utah State returns one starter and four lettermen from last year’s NCAA Tournament team that finished the year with a 30-4 record and won its fourth-straight regular season WAC title as it posted a 15-1 record in league play. During the last 12 years, USU has averaged 25.8 wins, has the fourth-best winning percentage in the country at 77.4 percent (309-90), and is one of just three teams in the nation to win at least 23 games in each of those seasons along with Gonzaga and Kansas. Among those returning for Utah State is senior guard Brockeith Pane who earned first-team all-WAC honors a year ago and was named to the league’s all-newcomer team after averaging 11.8 points, 3.4 assists and 3.1 rebounds per game. Pane was also named the Most Valuable Player of the 2011 WAC Tournament after leading USU to wins against San Jose State (58-54) and Boise State (77-69) to claim its second tournament championships in the past three years. Other returners include senior forwards Morgan Grim and Brady Jardine, and junior guard E.J. Farris. Jardine is the most experienced player out of this group having played in 91 games, including seven starts, during his career. As a junior, Jardine averaged 7.5 points and 7.0 rebounds, while shooting 54.1 percent from the field and 64.7 percent at the free throw line. He finished the 2011 season ranking sixth in the WAC with 1.00 blocks per game. Grim appeared in 32 games as a redshirt junior and averaged 2.6 points and 1.6 rebounds, while Farris played in 21 games and averaged 1.9 points. Utah State will also have the services of a pair of redshirts this year in sophomore guard Preston Medlin and freshman forward Ben Clifford. Medlin played in 22 games as a true freshman during the 2009-10 season and averaged 3.7 points, while shooting 40.9 percent from the field, 37.5 percent from three-point range and 92.9 percent at the free throw line. -USU- 2011-12 Utah State Men’s Basketball Schedule Date Opponent Time Fri., Oct. 28 UC SAN DIEGO (Ex.) 7:05 p.m. Sat., Nov. 5 ADAMS STATE (Ex.) 2:05 p.m. Fri., Nov. 11 BRIGHAM YOUNG 7:05 p.m. Tues., Nov. 15 at Weber State 7:05 p.m. Sat., Nov. 19 SOUTHERN UTAH 7:05 p.m. Tues., Nov. 22 at Texas A&M-Corpus Christi 6:05 p.m. Sat., Nov. 26 at Idaho State 7:05 p.m. Wed., Nov. 30 DENVER 7:05 p.m. Sat., Dec. 3 at Pacific 8:05 p.m. Tues, Dec. 6 UTAH VALLEY 7:05 p.m. Sat., Dec. 10 at Wichita State 6:05 p.m. Sat., Dec. 17 SEATTLE 7:05 p.m. Tue.-Thur., Dec. 20-22 WORLD VISION CHALLENGE (Sponsored by Gossner Foods) Tues., Dec. 20 Saint Peter’s vs. Kent State 5:30 p.m. Utah State vs. Texas-Arlington 8:05 p.m. Wed., Dec. 21 Kent State vs. Texas-Arlington 5:30 p.m. Utah State vs. Saint Peter’s 8:05 p.m. Thur., Dec. 22 Texas-Arlington vs. Saint Peter’s 5:30 p.m. Utah State vs. Kent State 8:05 p.m. Sat., Dec. 31 at Mississippi State 12:05 p.m. Thur., Jan. 5 FRESNO STATE* 7:05 p.m. Sat., Jan. 7 NEVADA* 7:05 p.m. Thur., Jan. 12 at New Mexico State* 7:05 p.m. Sat., Jan. 14 at Louisiana Tech* 6:05 p.m. Thur., Jan. 19 at Seattle 8:05 p.m. Sat., Jan. 21 at Idaho* 8:05 p.m. Thur., Jan. 26 HAWAI’I * 7:05 p.m. Sat., Jan. 28 SAN JOSE STATE* 7:05 p.m. Thur., Feb. 2 at Nevada* 8:05 p.m. Sat., Feb. 4 at Fresno State* 8:05 p.m. Thur., Feb. 9 LOUISIANA TECH* 7:05 p.m. Sat., Feb. 11 NEW MEXICO STATE* 7:05 p.m. Tues., Feb. 14 MONTANA TECH 7:05 p.m. Fri./Sat., Feb. 17/18 ESPNU BRACKETBUSTERS TBA Fri., Feb. 24 IDAHO* 7:05 p.m. Thur., Mar. 1 at San Jose State* 8:05 p.m. Sat., Mar. 3 at Hawai’i* 10:05 p.m. Wed.-Sat., Mar. 7-10 at WAC Tournament, Las Vegas, Nev. Tues.-Sun., Mar. 13-18 NCAA First, Second & Third Rounds, TBA * Denotes Western Athletic Conference game. Home Games in BOLD AND ALL CAPS. All times are Mountain time, tentative and subject to change.

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