Utah State Remains Top Team In The State

Jan 21, 2019, 10:38 AM
Abel Porter - Utah State Aggies...
(Courtesy of Utah State Athletics)
(Courtesy of Utah State Athletics)

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – The Utah State Aggies remain on top for the second consecutive week in the in-state college basketball power rankings.

It was a good week for the state of Utah in college hoops with the local teams going 8-2.

ESPN puts out a Basketball Power Index, also known as BPI, which measures a team’s strength going forward. The NCAA Tournament Selection Committee has a metric called “Strength of Record” that reflects the chance a typical 25th ranked team would have team’s record or better, given the schedule on a 0 to 100 scale, where 100 is the best.

Four of the six schools improved their strength of record and BPI ratings. Despite their loss to San Francisco, BYU moved up to No. 2 in the rankings with the Dons rated in the top 50.

Here’s the second edition of the KSL Sports in-state Division I college basketball power rankings from games played Monday, January 14 to Sunday January 20:

1. Utah State Aggies (14-5, 4-2)
ESPN BPI Rating: 7.8, No. 52

Wins: at San Jose State (-12.4 BPI, No. 343) and vs. Colorado State (-2.3 BPI, No. 203)

Strength of Record: 66 (down 1 spot)

Recap: In the Aggies’ 81-63 win over San Jose State, they had another slow start, the Spartans had a 15-point lead just 8 minutes into the game. Utah State was able to overcome that deficit and outscored SJSU 41-35 in the first half and put the game away in the second half. Diogo Brito led the way with 23 points, 5 rebounds and 6 assists off the bench. Neemias Queta added 14 points and 9 rebounds.

Utah State never trailed in their 87-72 win over Colorado State. Five players scored in double figures with Queta tallying 18 points and 11 rebounds, while Brock Miller hit 6 three-pointers to drop 18 points. Sam Merrill poured in 16 points and 8 assists.

Previous Ranking: 1

Next Up: at New Mexico (9-9, 3-3 MWC), Saturday at 2 p.m. on CBS Sports Network.

2. BYU Cougars (12-9, 4-2 WCC)
ESPN BPI Rating: 4.4, No. 96

Wins: at Pepperdine (-1.2 BPI, No. 184)

Losses: at San Francisco (8.7 BPI, No. 44)

Strength of Record: 133 (up 12 spots)

Recap: BYU led almost the entire time against Pepperdine. They outscored the Waves 44-35 in the first half and 43-41 in the second half to get the 87-76 win. T.J. Haws led the Cougars with a career-high 34 points to go with 8 assists and 7 rebounds. He shot 7-for-14 from the field and 18-of-22 from the free throw line. Yoeli Childs tallied 20 points and 5 rebounds.

The difference in the Cougars’ 82-63 loss to San Francisco was in the first half when BYU went scoreless for 7 minutes and the Dons went on a 16-0 run. Childs finished with 25 points and 4 rebounds. T.J. Haws was the only other BYU player to reach double figures in scoring with 12 points.

Previous Ranking: 3

Next Up: vs. St. Mary’s (13-7, 4-1 WCC) on Thursday at 9 p.m. on ESPN2 and KSL Newsradio.

3. Utah Valley Wolverines (13-7, 2-3 WAC)
ESPN BPI Rating: 1.7, No. 140

Wins: vs. UT Rio Grande Valley (-4.5 BPI, No. 254)

Losses: vs. New Mexico State (5.7 BPI, No. 70)

Strength of Record: 111 (down 16 spots)

Recap: UT Rio Grande Valley held the lead just once in the game, which was a three-point advantage just three minutes into the game. The Wolverines handled business from that point to pull out the 82-61 win. Conner Toolson had a game-high 17 points, Jake Toolson added 16 points and 8 rebounds. Utah Valley extended their home winning streak to 22 games.

Against New Mexico State, Utah Valley played well in the first half with their largest lead of 12 points. The Aggies countered in the second half by outscoring UVU 50-39 to come away with an 83-78 win and snapping the Wolverines 22-game home winning streak. Conner Toolson had another great performance with 26 points, Ben Nakwaasah chipped in 13 points.

Previous Ranking: 2

Next Up: at UMKC (7-12, 2-2 WAC), Thursday at 5 p.m. They will travel to Chicago State (3-16, 0-4 WAC) on Saturday at 1 p.m. Both games will be broadcast on the WAC Digital Network.

4. Utah Utes (9-8, 3-2 Pac-12)
ESPN BPI Rating: 1.2, No. 150

Wins: vs. Colorado (4.0 BPI, No. 106)

Strength of Record: 136 (up 16 spots)

Recap: The final score against Colorado doesn’t reflect the performance by the Utes. In the first half, Utah outscored the Buffaloes 41-19 but were outscored 50-37 in the second half. The Utes led the entire game on their way to picking up the 78-69 win. Sedrick Barefield led the Utes with 22 points and 4 assists, Timmy Allen dropped a career-high 22 points and 10 rebounds to pick up his first career double-double. Donnie Tillman chipped in 11 points off the bench.

Previous Ranking: 4

Next Up: at Stanford (9-9, 2-4 Pac-12), Thursday at 7 p.m. on the Pac-12 Network. They will travel to Cal (5-13, 0-6 Pac-12) on Saturday at 6 p.m. on ESPNU.

5. Weber State Wildcats (12-6, 6-1 Big Sky)
ESPN BPI Rating: 0.7, No. 156

Wins: vs. Idaho State (-4.4 BPI, No. 252) and vs. Northern Colorado (0.1 BPI, No. 169)

Strength of Record: 157 (up 8 spots)

Recap: Weber State’s 76-59 win was only close for the first 15 minutes before the Wildcats ran away with the win. They outscored the Bengals 39-29 in the first half and 37-30 in the second half. Jerrick Harding had a game-high 28 points, Brekkott Chapman added a double-double with 19 points, 14 rebounds and 3 blocks.

After a tightly contested first half against Northern Colorado, Weber State had an impressive second half as they outscored the Bears 49-33 to pick up the 78-64 win. Five Wildcats reached double figures in scoring, led by Cody John with 20 points, Harding chipped in 16 points and Michal Kozak poured in 12 points off the bench. The Wildcats are now alone on top of the Big Sky Conference standings.

Previous Ranking: 5

Next Up: at Montana State (7-10, 4-3 Big Sky), Thursday at 7 p.m. on Pluto TV channel 238. They will travel to Montana (12-6, 5-2 Big Sky) on Saturday at 7 p.m. on Pluto TV channel 237.

6. Southern Utah Thunderbirds (9-7, 4-3 Big Sky)
ESPN BPI Ranking: -5.3, No. 273

Wins: vs. Portland State (-4.6 BPI, No. 258) and vs. Sacramento State (-4.6 BPI, No. 260)

Strength of Record: 189 (up 16 spots)

Recap: Southern Utah pulled away late in the game to get the 83-69 win over Portland State. The Vikings had a three point lead with 10 minutes left but the Thunderbirds finished the second half by outscoring Portland State 47-36. Cameron Oluyitan had 18 points to lead SUU, Jacob Calloway chipped in 16 points and Andre Adams added 14 points.

It was the tale of two halves for Southern Utah in their 76-71 win over Sacramento State. The Hornets had the lead just once in the first three minutes of the game but the Thunderbirds outscored Sacramento State 41-18 in the first half. The Hornets stormed back with a 53-point second half while holding SUU to just 35 points but the Thunderbirds were able to hold off Sacramento State for the win. Oluyitan had 21 points, Andre Adams tallied 17 points and 9 rebounds while Calloway finished with 15 points for Southern Utah. They have won four straight games.

Previous Ranking: 6

Next Up: at Northern Colorado (11-7, 5-2 Big Sky), Thursday at 7 p.m. They will travel to Northern Arizona (5-12, 3-4 Big Sky) on Saturday at 1 p.m. Both games will be broadcast on Pluto TV.

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